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Mexico’s indigenous tribes used to get wasted on these prehispanic brews

June 29, 2015
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Nino Leon has sold tejuino and tepache in Guadalajara for almost 50 years.

“Before the Spanish arrived here, the tribes used to prepare these drinks as a kind of potion to get drunk,” Nino Leon tells me as he serves up two glasses of tepache and tejuino from the metallic vats wedged in the backseat of his weathered Ford Taurus.

“Nobody knows the precise origin of these drinks but they’ve always been most common in Jalisco and the surrounding areas of western Mexico,” he says.

A plump 66-year-old from Guadalajara, the Jalisco state capital, Leon is a father of two and grandfather of six. For 48 years he has supported his family by selling tepache and tejuino out of the back of his car.

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Tepache (left) and tejuino (right) are made from fermented pineapple and maize respectively.

“I was 18 years old when my grandfather taught me how to make tepache and tejuino,” he says. “I still prepare them just the way he showed me. There are other brewers who have newer methods, but this is the traditional way.”

Click here to read this feature in full at VICE Munchies.

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