Until recently, anthropologists and archaeologists thought that mezcal was invented by the Spanish. The Aztec and other Mesoamericans drank only pulque, a foul-tasting drink of fermented agave before the conquest, according to the experts. (One of five Aztec pulque gods is seen in the following illustration.)
But in 2016, two Mexican university professors produced physical evidence of stills used to make mezcal prior to the Spanish invasion – they even showed that it was distilled in Mexico as far back as 2,500 years ago.
Scientists Prove Mezcal Thousands of Years Old
For more than ten years, Mari Carmen Serra Puche and Jesús Carlos Lazcano Arce of the Anthropological Research Institute at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) conducted their research, which culminated in the book, El mezcal, una bebida prehispánica (Mezcal, a Pre-Hispanic Beverage). Research took place in Oaxaca and the pre-Hispanic city of Xochitécatl-Cacaxtla, in Tlaxcala.
Clay fragments from the production of mezcal were determined to have come from the lower half of very large pots. Huge ovens too big for making pottery or cooking were uncovered. Organic run-off stains were chemically proven to have been from the cooked hearts of the maguey plant.
For more information, see: Mezcal's True Origin