Women participate in the production of mezcal: Sósima Olivera, mezcal expert

The teacher was in Mérida to spread the importance of the ancient drink. Photo: (La Jornada Maya)

Mérida, Yucatán, (June 15, 2021).- Sósima Olivera Aguilar, originally from Oaxaca and a mezcal expert known in various parts of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, was present in Mérida to spread the art of making mezcal and its importance as an ancestral drink and, above all, to reaffirm that every time there is more women in this industry.

As a Chontal woman, she is part of the fourth generation of a mezcal producer lineage, originally from San Miguel Suchiltepec, Oaxaca municipality; She shared that she is dedicated to making mezcal because he grew up in the midst of this activity.

“It is a heritage of tradition, I am the fourth generation of a family that is dedicated to the production of mezcal, but we have a cooperative that we set up 12 years ago in the upper Chontal area, and now we are in two mezcal regions of Oaxaca”, she shared.

She explained that so far eight families directly depend on the brand of mezcal called ‘Fanekantsini’, a pre-Hispanic name that means ‘Three hummingbirds’ and that was also a mythological character of the region.

For now, she represents these families, but above all the women who are now openly dedicated to making this drink.

“I historically believe women have participated in the palenques and the production of mezcal because it is a family activity. From the time you are very small, you have to herd the mule, poke the pots, carry the firewood depending on your strength, that is, a family job, in which there are always women, ” she explained.

However, she recognized that for many years, the man is the one who has been attributed a greater relationship with the mezcal activity, but the woman has also been present.

Olivera Aguilar remembers – since she was eight years old – her grandmother who made mezcal and she also keeps the same memory of her mother.

“It is thus that nowadays, women carry out the organization of the palenque, that is, the place where the whole process is carried out,” she explained.

The mezcal expert began to spread this activity throughout the country 12 years ago, especially so that people see mezcal from another perspective, both historical and cultural.

Regarding her visit to Mérida, she said that she was actually surprised to see how people have a genuine interest in learning about mezcal and that they appreciate the drink for what it is, an ancestral tradition.

Within her encouragement, the Maestra Mezcalera makes it clear that it is not the same to see a bottle on a shelf as to know about its entire history and production process.

More than an alcoholic beverage, she says, mezcal is a ceremonial, medicinal, cultural and social drink.

“When you are born, they receive you with a mezcal and when you die, they say good bye to you with a mezcal,” she said.

For its elaboration, she explained that you first need maguey (agave) that is already ready, this can last between six and 12 years, then you have to cut the pineapple, put it to cook, distill and ferment, a process that takes days of work – it may require up to a month-.

The Maestra Mezcalera is present this week in Tulum, Quintana Roo: this Tuesday 15, she will be at Arca, Wednesday at Bandera, Thursday at Gitano and Friday at Casa Jaguar.

Source: La Jornada Maya



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