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TypeCorn beer
Country of originCentral Mexico
Region of originYuto-Aztec people

Tesgüino is an artisanal corn beer produced by several Yuto-Aztec people.[1] The Tarahumara people regard the beer as sacred, and it forms a significant part of their society.[2][3] Anthropologist John Kennedy reports that "the average Tarahumaras spends at least 100 days per year directly concerned with tesgüino and much of this time under its influence or aftereffects."


Tesgüino comes from the Nahuatl tescuini which means "heartbeat".[1]


The Tarahumara people gather every year during Easter week (semana santa) and drink large amounts of Tesgüino together while following rituals. According to the anthropologist Bill Merrill of the Smithsonian Institution, the sacred drink chases large souls from the persons who drink it, "and so when people get drunk that's why they act like children [...] because the souls that are controlling their actions are the little souls, like little children".[2]


The general Tarahumara term for an alcoholic beverage is "Sugíki"; and "batári" is used when the beer is specifically made from corn or lichen flour;[4] "paciki" is used when the beer is made from fresh corn stalks.[5] While tesgüino made from corn is considered the most sacred, the Tarahumara also make beer from agave[3] and wheat,[4] as well as other alcoholic beverages made from fruits such as peaches, berries, crab apples, cactus fruits, and mesquite seeds.[6]


The beer is made from corn kernels which are soaked, sprouted, then ground up, boiled and left to ferment naturally with wild yeast. A local grass is used in place of hops for flavouring.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b (in Spanish) El Tesgüino, Arqueologiamexicana.mx
  2. ^ a b John Burnett, The Sacred Corn Beer of the Tarahumara, Npr.org, 25 March 2005
  3. ^ a b Southwest Agave Project Archived May 17, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ a b TARAHUMARA (rarámuri) Archived 2008-05-29 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Pennington, C. W. (1983). Tarahumara. In W. C. Sturtevant (Ed.), The handbook of North American Indians, Vol. 10. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution.
  6. ^ Tesguino


  1. ^ Boza is an Eastern European beer made from wheat.
  2. ^ Pulque is a Mexican alcoholic beverage made from agave.