What Alcohol Is Made From Cactus

Pulque. The alcoholic beverage metoctli, also known as octli in Nahuatl, is made by fermenting agave sap. This beverage has a long history of production in Mexico, where it is made.

All tequila is mezcal, but not all mezcal is tequila.

Not all mezcal is mezcal, but all tequila is mezcal. Mezcal can be created from more than 30 different types of agave, whereas tequila can only be prepared from the blue agave, or agave tequilana (AKA maguey). (Agave espading is used to make the majority of mezcals.)

Agave is not a cactus.

A cactus is not an agave. Cacti and tequila have nothing in common. Unless you are seated next to one and drinking some joven. A desert succulent is the agave plant.

Blue agave typically takes eight years to mature.

In terms of what agave is not, it is difficult to grow. You have to have the right desert conditions, and even then, most blue agave takes about eight years to mature. And that merely brings you to the harvest. If you have any desire to age your tequila, tack on some more time!

The blue agave plant only has one life to give.

The fact that blue agave is a single-use plant doesn’t help efficiency. The agave plants’ piasor hearts—called so because they eventually end up looking like pineapples—are torn out when they are finally ready to be harvested. These components will be fermented, mashed, and steamed to create tequila.

Tequila is legally required to be only 51% blue agave.

Although blue agave is the primary ingredient in tequila, it need not be used entirely. Although many tequilas will claim to be “100% Blue Agave,” the legal minimum is 51 percent. A “mixto tequila” is produced when distillers add a neutral spirit made from cane sugar juice to the remaining portion. As expected, these are typically considered to be of poorer quality.

Your tequila bottle should not have a worm in it.

Just so you know, there won’t be any worms in the tequila. The connection between tequila and worms is (presumably) a result of the frequent consumption of maguey plants by “gusano de maguey,” tiny larvae that, if unchecked, would develop into a mariposa, or a type of butterfly. Mezcal, not tequila, is the type of alcohol used when they are placed in bottles as larvae. Basically, if there is a worm in the tequila, don’t drink it. Who knows what else might be wrong in the bottle if the maker made that mistake.

Young tequila is really young.

We consume a great deal of young tequila. Aejo is 1 to 3 years old, reposado is 2 months to 1 year old, and blanco/joven is barely 0 to 2 months old. According to age norms, that is quite young. But there is something known as “extra aejo, elevating tequila maturation to a new level of sophistication” (3 years or more).

You can buy tequila that has been aged for over a decade.

Although three years may seem like a long time to age tequila, one of the oldest “extra aejos” that are now available is really 11 years old and costs more than $1,000. It is completely organic blue agave that has been aged in French oak. A fantastic (really, truly fantastic) present for the devoted tequila drinker in your life?

The name tequila carries legal weight around the globe.

Tequila is protected as a Mexican designation of origin in numerous nations, much as products from the European Union with protected designations (such as Champagne and Prosciutto di Parma). NAFTA stipulates that protection for Americans and Canadians. Do not attempt to create anything and call it tequila in your bathtub.

The Tahona process is as crafty as it gets.

Tequila can be as handcrafted and unique as the tiniest, most artisanal spirit you can find. even if a major producer made it. See, those enormous pias are steamed and crushed to create tequila. The Tahona technique, which essentially involves dragging a huge volcanic wheel over the steaming agave hearts, is one way that pias can (and have been) pulverized. Donkeys have historically and continue to do so in at least one location. We are unsure what qualifies as artisan if the usage of a donkey does.

Can alcohol be produced from cacti?

A frozen margarita with a swirl of prickly pear syrup adds a splash of color and a touch of sweetness.

However, the clear liquid distilled in San Antonio from the same prickly pear cactus bears little relation to the pink syrup used in frozen concoctions.

Nick Spink, the creator of Spike, admits, “I drink vodka. There are very few vodkas that perform everything from beginning to end, according to research into other brands that are available.

“I was really hoping for an artisan vodka. “Everything is handmade” at every stage.

Master distiller Rachel Price explains, “We go out to the ranches to select the best nopales, the best paddles,” adding that the best present Spink ever gave her was a machete.

On ranches close to San Antonio, they gather the cactus paddles, transport them to the distillery, clean them, and then start making tequila. Whole paddles, including with skin and thorns, are fermented for around six weeks in 55-gallon drums. During that period, the liquid rises to the top and the sediment sinks to the bottom.

When the fermenting liquid contains 14 percent alcohol or less, it is drained. In order to preserve the flavors and qualities of the cactus, Spink and Price only pass it through the still once. About 90% of the juice is alcohol after distillation. Before being bottled, it is filtered, diluted to a 40% concentration, and sampled.

The business is small, and a 750 ml Spike Vodka bottle costs roughly $22. By year’s end, they will have created roughly 500 examples; for the next year, 3,000 cases are the target. Spec’s, Tony K’s Liquor, Premiere, and Houston Fine Wine and Spirit Merchants all sell Spike Vodka, and a few bars serve it as well.

What cactus is used to make vodka?

The first and only cactus-based vodka in the world is called Spike. This handcrafted premium vodka is only produced in San Antonio, Texas. Spike has a very smooth finish and is aromatic with flavors of agave, vanilla, and sweetness.

Is cactus used to make drinks?

The most popular cactus for both cooking and creating beverages is this one. The prickly pear, an extremely valuable and useful fruit, is produced by this cactus.

Mexican culture is profoundly influenced by the nopal cactus. It has been a mainstay for centuries. In actuality, the Mexican flag has an eagle perched atop a nopal cactus.

The prickly pear cactus is another name for the nopal cactus. Its flat paddles give it a distinctive appearance. These paddles serve as both the cactus’ “arms” and the fruit’s growth point.

The nopalitos can even be consumed uncooked. For the best enjoyment, we prefer to grill and season them. Nevertheless, regardless matter how you prepare it, this cuisine is wonderful.

The fruit of the prickly pear is perched on the paddle. The majority of the drinks made from cactus come from this fruit.

This fruit with a striking color is another that is frequently used in Southwestern cuisine. You can cook, candi, and jelly it.

Nopal cactus has earned a starring role in many Mexican cocktails and cuisines since there are so many diverse variants to enjoy.

Prickly Pear Water

The prickly pear cactus produces the commercial cactus water that is most frequently purchased. Due to the fuschia fruit, it is sometimes found on shelves with a light pink tinge. There is a process involved before the water merely starts to stream out.

The prickly pear fruit needs to be de-spined in order to get the cactus water. When interacting with the cactus’ thorns, extreme caution must always be exercised.

The fruit is then squeezed repeatedly until practically dehydrated. Here it is: a glass of prickly pear water that is high in fiber!

Cactus Vodka

Another product made from the prickly pear cactus is vodka. What an adaptable plant!

You can add this vodka to any kind of beverage that calls for it. The component provides an additional level of intrigue.

Instead of the cactus’ fruit, the paddles of the plant are fermented to create prickly pear vodka. Distillers choose these paddles with great care to start the process.

The complete set of paddles is fermented. To reduce the amount of alcohol in the liquid after fermentation, it is diluted.

Up to 90% of alcohol can be found in cactus-based vodka. The beverage has been diluted to 40%.

The cactus vodka is prepared for sale after it has been treated and filtered. Enjoy your favorite cocktail after adding a splash.


In addition, the nochotle and other traditional Mexican alcoholic beverages contain significant amounts of the prickly pear cactus.

Mexican cuisine’s most traditional components are used to make nietotle. It is a beverage produced by mixing pulque with nopal cardn and prickly pear juice.

This beverage has been consumed for ages. It magically makes use of the delicate sweetness of the prickly pear.


Another traditional beverage created from the prickly pear cactus is this one. It has a similar flavor and preparation to the Nochotle beverage mentioned above.

Colonche is a fermented beverage like tepache. Its inception took place in central Mexico. The cactus fruit and sugar are macerated together to create the beverage, which is then fermented.

After the initial fermentation, the colonche needs just minimal preparation before being served over ice.

Which plant is used to make gin?

Gin is a type of alcohol distinguished by its juniper berry flavor. During the distillation process, botanical components are added to a neutral spirit to create gin. In order for a spirit to be categorized as gin in the US, it must have at least 40% alcohol by volume (ABV). There are numerous varieties of gin, like as Old Tom, Plymouth, Genever, and London Dry, and a variety of drinks that incorporate the well-liked spirit, including the traditional Gin and Tonic, Tom Collins, and French 75.

Is cactus wine available?

The Opuntia lindheimeri, which is widely distributed in the American southwest and produces a reddish purple fruit in the fall that has a sweet, watermelon-like flavor when ripe, is used to make succulent cactus wine.

Is agave a cactus?

A succulent, agave is frequently mistaken for a cactus. Keep in mind that not all succulents are cacti, and not all cacti are succulents. Agaves have leaves, but cacti don’t; this is the primary distinction between the two types of plants.

Do agaves flower?

Agaves are primarily valued for their astounding leaf design, but they do eventually flower. This marks the end of the plant’s life cycle, when it leaves behind a dazzling display of a towering spike or a massive, tree-like stalk with branched stalks. The mother plant dies off after the towering spires covered with tubular blooms are done. However, fresh pups begin to form before or after flowering, depending on the species, and can be removed and placed in other containers.

How are agaves propagated?

To create more of a good thing, pups can be removed from the parent plant. Some agave plants also produce plantlets on their flower stalks in addition to the offspring that sprout from the roots. Pups and plantlets can both be taken out and planted in separate pots.

Prickly pears contain what type of alcohol?

The young, fragile paddles of the prickly pear cactus have been consumed for thousands of years by cultures that are essential to the deserts of Mexico and the Southwest of the United States. The flora is marketed by supermarkets as tuna and nopales. Two master distillers in San Antonio, Texas today benefit from the same cactus in different ways. They use a prickly pear base to create a distinctive vodka. Spike is a fitting name for it.

If you’re wondering how a texan cactus-based alcohol can be named vodka, it’s because vodka has a very open definition. Any liquor with no distinguishing flavor, fragrance, taste, or color that is between 40 and 95 percent alcohol by volume can be referred to as vodka. Contrary to popular belief, most vodka isn’t actually manufactured from potatoes. The end product is smooth and sweet with notes of pepper, vanilla, almond, and a spicy kick with a cactus scent, according to tasters, despite Spike’s claims that it is a neutral spirit.

Each bottle is handled by the two people that make up the Spike brand from beginning to end, including harvesting and bottling. The thorny bits of flesh are fermented in drums for about six weeks after being chopped from the farms outside San Antonio with machetes. They drain and distill the liquid after it has an alcohol content of roughly 14%. The liquid, which contains over 90% alcohol after going through the still just once, is then diluted to 40% and filtered before being bottled. Spike is now exclusively available in Texas and is made in tiny batches due to the operation’s size.

How is tequila produced?

The harvested “pia,” or center, of the agave plant is used to make both tequila and mezcal. The parallels in manufacture stop there, though. The agave is often steamed in large industrial ovens before being distilled twice or three times in copper pots to create tequila. Contrarily, mezcal is cooked in earthen pits lined with lava rocks and stuffed with wood and charcoal before being distilled in clay pots. The artisanal mezcal manufacturers still utilize this older, more traditional approach, which is the cause of the smokiness that is frequently connected with mezcal, although other large-scale mezcal producers have embraced modern techniques.

Can you distill moonshine from cacti?

Can Cactus Be Made Into Moonshine? Moonshine is produced by The Hill Country Distillers in Comfort, a small town south of Fredericksburg, using fermented jalapenos and prickly pear cacti, both of which are largely found in Texas. Cactus and jalapeo spirits are available from Hill Country Distillers, so that might be your solution.

The basics

Agave is a desert-adapted plant native to Mexico and the southern United States. However, just because they originate from the same country does not mean they are related. Actually belonging to the same family as asparagus is agave.

Less than half of the agave species used for landscaping have sufficient natural sugars to be distilled into tequila or mezcal. However, all agave have prickly leaves that protrude from the pia, which is the plant’s center region. The plants develop after seven to twenty-five years and typically live for about fifteen to thirty years. A tall stalk emerges from the plant’s center at the conclusion of its lifespan.

Agave plays a significant role in the ecosystem of the desert and is essential to comprehending the area as a whole. The lesser long-nosed bat, a vulnerable species, relies on flowering agave to exist, and agave’s genetic makeup may be able to help plant researchers develop more drought-resistant varieties.

Antonio Rodriguez, Patrn’s director of production, explains to me that each agave is unique.

Their makeup, and consequently the quantity of sweetness and flavor that the terroir develops, are all significant distinctions in the production of tequila and mezcal.

Agave for tequila

Tequila must by law be produced in the Mexican states of Jalisco, Nayarit, Tamaulipas, Michoacan, and Guanajuato using Tequilana Weber or Blue Weber agave. The final spirit must include at least 50% agave to be considered tequila, although the best tequilas are created with 100% agave.

Rodriguez explains that the Weber Blue agave was chosen as the preferred agave for tequila because of its higher sugar concentration when compared to other agave plants, as well of its life cycle, reproductive strategy, and overall plant strength.

In its most basic form, Blue Weber features citrus and herbal spice aromas. However, manufacturers like Patrn and Olmeca use the “tahona process” for certain of their goods to extract additional tastes. According to Rodriguez, this method, which comprises crushing the agave with a stone wheel, can provide sweet flavors resembling those of sweet potatoes.

The tequila absorbs a range of flavors while maturing in barrels. The tastes of vanilla and caramel are added by American oak, dried fruits by French oak, and citrus and fresh wood by Hungarian oak to the spirit.

The best-selling tequila brands of 2017, according to a rating by Drinks International, are Don Julio, Calle 23, Ocho, Tapatio, and Patrn.

Agave for mezcal

Mezcal is a homegrown beverage that has been manufactured in Mexico for at least 400 years, mostly by small families and rural communities. The Nahuatl terms “metl, which means agave, and “ixcalli, which means fried or baked, are the source of the name.

Mezcal certification is under transition right now. One thing to keep in mind is that, while mezcal is a type of mezcal, tequila is not. Mezcal can only currently be produced in eight states as of this writing. Espadin agave from Oaxaca state is used to make the majority of mezcal. According to Richard Betts, the creator of Sombra Mezcal, the agave is collected when it is just about to reproduce, when “its energy stores are the largest and the pia is the most mature.”

One or more of the numerous varieties of wild agave permitted for mezcal production are employed in traditional methods (the website MezcalPhD lists more than 30 types of agave plants known to be used in mezcal). The plants are first burned underground beneath stones and soil, after which fermented agave juice is distilled in copper stills or clay pots that fire wood.

According to Danny Mena, a co-founder of Mezcales de Leyenda, the type of agave a producer employs mostly depends on the region in which it is produced.

Mena reports that Guadalupe, one of our producers, grows Americana, Inaquidens, and Cupreata exceptionally well in Michoacán.

Each of these agaves has distinctive characteristics. The only actual requirement for an agave is that it have enough sugars to support fermentation.

There is no defined flavor profile for mezcal because of the different agave species and the terroir of the areas where they are farmed and distilled. Customers should anticipate a sweet nose with lingering, sweet flavors in the United States, where the bulk of mezcal bottles are created from espadon. Espadn also takes in more smoke during the distillation process, according to Mena, giving it a more burnt appearance.

In 2017, major multinational liquor companies began investing actively in the mezcal industry, as evidenced by Pernod Ricard’s acquisition of Del Maguey.