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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/220

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216
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

must confess I find refreshing on a hot day—especially after I have seen it gathered by means of a long-spouted tin pump and transported in tin cans; and the limpid, yellowish, cidery, foamy product of its fermentation in the north is more to my taste than the white, viscous, odoriferous pulque of the Apam district—which alone pleases the adept.

With smaller production of pulque away from this center, more primitive methods of transportation persist; the shipping cask of the large producer, carried by a special train, may be replaced by the burro-borne pig-skin; and, as I have observed in Tuxpan, the pulque shop may give way to the street hawker, with an earthenware olla, the contents of which from time to time are freshened up by being sucked into and allowed to gush back, frothing, from a gourd of the sort used

PSM V70 D220 Making his rounds.png

Fig. 7. Making his Rounds.

in gathering the agua miel—the bowls of customers being filled by aid of the same convenient implement.

Considerable medicinal virtue has been claimed for pulque, and some efforts have been made to specially prepare, bottle and Pasteurize it for medicinal or even table use, but, except in the region of its production, where it is the common beverage, the bulk of it is used as an intoxicant, pure and simple. From it is also produced a rather small quantity of distilled liquor, 'mezcal de pulque.'

Away from the central district, where the product of a single plantation is not sufficient to keep a fermentation establishment in profitable operation, it is sometimes the practise of the growers to sell their plants, as they mature, one by one, to a maker of pulque, whose employees, trudging from one to another, attend to cutting them and gathering their sap. Under these conditions, or where the market is still less certain, the plants frequently succeed in sending up their scapes.