Although most have heard of Peru’s national drink; the Pisco Sour, a sharp, citrusy cocktail best drunk as an aperitif before dinner, there are plenty that haven’t reached the same fame, but should. Other than some excellent beers and perfectly drinkable wines, Peru produces some fine beverages. Here are nine that everyone should try.
Lets start with the famous Pisco Sour, the national drink. For those who enjoy a tipple, it is unthinkable not to try this simple concoction of Pisco (a Peruvian liquor similar to brandy), lemon juice, sugar and ice. Be careful though. These strong and seriously moreish cocktails slip down all too easily. To find out how to make the perfect Pisco sour take a look at this recipe.
Inca Kola is perhaps the second most known drink, although it’s rarely found outside the country. The sugary soda made from lemon verbena (known in Peru as hierba luisa) has a strong bubblegum-like flavour that divides opinion. Some can’t get enough while others find it rather revolting. Invented by an Englishman in the 1930s, this bright yellow drink’s slogan ‘El sabor del Peru’ (the flavour of Peru) may not be entirely accurate, but certainly accompanies Peruvian food well for those with a sweet tooth.
Slightly less popular than its Inka cousin, Kola Inglesa (English Cola) is another sugary soda drink with a distinct cherry and strawberry flavour. Its bright red colour makes it hard to miss.
Agua de Manzana
A refreshing option for those who don’t want to drink the sugar laden alternatives. Literally translating to apple water, this is not just a simple fruit juice. Cloves, all spice and cinnamon are added to create a wonderfully rich and spiced beverage that quenches the thirst in the summer months or warmed up during winter. Interestingly the drink is also commonly referred to as ‘agua de loco’ (crazy water) which is odd as the drink is known for its soothing qualities that relax the mind.
Chicha de Jora
This ancient low alcohol drink made from fermented corn has been produced in the Andes for over a thousand years. During the Incan Empire is was drunk in enormous quantities, particularly during rituals or festivals. The younger the drink the sweeter the taste. As it matures it becomes more sour, almost like a Scrumpy cider.
Peru has over 55 varieties of corn, so it should be no surprise that a drink has been created from it. The base of purple maize gives this non-alcoholic drink a rich, deep colour and the addition of quince, cinnamon, cloves and sometimes pineapple produce an interesting flavour. Homemade chichi morada is of course best, but the mass-produced supermarket variety is perfectly drinkable.
Mate de Coca
A simple tea made from the infused leaves from the coca plant. In taste it is similar to green tea with a slight bitterness and is drunk throughout the Andean regions of Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Argentina. The stimulating chemicals found in the leaves give an energy boost and are effective at warding off altitude sickness.
Emoliente is a herbal tea made from a complex mix of toasted barley, flax seeds, dried horse tail herb, grass and plantain leaves. When chilled, the drink is refreshing during the summer months, but is arguably best in the winter when warmed through. Rich in minerals and vitamins, the drink is an excellent way to give your body a boost and is said to have healing powers.
Colourful cremoladas (a word derived from crema helada, literally frozen cream) sold from street vendors along the coast of Peru are fruit drinks that are best described as sorbet, minus the egg whites. The pulp of exotic fruits mixed with a little water and sometimes sugar can be sipped or eaten with a spoon and are best enjoyed on the beach as a refreshing alternative to traditional ice cream.
To begin planning your tour to Peru, get in touch with us today.