• Carolina Soto

Emblematic Mexican ancestral distillates, besides Tequila and Mezcal

Tequila and Mezcal were considered the only Mexican emblematic beverages, but nowadays more have been exploited, such like SOTOL, RAICILLA, BACANORA, CHARANDA, POX Y TUXCA those are distillates too. Originating from different regions of the country, some of them have Denomination of Origin, having ingredients between agave, corn or cane. They were known as poor quality beverages and for low socioeconomic segment, some of them were prohibited because thought were harmful to health and now you can find them in the TOP places all over the world.


BEGINNINGS OF DISTILLATES


There is a record where the use of the maguey plant began more than 9000 years ago in Mexico; a plant that was used for endless uses, such as textiles, warfare and food

from prehispanic Mexico. It is known that the first beverage made by this plant was PULQUE.


To destillate this plant, is neccesary to have an alembic. How this alembic arrived to Mexico is uncertain but there are various theories of the arrival of this contraption. It is believed that thanks to the arrival of the Spanish to Mexico, the copper alembic with serpentine reached Mexico, who adopted it from the Arabs.


Other theory is that Philippines arrived, and brought the wooden and clay alembic, it is presumed that they arrived from Manila to the Colima and Michoacan coasts.


Vestiges of pre-hispanic contraptions were also found, it is seemed to be alembic where some spirit drink were distillate back then. In Mexico, began to distillate the cooked maguey, a drink that was calling it aguardiente or Mezcal wine, is a word that comes from Nahuatl word Mezcalli which means cooked Mezcal.


CURRENT PANORAMA

The spirits drinks have been gaining ground for a long time outside Mexico, having a positive response in different markets with great acceptance from abroad. In USA and Europe exist a great offer of Mezcal and Tequila brands, recently Raicilla, Bacanora, Sotol and Tuxca have been introduced within the range of agaves. Also Pox and Charanda have been venturing into new markets.


The distillates represents Mexico as a country, the production of these drinks have been a great opportunity for this type of drinks, helping to create jobs, the production is still preserved artisan and rustic unlike Tequila, which is already industrialized.






MEXICAN CONSUMER TYPES

Exist two types of consumers in Mexico, the one who does it for fashion and the one who knows about the porduct, it is well informed about the brand, values, benefits, and the production process. Agave distillates are consumed more in the north of the country, whiskey and vodka are consumed in the center.


The raicilla, charanda and bacanora are recommended to be taken alone, but to attract a younger audience and for women, different mixologies have been made.


Mexicans want to show off their roots and traditions, through ancient drinks that support them. Mexico is an incredible country full of history and family love very characteristic from this country.


Some distillates have a Denomination of Origin, let me tell you a little about each of the distillates, characteristics, production, origin and in which countries they have conquered.


TEQUILA

Production Area: Jalisco, Michoacán, Guanajuato, Nayarit y Tamaulipas,

Characteristics: Denomination of origin

Types of Tequila: white, young, aged, reposado

Type of agave: Blue Agave or Tequilana Weber

Elaboration: artisanal e industrial

Content Alcohol: 35°- 55°

Fun Facts: distillated from a single type of agave, it has medicinal properties.

Countries where they are sold: USA, Canada, UE, UK, Asia, South America, South Africa, Oceania, etc.



MEZCAL

Production Area: Oaxaca, Guerrero, Morelos, Durango, Zacataecas, San Luis Potosí, Puebla, Guanajuato and Tamaulipas

Characteristics: Denomination of origin

Type of agave: Agave Americano, Angustifolia, Marmorata, Durangensis, Esperrima, Potatorum, Salmiana, Papalometl, Cuishe, Coyote, Tepeztate, Cupreata or papalote, Estoquillo and Mexicano.

Type of mezcal: gusano, pechuga, white, minero, cedrón, maduro, reposado y aged.

Elaboration: artisanal y ancestral.

Ancestral are those that it´s elaboration process meets certain requirements such as milling with mallet or tahona, distillate in clay pots.

Artisanal its milling can be brush cutters and it´s distillation is in cooper alembics.

Alcohol Content: 36°- 55°

Fun facts: There are a variety of Mezcal aacording to the distillation, type of agave, fruits and herbs that are added to the process. Exist over 20 species to elaborate mezcal. The mix between teo types of ageve is called "ENSAMBLE" in one presentation.

Countries where they are sold: USA, Canada, South América, Europe, UK, some Asian countires such as: Russia, Japan South Korea, China, Singapur, Indonesia, Philippines, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zeland.


BACANORA

Production Area: Bacanora, Sonora

Characteristics: Denomination of origin since 1994

Type of agave: Agustifolia Haw

Elaboration: artisanal

Alcohol Content: 38°-55°

Fun facts: Similar to the Mezcal production. It was prohibited for more than 70 years for one of of the Mexican Presidents, because according to him, it was harmful and unhealthy. Countries where they are sold: USA, Canada, Colombia, Brazil, UK, Holland, Spain, Germany, Japan, China etc.


SOTOL

Production Area: Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango

Characteristics: Denomination of origin since 2002, very smoky flavor.

Type of plant: Dasylirion Wheeleri, known as sereque

Type of sotol: reposado, white and aged.

Elaboration: artisanal

Alcohol Content: 38 y 45°

Fun facts: It was a spirit drink considered endangered. It is considered as an organic drink, elaborated with a 100% pure savage plant.

Countries where they are sold: USA, Canada, Colombia, UK, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Philippines, Japan, etc.



CHARANDA

Production Area: Michoacán in 16 municipalities.

Characteristics: Denomination of origin since 2003. They use local cane with spring water.

Elaboration: It is produced with a distillation and fermentation of the juice, the result of sugar cane or its derivates such piloncillo or molasses.

Alcohol Content: 40 - 55°

Fun facts: It is an Aguardiente in which its name came from the native language Purepecha that means "tierra colorada" or "red land / colorful land", referring to the soil where it is produced. It exist since 1997. There more than 60 local companies with an annual production of 80 thousand liters.

Countries where they are sold: USA, some countries in Europe.


POX

Production Area: Southern distillate from Altos de Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas and San Juan Chamula

Characteristics: It is a Mayan spirit drink, was consumed by Tzeltales for medicinal purposes. it continues to consume in ceremonies and festivities.

Type of plant: corn wheat and sugar cane.

Elaboration: artisanal.

Alcohol Content: 36°- 63°

Fun facts: Pox means "medicia o curación" medicine or cure, healing.

Countries where they are sold: USA and Europe.


RAICILLA

Production Area: Jalisco, in municipalities such as: Mascota, Atenguillo, Guachinango,Mixtlán, Cabo Corriente and Toatlán

Characteristics: Denomination of origin

Type of plant: Maximiliana, Inaequidens, Rhodacantha and Angustifolia

Elaboration: artisanal

Alcohol Content: 35°-55°

Fun facts: It emerged in teh 17thh century in the mining areas and has a reputation as an aphrodisiac drink.

Countries where they are sold: USA, UK, Europe.


PULQUE

Production Area: Mexico City, Hidalgo, Morelos, Tlaxcala, Guanajuato, Puebla and Querétaro

Characteristics: It is a fermented prehispanic bevergae. It is produced through the fermentation of "aguamiel" or agave syrup generally from the agave Salmiana.

Type of plant: Salmiana , agave plant.

Elaboration: artisanal, it requires scraping from the heart of the plant with a tlachique to get the juice of the maguey, then harvest, fermentation, packing.

Alcohol Content: 2°- 8°

Fun facts: It is well known as the "WHITE BEVERAGE"

Countries where is sold: Japan, Argentina, USA, South Korea and Germany







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