When the Aztecs conquered the Totonacs in 1427, they discovered the essence of the black vanilla pod brought in flavoring and medicinal value to their culture. They were the first to use both vanilla and cocoa together to help with the flavor of their foods and drinks, often mixing them together. The mixture was much like our “hot chocolate,” but they called it “xocolatl.” At the time of the Spanish Conquest in 1521, the Aztec capital city of Tenochtitlan was among the largest cities in the world, with perhaps as many as 200,000 inhabitants. It was a city of great wealth, obtained through the spoils of tribute from conquered regions. Colorful, busy markets with a bewildering array of foods and luxuries impressed native visitors and conquering Spaniards alike, including vanilla and chocolate. In 1519, it is believed that Hernando Cortes was served a beverage mixture of cocoa and vanilla by Aztec Emperor Montezuma, most likely the xocolatl. Both flavors were so well received by the Spanish conqueror that he brought the cocoa and vanilla beverage back to Europe as a treasure from the New World. Today, Peaks & Pints’ weekly Monday cider flight plants one sandal in Aztec lore and one hiking boot at Peaks. Stop by our Proctor District craft lodge and grab our to-go cider flight, Peaks and Pints Monday Cider Flight: Aztec
Peaks and Pints Monday Cider Flight: Aztec
Reverend Nat’s Tent Show #60 – 400 Rabbits
The Aztec myth of the 400 drunken rabbit gods explains all levels of intoxication. There’s a rabbit God for the drunkard dancing and stepping on people’s toes. There’s a rabbit God for that feeling of flying when you’re really drunk. And there’s a rabbit God for “drunken fertility.” 400 Rabbits is a blend of Reverend Nat’s Traditional Tepache (made from piloncillo, fermented pineapples, and a hint of pie spices) blended with homebrewer Aaron Durán’s tamarind skills, some ghost chile extract and a couple secret ingredients that Rev. Nat will absolutely tell you if wear rabbit ears and get drunk with him.
Locust Vanilla Bean
Consider the vanilla bean. The Aztecs did. In addition to inventing long words ending in “atl” and awesome mythology, they had the patience to figure out how to cultivate vanilla — a particularly difficult flavor to come by. The pods are the fruit of an orchid plant (Vanilla planifolia), and they must be cured and fermented over the course of about six months. If that weren’t involved enough, the high-maintenance orchid itself must be pollinated by hand. Mexico continues to be a major producer, but bourbon vanilla pods from Madagascar are the Chanel No. 5 of vanilla, valued for its rich depth of flavor. For many years now, vanilla has been the adjunct that takes a cider’s status from gold to platinum. Locust Cider’s Vanilla Bean blends Washington apples with real Madagascar vanilla.
Yonder Velvet Cashmere
Yonder Cider grabbed their Negroni-inspired winter seasonal — Cashmere — and blended it with Fast Penny Spirits’ Amaricano amaro to create Velvet Cashmere. Tart with notes of cranberry, dark cherry and bitter orange, the addition of amaro brings a beautiful richness to this cocktail-like creation. Aromas of toasted sugar and dark fruit shine through while hints of truffle, vanilla bean and Mexican chocolate mingle with a savory bitterness, with vanilla and chocolate Aztec inventions.
LINK: Peaks & Pints cooler inventory