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The sotol

4 October, 2019

Sotol is an alcoholic beverage with a graduation of 35 to 55 degrees of alcohol, product of the distillate of the head or pineapple of the Dasylirion plant. This drink is produced in the states of Chihuahua, Durango and Coahuila.

The word sotol or zotol comes from the Nahuatl tzotollin which means sweet of the head.

Anazaris, Tarahumara, Tobosos and Apaches used it since the 250 DC years. The manufacturing process has varied based on the distillation of stills.

From the 2002 it has a designation of origin NOM 159-SCFI-2004.

To make the sotol, pineapples begin to be harvested in the middle of winter until the end of spring. The largest are collected since they are the oldest and have the sweetest.

To make the sotol a hole is dug in the ground, a layer of firewood, another of volcanic stone is placed, followed by the pineapples that are covered with a blanket.

After lighting the fire, cover the blanket with soil and cook for about 5 or 6 hours.

When the sotoleros perceive a known smell they pour water to put out the fire and generate steam.

They are allowed to stand for 72 hours to subsequently crush them and take them to some wooden vats buried in the ground, soak them with water and let them ferment.

When the bubbles stop sprouting it is time for the next step; the bagasse and the fermented water are filtered to be distilled in a still, the product is passed again by fire.

Let stand for one to two months. The next process is the "perleada" a sample is taken in a horn where it is observed if enough pearls are formed above which indicates that it is ready.

Although the sotol is an abundant plant in the Chihuahua desert, the collection of large companies puts the species at risk.

Currently, reforestation programs by the government and private initiative are required so that one of Mexico's oldest traditions does not disappear.

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