In Mexico there is an abundance of agaves and lots of regulations for spirits produced there. Bacanora is the traditional drink of the state of Sonora.
It is made from the agave family Angustifolia and its species Pacifica, also known as agave Yaquiana. Pacifica grows in the mountain range of the state and preferrs high altitudes and dry climates. The Pacifica agave takes approx. 7 years to grow and the methods used for making the spirit are similar to that of mezcal. They have a high yield and grow up to 2m in size. Once mature, they are cut with a small ax called a ‘jaibica’, and all the leaves are removed from the heart/pina. The agaves are roasted in a big pit in the ground lined with wood, charcoal and green (usually banana) leaves, crushed by tahona wheel, distilled twice and then cut with water until it’s between 40-50% alcohol. The whole process takes about two weeks. The result is a complex spirit with less smoke than a Mezcal and an earthy, pepperiness on the finish.
Although Bacanora has been produced for around 300 years, it, similarly to Sotol, was banned by the governor of Sonora in the early 1900s. He believed drinking and producing alcohol was immoral. It wasn’t until 1992 that the ban was lifted. In November 2000 Bacanora became a protected spirit and can only be made from Agave Pacifica in the state of Sonora.