Wordless Wednesday: Pulque in a can?

A few weeks ago at the Mexican grocery store where I usually shop, something caught my eye in the refrigerator aisle… yes, a six-pack of canned pulque! Not only that, but multiple flavors! If you’re not familiar with it, pulque is a traditional Mexican beverage made of fermented (but not distilled) juice or sap of the maguey plant. It’s sort of a cloudy beverage with less alcohol content than beer or wine. More on this traditional drink another time, but I want to know…

  • Would you try pulque in a can?


    • says

      Haha, Leslie, you crack me up! I suppose if you were TRULY desperate to have some pulque and this was all you could get your hands on, you might try it if pulque was one of your favorite drinks and you had to satisfy the craving. Funny you mention tepache and tejuino – I was just going back and forth with someone on our facebook fan page about tejuino last week because her sister tried to make it at home (unsuccessfully). I guess the part that is difficult about making it from scratch is the fermenting process. Without the right amount of fermentation, it just doesn’t taste right, and you need instructions from someone who really knows what they’re doing and can explain the nuances of doing it at home.

  1. Caitlin says

    I’ve had pulque both fresh, and in a can. It’s not my favorite beverage, a little too thick, but fresh is definitely better. But I suppose if you’re craving it, the can will suffice. Question for you, have you had a pambaso, and if so, do you have a good recipe? I first had a pambaso in Toluca but it seems they aren’t popular or even known outside that area.

    • says

      Hi Caitlin, thanks for the comment. I have the same feeling as you about it not being my favorite beverage (and I also don’t always care for the consistency when it’s thicker). I’m not sure I’m brave enough to try it in the can! Maybe if I could buy just a single can instead of a six-pack… because if I didn’t like it then I’d be stuck with five cans!
      I have eaten pambazos both in Mexico City and here in Chicago so I know they do exist outside of Toluca, and have seen them in other areas of Mexico as well. There’s an open-air market on Sundays where there’s a little stand that sells them. I do have a recipe somewhere. A good friend of mine from Mexico City once showed me how to make them, but it’s been at least four years since I made them at home. Let me look through my notebooks over the weekend to see if I have the recipe somewhere. If I can find it, I will make them and post the recipe, and if not, I’ll call him to ask for it again and get it in my queue for sometime in the fall. Are the ones you’ve had only filled with potato and chorizo?

      • Caitlin says

        The ones I’ve had were filled with mole verde and chicken. So good. I think the potato and chorizo would be amazing though too! Yay, I’m so glad you’ve had them too! I was starting to think I’d imagined them! :)

          • Caitlin says

            Sadly, no. I just did a search around the interwebz and found the potato and chorizo ones but none that had mole verde. The bread is the hardest part though. First finding bolillo or pambazo rolls, and then you fry the bread and dip it in a red chile sauce (or vice versa, I’m not sure). Then they sliced one side of the roll, and stuffed it with mole verde and chicken and topped it with crema, lettuce, and some kind of hard, shredded cheese. Totally bad for you, but so delicious. I think if I could recreate the bread portion, the filling wouldn’t be too hard.

  2. says

    I bought once it from an old man here in Malinalco who was selling it in re-used plastic soda bottles. I forgot about it and the next day it exploded all over the kitchen. That stuff is alive, fermenting–what’s happening inside that can?
    As Isabella Tree wrote in her wonderful book about Mexico, ‘Sliced Iguana’, drinking pulque felt like swallowing a glass of saliva. I’ll pass–canned or otherwise.

    • says

      Jim, that’s hilarious—sounds exactly like something that would happen to me. And exactly why I’m kind of afraid to try the canned pulque. I imagine it’s either really foul, or not properly fermented (or maybe not fermented really at all…in which case, why bother?).

  3. says

    Canned pulque is nasty stuff! I have to admit that a few years ago we were approached by a company to develop a new brand of canned flavored pulque for the US (it was available in northern Mexico). This went from bad taste to horrible taste. This was crimes against nature bad. Mango flavored pulque was 1 flavor…

    I’ve had fresh pulque at pulquerias in Hidalgo (loved it!) before but never flavored. This stuff made me feel like someone put stucco on my forehead and rubbed the inside of my skull w/ novacaine. Plus, it just didn’t taste very good. No, make that phrase: it did not taste good at all.

    This venture never took off but a colleague told me that a company had tried this before (importing) but one problem was it expands, and in a can, in the summer heat, in rail cars coming north, etc. Anyway, the spoilage factor was pretty high and not really that profitable. Plus, many of the cans that survived were delivered with stickiness all over them from the exploded cans.

    Exploding Pulque. Kind of a cool name for a band.

  4. says

    I tasted pulque once, and don’t want to again. Just didn’t like the texture of it. So, no. Would never even think of buying the canned version!

  5. says

    I don’t know what’s the big deal. It’s just a Beverage, some people love it some people don’t, just like beer. I like it and when it’s combined with mango, pina or other fruit it can be very tasty.

  6. says

    oh my gosh, i’ve never heard of this…. ever. and i’ve been in plenty of Mexican markets (in the country) will look for it while i’m there next week! i’m so intrigued!

  7. Staci Blackburn says

    It’s not my favorite beverage, a little too thick, but fresh is definitely better. I bought once it from an old man here in Malinalco who was selling it in re-used plastic soda bottles. Once you’ve had the real thing, who would want to try the canned version?

  8. Joe says

    My brother Clay introduced me to pulque late one unforgetable night near Lake Tahoe. He had obtained from a guy from Mexico who worked in a nearby stable. I would love to have pulque again.

  9. Joann Lott says

    You should buy some and report back what it tastes like! I’ve tried this brand (the dark green can). Doesn’t sound to appealing. I was starting to think I’d imagined them!

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