The agave has captivated the attention and respect of generations in the Americas over the centuries. In the majestic landscapes of the Andes Mountains in Ecuador, agaves stand in their wild splendour, benefiting from their location, which is exceptionally close to the equator. This geographical singularity confers unique qualities to this millenary plant.
A member of the succulent plant family, the agave has become a key ingredient in Quito’s gastronomy and culture. Its diverse uses have given rise to a series of culinary innovations that delight the palates of visitors. In particular, Miske, an ancestral drink made from this plant, has gained popularity due to its distinctive taste and unique brewing process.
In Quito, the agave has been appreciated for centuries for its many uses. In addition to its use in the production of alcoholic beverages such as mezcal and tequila, the agave has been integrated into the region’s traditional cuisine.
Miske, the ancient drink
Miske has captured the attention of foodies and spirits aficionados in Quito. It is considered a sacred drink obtained through a process of fermentation and distillation. Its elaboration requires skill, patience and knowledge passed down from generation to generation.
The process of making Miske begins with the careful harvesting of the agave stalks, which are cut and crushed to extract the sweet, fibrous juice. This juice is fermented in large wooden vessels, where natural yeasts, present in the environment, transform the sugars into alcohol for several days. The fermented liquid is then distilled in traditional stills to produce Miske, a clear beverage with a moderate alcohol content.
Miske is characterised by its smooth and complex flavour, with herbal overtones and sweet notes from the agave. It is appreciated for its versatility, as it can be enjoyed on its own, in cocktails or as an ingredient to enhance other dishes and drinks.
Miske’s popularity has led to the opening of wineries and distilleries in Quito, where its artisanal and sustainable production is promoted. Miske producers take pride in preserving ancestral traditions and contributing to the economic development of the local communities involved in its production.
A visit to Casa Agave is a must to see the whole tradition of agave and the production of Miske in Quito. It is an integral project dedicated to the recovery and revaluation of the knowledge and history of the Andean agave, which has played a fundamental role in the preservation and dissemination of information. It is the first museum of agave culture in South America and the pioneer in the country in designing experiential tours about this plant.
A significant achievement of Casa Agave was its participation in the declaration of Miske as the first beverage with Denomination of Origin in Ecuador, which represents a milestone for the national identity and the recognition of the ancestral tradition.
This project has won multiple international awards and has participated in renowned events such as the International Agave Symposium in Mexico and Madrid Fusión in Madrid, Spain. In addition, it has been responsible for the preparation of the signature cocktail at the Ecuadorian dinner with the Prince of Monaco in March 2023.
To learn more about agave and Miske, as well as to discover other culinary and cultural uses of this plant in Quito, travellers can visit local wineries and distilleries, as well as participate in events and food festivals organised in the city.