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Bacanora A Mexican liqueur ideal for the brave!

do you know the Bacanora liquor? Mexico is well known for its tequila and mezcal, but not only its production of alcoholic beverages revolves around these two types, there is also a very interesting distillate called Bacanora, which is part of the identity of the town of Sonora.

Just as tequila is from Jalisco, bacanora is the traditional drink of the state of Sonora, Mexico, and has been produced in an artisanal way for more than 300 years, passing from generation to generation, and it is not just any kind of distillate, it is one that gives identity to its people.

what is Bacanora liqueur?

Bacanora is a distillate originating in the municipality of Bacanora in the state of Sonora, Mexico, and is made from the cooking, fermentation and distillation of the agave type Angustifolia Haw or as it is also known, Agave espadín Agave vivípara, yaquiano or pacific. Bacanora is usually a colorless beverage with a high alcohol content, varying between 38% and 55% alcohol by volume.

Origin of Bacanora liquor

Everything seems to indicate that the native peoples who inhabited the areas where the maguey grows had the custom of using it as a base for making fermented beverages and with the arrival of the Spaniards, they began to produce distilled beverages using stills. The religious who lived in Sonora in the 18th century used to make some type of mezcal, either for their own consumption or to sell. Bacanora However, the first known mention of bacanora dates back to 1880, when a French traveler, after meeting a group of Mexicans, exchanged drinks of cognac and a mezcal called bacanora, after which each went on his way. At the end of the 19th century, Sonora produced more than one million three hundred thousand liters of mezcal, with around one thousand people participating in its production.

With the revolutionary struggle, Sonora became the scene of violent battles, especially during the struggle of the constitutionalists against the regime of Victoriano Huerta during 1913 and 1914, and throughout the so-called factional struggle between 1914 and 1915.

This brought with it a considerable decrease in the number of people dedicated to productive and economic work, since they had to participate directly or indirectly in the struggles, which contributed to the abandonment of the production of its distillates. On August 8, 1915, Plutarco Elías Calles issued a law prohibiting the importation, sale and manufacture of intoxicating beverages in the state, and imposed five-year sentences for violators and three-year sentences for their accomplices.

This action led to the clandestinity, and to operate by means of tricks, the guardians of the law destroyed distilleries and went into the sierra, chasing anyone who had dealings with the Yaquis, to whom they sold alcohol in exchange for being able to operate peacefully.

In 1919 the law was repealed, however the bacanora producers isolated themselves and went into the sierra producing distillates without any care or sanitary regulations. In October 2000, the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property agreed to issue the declaration of protection for the Bacanora Denomination of Origin, limited to thirty-five municipalities in the east and south of the state of Sonora, and it was published a month later in the Official Gazette of the Federation.

what is Bacanora made of?

Bacanora is made from Agave Angustifolia Haw, also known as agave Yaquiana, which grows in the Sierra Sonora region. This plant is selected and cultivated with great delicacy and care. Once mature, it is slowly processed and cooked in clay and volcanic stone ovens.

how is Bacanora liqueur made?

Bacanora is made by hand, the equipment used by the producers includes an oven, a fermentation pit and a group of metal jars, each with a capacity for two hundred liters in which the alcohol condensation takes place.

Bacanora, unlike other mezcals, uses the second distillation of the liquid, which is known as rectification, here the person in charge of supervising the elaboration collects the first distillate that comes out of the still in a container. When he observes that the liquid forms a group of small superficial bubbles that take time to break, he changes the recipient, and when he perceives that the bubbles disappear quickly, he changes the recipient again. The Bacanora elaboration process could be defined as follows: Jimado When the agave plants reach maturity, after several years of growth, they are harvested by removing the pointed stalks with a manual cutting instrument called a coa, until the core of the plant is left, which is known as the piña or maguey head.

Cooking The freshly harvested maguey heads are placed inside a hole that is dug in the ground, in this pit the heads are baked, which are left inside for approximately 48 hours, after which time they are removed with a special hook. The purpose of this process is to convert starches and carbohydrates into digestible sugars for the yeast in the fermentation process by means of hydrolysis.

Milling Then the baked maguey heads are cut into fragments and introduced into a mill, and according to the size of the pineapple, it is cut into smaller or larger pieces to facilitate the extraction of the juice.

Fermentation The ground maguey pulp is placed in barrels or casks with water, which are immediately covered to protect them from the elements and left to ferment for 4 to 5 days.

Distillation The fermented pulp is placed in a drum, which by applying heat brings the alcohols to boiling point and vaporizes them. These vapors are sent to a cooling coil to condense, the result of the first distillation has a high content of methanol, so it is taken to a second distillation, where it goes down to levels where the drink is safe and the resulting product is called bacanora.

How to drink Bacanora correctly

Bacanora is a distillate that is an identity of the people of Sonora, so it is very common consumption, both workers, farmers, workers and personalities who make up the high government take this potent liquor and somewhat sweet taste.

The correct way to drink it is straight and in one sip, that is, in a caballito, better known as a tequila glass.

It is characterized for being a strong liquor, with a deep aroma of caramel, toasted agave, wild flowers and damp earth. Its appearance is crystalline and striking. Bacanora, over time has developed four types that mark the essence of the Mexican state, and that fit the taste of different palates, these are:

Bacanora young

It is that which has been blended with white and rested bacanora.

Bacanora reposado

It is the distillate that has been 2 months or more in oak barrels.

Bacanora aged

This is the distillate that has been matured for 1 year.

Bacanora white

This bacanora is the one whose alcohol content has been diluted with water.

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