400 Drunken Mezcal Rabbits
400 drunken mezcal rabbits?
True story this. As true as anything you will read on the interwebs today. Fake news it’s not.
The source? Aztec mythology. The Aztecs were a Mesoamerican culture that flourished in central Mexico from 1300 to 1521.
Anyway, according to the Aztecs there was a goddess named Mayahuel. She had a pretty good gig Mayahuel……she was in charge of fertility and agave. So sex, tequila and mezcal basically. There are worse jobs out there.
Goddess meets God
One night she was out and about and ran into Patecatl, who just happened to be an agave god. Sparks flew. How could they not, they had so much in common. One thing led to another and before they knew it they were back at Patecatl’s pad.
It was a once off, never to be repeated. The word is that Mayahuel ghosted Patecatl, but there was a reminder of that night. Or should I say there were reminders….400 of them. The drunken tryst had resulted in 400 children. This is quite remarkable in itself, but even more so when you consider that the children were in fact rabbits.
These rabbit offspring are known as Centzon Totochtin (C-Tot on twitter), and they were well cared for as babies. All 400 of them were able to be breastfed on Mayahuel’s 400 breasts! Not only that, but they were not fed milk. They were fed pulque! What is pulque? I’m so glad you asked….
Pulque is produced by fermenting the sap of the agave – known as aguamiel (honeywater in Spanish) – as opposed to the heart or pina which is used to make mezcal. It has a milky like appearance, but fortunately tastes nothing like that horrible stuff. It has a light foam and tastes kind of sweet and sour at the same time. Hard to describe, a unique taste which I really quite like.
Pulque has been drunk for over 1500 years. Originally it was only available to certain sections of the community as it was considered sacred. Those permitted to imbibe were noblemen, priests and pregnant women. Producers of pulque were not permitted to engage in sex during the fermentation period as it was believed this would sour the final product. Hmmm, now that I think about it the last one I had was pretty sour, and the lady serving me had a sheepish grin on her face.
Alcohol content ranges from around 2-8%….and rubber leg syndrome is a common and quite pleasant side effect. It should be enjoyed fresh, within a couple of days of production.
There was a time that pulque was so popular that beer companies created a rumour that it was created by fermenting cow dung…there are people that still believe this misconception. However, pulque has a real niche market now, and in Mexico City in particular you can find a number of hipster pulque bars.
Anyway, yes….back to the rabbits. They were breastfed pulque every day, and well, they were very drunken baby rabbits, and apparently each had a very different personality when hammered. Think crazy, party versions of the seven dwarves….but 400 of them all different in their own way.
Now it is said that C-Tot, the baby drunken rabbits, are the spirit of agave and they inhabit you whenever you get drunk! Each time you have a little too much a different rabbit will appear inside you and the type of drunkenness you experience will vary depending on which rabbit appears!
This makes for a fun game and only takes 400 drunken sessions to acquire the full set. I’m on my way. So far I think I’ve encountered Handsome, Charismatic, Suave, Humble and Tosser.
Can’t wait to see who turns up next.
The legend of the 400 rabbits is an important part of the history of the agave industry, and you can find many references to it with regards to names of bars and tequila and mezcal brand names.
It’s not just the drinks I like – it’s the culture and traditions.