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Partying Pre-Mescal

We just heard from the af&co 2018 Trends Report that mescal cocktails will be one of next year’s hot items. Which got us to thinking about what people drank in the Americas before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores in the sixteenth century. It wasn’t an alcoholic beverage made from grapes. Instead, the indigenous peoples of Meso-America made alcoholic drinks such as pulque (the forerunner of mescal), from the maguey or agave plant; tesgüino from the sprouted kernels of maize; and balche from mead, flavored with the leaves of the Lonchocarpus, a tropical climbing shrub with colorful flowers. What makes this all the more fascinating is that numerous native grape species were to be found in the Americas, including in northern Mexico and the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

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