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Aguamiel [aɣwaˈmjel] (literally agua "water" miel "honey") is the sap of the Mexican maguey plant which is believed to have therapeutic qualities. According to Native American histories, the process of obtaining aquamiel from maguey was first discovered during the reign of Tecpancaltzin (ca. 990–1042) by a Toltec noble named Papantzin, whose daughter Xochitl was sent to the king with an offering of aguamiel. The sap is found in abundance among the agave plants which grow among the ruins of the Teotihuacan civilization. Also called honeywater it has been used in Mexico as a medicine. In its fermented state it has been enjoyed as a beverage for centuries. The particularly viscous beer made from Aguamiel is known as pulque in Mexico. It was available commercially beginning in 1910 and its sale was emphasized only in California prior to late 1928.
An individual maguey plant can produce about 1000L of aguamiel over the course of 3 to 6 months. Over the course of the production period, the volume of aguamiel varies from about 0.4L/day at the beginning and end of production, to about 4-6L/day at the peak. It is obtained from the agave plant through cutting a growing, flowering stock, which releases the agave's sweet sap. After the plant is cut, sap can be harvested from the plant for up to 2 months.
Aguamiel was distributed by the Agmel Products Corporation prior to the company's acquisition by Zonite Products Corporation in March 1928. It could be obtained only in certain areas of Mexico and would spoil quickly. Aguamiel's use was not widespread until a rigorous process of concentration was developed.
- "Zonite Corporation", Wall Street Journal, March 8, 1928, pg. 7.
- Steinkraus, Keith "Industrialization of Indigenous Fermented Foods, Revised and Expanded" pg. 556
- A Mexican Pompeii To Be Uncovered, New York Times, June 28, 1925, pg. SM13.
- "Big Possibilities Shown By Zonite", Wall Street Journal, September 21, 1928, pg. 12.
- Hui, Y.H., and Evranuz, E. Ozgul "Handbook of Plant-Based Food and Beverage Technology" pg. 695
- Levetin, Estelle; McMahon, Karen (2012). Plants and Society. New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 438. ISBN 978-0-07-352422-1.