"he'd drunk a small glass of pulque for the vigor in it"
Mecapaleros enjoying a glass of pulque, photographed by Ismael Casasola (1920)
GNU Free Documentation LicenseMecapaleros enjoying a glass of pulque, photographed by Ismael Casasola (1920) - Credit: Archivo Casasola

Pulque is a milk-like, alcoholic drink made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant.

The drink dates back to the Mesoamerican period, where it was consumed ritually by priests and sacrificial victims, as well as by the nobility to celebrate military victories. After the Spanish Conquest, the drink became secular and was hugely popular before beer took its place.

The drink does have some nutritional value. There is a Mexican saying that pulque is ‘sólo le falta un grado para ser carne' (‘one grade shy of being meat’). This was also recognised by the Mesoamericans who allowed pregnant woman and the elderly to drink what was normally reserved only for priests and nobility.