Pulque Curado : Sangre de Conejo (Rabbits Blood)

Updated 16/06/22

The rabbit holds a special place in the mythological landscape of México. It plays a part in both the legend of the moon (1) and in the creation of pulque. The moon is itself represented in various codices by the image of a jar of pulque, the rabbit was used as a measuring stick of drunkenness (2) and the saying “Ye iuhqui itoch” (Such is his rabbit) even described the manner of drunkenness a person may exhibit (3). Rich with the symbolism of hearts, blood, rabbits, the moon and intoxication I introduce to you a special pulque curado known as sangre de conejo (or “rabbits blood”).

  1. See Post Mayahuel and the Centzon Totochtin
  2. 15 rabbits makes one good company, the average person is absolutely drunk at about 50 rabbits.
  3. Or “He is like his rabbit”. This is said about people when they get drunk. One weeps copiously, another sings, another fights with people and shouts at them and another vomits.

Metztli (the Moon). A jar filled with pulque. This image often has a rabbit inside the jar.

Pulque (ala natural) is a luminous white colour which is also reflected in the colour of the full moon (Authors fanciful imagination)

Sangre de conejo is made by incorporating the blood red fruits of the Opuntia cactus into pulque creating a vibrant red liquid. The fruit of the nopal (1) called quauhnochtli (2) was sometimes used in ceremony to represent that primary of all blood organs, the human heart. This fruit is also instrumental in the creation of México itself as one legend states that Huitzilopochtli, after being betrayed by his relative Copil, removed Copils heart and threw it into a swamp. Where the heart fell the first nopal grew and it was on this cactus that the omen of the eagle devouring the snake was seen. This omen showed the Mexica where it was that they were to begin building their city, Tenochtitlan, which would very quickly become the beating heart of México.

  1. Called tunas in México
  2. Roughly translated “Eagle – cactus fruit”. This was the name given also to the heart that was extracted from those sacrificed by the Azteca. See Post Huitzilopochtli, Tenochtitlan and the Opuntia Cactus
Sangre de Conejo
Photo supplied by Casa Conejo via Facebook

Casa Conejo is a pulqueria in Iztapalapa in México City. This establishment supplies pulque sourced from Santiago Cuaula, Tlaxcala to the local defeños (1).

  1. Residents of México City, also called Chilangos (which is generally considered to be a derogatory term)


 (4 servings)


  • 1 litre of pulque
  • 6 corazones de xoconostles (xoconostle fruits) – red ones of course (1)
  • Honey to taste


  1. Peel your eagle hearts (xoconostle) to remove the prickles.
  2. Blend the fruit with a little bit of pulque;
  3. pour in the rest of the pulque and mix until incorporated
  4. strain to remove the small seeds found in the fruit
  5. Sweeten if you prefer*

*this recipe uses honey as a sweetener. If you use tunas instead of xoconostles you might not need a sweetener. Some recipes call for sugar as a sweetener but if you wanted to stay with a Mexican feel you might want to use agave syrup.

  1. The cactus fruit called for in this recipe is not the same as a tuna (2). It is very similar in most respects but the prefix “xoco” (or xoxo) usually denotes sourness. Another name for xoconostle is tuna agria (sour tuna)
  2. See Post Xoconostle
Sangre de conejo at the Tzab Pulqueria (León, Guanajuato, Mexico) Photo via Facebook.

Further information has come to light on this pulque curado, the most precious blood of el conejo. Juan de Dios Maya Ávila, a pulquero hailing from a town in the mountainous municipality of San Miguel Canadas in the Mexican State of Tepotzotlán; has this to say of el sangre de conejo.

Pero primero. Don Juan de Dios Maya Ávila,  I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. Ometeotl.

In the words of Don Juan (no, not that one) “I am going to give to the brotherhood of the pulqueros a couple of recipes that in my long journey of worshiping the God Neutle were given to me, in dreams, by Ome Tochtli himself, the Two Rabbit of legends. And I am going to confess them, because after all when one dies nothing is taken to the grave and many recipes have been lost due to the pettiness of their selfish bearers”.

He notes of sangre de conejo that although its popularity rises he fears that specific knowledge is being forgotten and the old ways are being lost. The first of this is that the incorrect cactus fruit (tuna) is generally used. He states “ One of the first misunderstandings that neophytes have in front of the wild tuna is to confuse it with the xoconochtli or xoconochtle or xoconostle, the “sour prickly pear” (tuna agria) of the Aztecs”(1). The proper variety to be used he says is the variety known tuna cardona (2). This is a “wild” variety of prickly pear (3) which has a limited range and short fruiting season. This may be one of the reasons the xoconostle is being used instead of the cardona, it is simply more widely available for a longer period of time. Give me convenience or give me death (4). The flesh of the two fruits are quite similar to each other although the xoconostle is more sour in flavour and has few (if any) spines on the fruit (and their fruits tend to be larger than that of the cimarrona/cardona). The cardona has an “army” of tiny thorns that are the bane of unknowing campers and wildcrafters who may harvest the fruits “as if they were peaches” and then find themselves to be a human pincushion.

  1. Opuntia matudae (and others) – see Post : Frutos de Catus : Xoconostle
  2. Opuntia streptacantha – also called calonche (which is also the name of a drink made from this fruit), calonche, nochol, nochoctli. Nochoctli from the Nahuatl nōchtli (“prickly pear”) + octli (“fermented drink”). See Post Frutos de Cactus : Colonche
  3. Called tuna cimarrona – because it grows naturally in the mountains and thickets and in all those stony, sinuous and texcal areas (en los montes y breñas y en todos aquellos pedregales, zonas sinuosas y texcales.) [texcale = texcalli = sharp pointed crag].
  4. a quote emanating from the title of the 1987 album produced by hardcore punk band the Dead Kennedys. “Give me convenience or give me death” is a play on the ultimatum by Patrick Henry (one of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America), “Give me liberty, or give me death!”, and is intended as a commentary on American consumerism.

Juan also speaks of two other varieties of pulque curado, the Sangre de Cogüe and the Curado de los Brujos o de las Siete Flores. The Sangre de Cogüe is a sangre de conejo with the addition of the red maguey “worm” called the chinicuil. This is similar to tecolio (1). The other, Curado de los Brujos o de las Siete Flores contains the datura flower (2). This curado is not sold (nor its recipe shared). It is only given as a medicine or for access to knowledge, if sold (or misused) you run the (very real) risk of attracting “the curse of the god Toloache (Toloatzin)”who will “persecute you in this world and in the other as well.”

  1. See Post Pulque Curado : Tecolio
  2. Toloache – the master with the thorny head (maestro de la cabeza espinada)
Toloache. The flower of (one variety of) the Datura species.

Some recipes I have found for the sangre contain aguardiente (curación de aguardientes) (1) although this would be an additive that occurred after the arrival of the Spanish. I would consider this a cocktail rather than a curado.

  1. A strong liquor distilled from (amongst other things) sugarcane (or the maguey – any variety that is not specifically used for the production of tequila or mezcal)

Pulque has long been used as a cooking ingredient (1) and its current popularity in modern México has led to it being used in unusual recipes (2) and there are artisans who produce paletas and helados (3) using pulque. There is even a sangre de conejo helado.

  1. See Post Pulque as a Cooking Ingredient
  2. See Post The Frapulcurado. A Mexican Take on the Frappé 
  3. Icy poles and icecreams
Picture courtesy of 2 Conejo Helados de Pulque via Facebook.

There is also another blood related pulque curado recipe from Atotonilco de Tula, Hidalgo known as “tlacuache blood”. This curado uses another type of cactus fruit called the garambullo. This fruit, from Myrtillocactus geometrizans, is a sweet blueberry looking (and sort of tasting) fruit and it is blended with tunas before being mixed into the pulque.

El tlacuache (or Lord Tlacuache) is the name for the oppossum in mexico. The oppossum also features in the legend of pulque (1) and is credited with being the first drunkard (although this honour could easily be held by the rabbit as well)

  1. See Post Mayahuel and the Centzon Totochtin
Myrtillocactus geometrizans Image by photomazza.com


  • Armenta, R., & Peña-Valdivia, C.B. (2009). Structural polysaccharides in xoconostle (Opuntia matudae) fruits with different ripening stages. Journal of The Professional Association for Cactus Development, 11, 26-44.
  • Godoy, A., Ulloa, M., Herrera, T. (2003). Más allá del pulque y el tepache: las bebidas alcohólicas no destiladas indígenas de México. 1. ed. México: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s