Message #156: From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG To: "'Matthias Giessler'" Subject: Sonora's Most Traditional Drink Date: Sun, 20 Apr 1997 23:17:58 -0700 Here's a little social anthropology and archaeology mixed... [AZ Republic] News Digest for Sunday, April 20, 1997 OUTLAWED DRINK GAINS HIGH STATUS -- Deep in the hills of Sonora's back country, a liquor as clear as crystal and more potent than tequila is distilled according to 300-year-old methods. Outlawed as moonshine until 1992, bacanora reigns today as Sonora's status drink. Everyone from politicians and bankers to campesinos and bricklayers knows an invitation to share a glass is an honor. For exclusivity, bacanora is hard to beat. Pueblo bootleggers were the sole purveyors of the elixir until recently. Now, there is limited commercial bottling and distribution of Sonora's most traditional drink. But bacanora remains a rare find--even in Mexico. Like it's better-known cousins, tequila and mescal, bacanora comes from a spiky agave plant, or maguey as it's called in Sonora. But while the multimillion-dollar tequila industry depends on agave plantations and modern machinery, bacanora remains true to its rugged origins. The drink takes its name from a small pueblo famed for it's unique alcohol, distilled from a wild yaquiano maguey that grows untamed in the prickly, central Sonoran foothills that slope east toward the Sierra Madre. [ SASIG Ed. Note -- AZ Republic today (4/20/97) carried a full page article with photos on the production of bacanora. Anyone desirous of a copy should first send e-mail then SASE (address at http://www.swanet.org/bkenny.html ). I will keep the article for about a week. The article describes the physical features constructed and used to produce the liquor and production methods. If the methods described in the article are indeed 300-year-old methods... the article describes use of steel drums, pitchforks, machetes and axes, wooden mortars, plastic bottles, tin cans, pits, stone-lined subterranean ovens, above ground stone ovens, tarps, feed bags etc)... then,... the archaeologist in me wants to look at 300 and 200 and 100 year-old bacanora sites to examine the change in the spatial configuration and material culture of indigenous Sonoran liquor production! A great deal of mesquite wood is used to produce the liquor distillate and producers must search far and wide for yaquiano maguey (un agave que crece silvestre); while six dozen or more plants are needed to produce a five gallon batch of bacanora -- the size of a producer's resource gathering catchment area was not reported by the article. The AZ Republic article noted that fewer than 500 Sonoran families (Indigene ?) continue making bacanora. A brewer can produce 26 gallons per month and earn $450 per each 26 gallon lot. About 10 to 12 percent of the 26 gallon lots are rejected by the liquor distributor. Two Sonoran companies distribute bacanora, one producing 8,000 litres annually. Prior to 1992 it was illegal to produce or sell bacanora, so I imagine that the size and spatial layout of production facilities have changed since the lifting of the ban. The newspaper article was written by Graciella Sevilla and was produced with the help of anthropologist Abraham Francisco Osuna of the University of Sonora ]. Related web sites: http://www.mexicodesconocido.com.mx/bebidas/bbdanals.htm Bacanora - Una especie de mezcal preparado a partir de la destilacin del jugo de la cabeza asada de un maguey. Para su elaboracin se recolecta el agave que crece silvestre, se le quitan las hojas dejando slo el centro o cabezas y stas se acomodan en un horno rodeado de piedras. Una vez asadas (durante dos noches), se dejan enfriar y se machacan con hacha para luego destazarlas en un hoyo de ms de un metro de profundidad, donde permanecen cubiertas con costales unos cuatro das para que se efecte la fermentacin. El producto se deposita en el tambo revestido de piedras que funciona como olla, se tapa y se le vuelve a prender fuego. Despus, pasa a otro tambo enfriador que contiene agua fra, del cual sale ya destilado el bacanora. Esta bebida es de consumo domstico y ritual, y es originaria del estado de Sonora. http://raramuri.fisica.uson.mx/Sonora/Municipios/Bacanora/bacanora.html Bacanora: Ladera de Carrizo http://kin.cyborg.com.mx/cyb/sonpre.htm BACANORA -- En este lugar se elabora la bebida tpica de Sonora que lleva el mismo nombre del poblado. En las cercanas se puede cazar mapache, liebre, conejo, perdiz, codorniz y paloma. [mapache y bacanora....hmmm....I'm ready to go ! ] http://www.ties.k12.mn.us/~jnorth/critters/bat/829166649.html Food Sources for Lesser Long-nosed Bat: February: In Sinaloa and in the "barrancas" of central and southern Sonoran, nectar is available from flowers of the northern-most tree morning glories and bacanora century plants. (The "barrancas" are similar to the Grand Canyon. The local people make bootleg mescal, a local form of tequila, from these century plants.) Localities for these plants in bloom include Pericos and Concordia, Sinaloa. http://www.fiery-foods.com/zine-consumer/chiltepin.html In the Land of the Wild Chiles http://www.desert.net/disk$ebony/tw/www/tw/01-12-95/cover.htm Searching for the Cure http://www.cideson.mx/conserv/monitor/monitor.html proyectos de investigacin http://www.celerina.com/tapete5.html maguey designs in rugs http://www.library.yale.edu/beinecke/customs2.htm an image of an Indian extracting sap from a Maguey plant to prepare the fermented drink, pulque http://www.conabio.gob.mx/textos/insectos.htm "gusanos de maguey" .... y mas !