Typical Peruvian Drinks & Beverages
When talking about Peruvian drinks, the first that comes to mind is the Pisco, Peru's National Drink; Pisco Sour is a typical cocktail to welcome guests or start a Peruvian meal. But there are many other options: Peru produces some very good mostly red wines and delicious beers. And for all non-alcoholics try Chicha Morada or Peruvian Limonada and be prepared for Peru's very sweet soft drinks.
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One of the most popular cocktails in Peru is the Pisco Sour. It is based on the Pisco (kind of brandy) and the first creation originated in Lima in the early 1920s. There are many stories who created it first and even international discussions (between Peru and Chile), but nevertheless it is a must for every Peru visitor.
Pisco (Aguardiente de Pisco = full name) is Peru's national drink and the pride and joy of every Peruvian. It's distilled from grapes grown in the Ica region (south of the capital Lima). The Pisco is mostly colorless; sometimes it has a slightly amber tone. The most popular cocktail made from Pisco is Pisco Sour, a delicious combination of Pisco, lime juice, egg white and syrup. An absolute must for every Peru visitor!
The Chilcano (or also known as Chilanito) is a traditional Peruvian cocktail based on Pisco (grape brandy). The Chilcano has lately become very popular and can be found in nearly every bar and restaurant in the country. References mentioning the drink date back to the early twentieth century. In Peru every year the Chilcano is celebrated with a week dedicated to the cocktail where variations with different fruit juices or soft drinks are presented.
Lemonade is known around the world. The Peruvian version is made of water, the characteristic small Peruvian limes and a little bit of preferable brown sugar. Chilled and served with ice cubes it's a refreshing drink in summer.
Chicha Morado is a typical Peruvian non-alcoholic drink. It's prepared from a base of purple maize, known as maiz morado. While today it can be bought as bottled beverage in every supermarket, traditionally the purple maize is boiled with chunks of pineapple, quinces, cinnamon and cloves in water until the maize is soft and the liquid has taken on the deep purple color.
Emoliente is kind of an herbal tea popular with young and old, poor and rich especially in the cold winter month. Sold by street vendors around the country it is part of Peruvian lifestyle and believed to have healing and protective powers. No wonder, because emoliente is made of numerous Peruvian medicinal plants, herbs and seeds. A great beverage to get warm, add some minerals and vitamins to your diet and boost your body.
A Cremolada is something between an ice cream and a flavorful fruit drink; comparable to slush, but made with lots of fresh fruit pulp, water and sugar. Often served in a plastic beaker it's eaten with a spoon and sipped. As Cremoladas (the short form of crema helada – frozen crème) are quenching thirst perfectly while being refreshingly cold, they are very popular on hot summer days not only in Lima.
Inca Kola is, if we believe the advertisement, "El sabor del Peru", The flavor of Peru. Invented by an English immigrant in Rimac, Lima in 1935 Inca Kola is a bright yellow, very sweet soft drink flavored with lemon verbena, in Peru known as Hierba Luisa and tastes a little bit like bubblegum.
Kola Inglesa is another Peruvian soft drink. Introduced in 1912 Kola Inglesa (English Kola) has a strawberry-cherry-like flavor and a bright red color. Like Inka Kola it's very sweet, but popular with Peruvians.
Chicha de Jora, not to be confounded with Chicha Morada, is an alcoholic beverage from the Andes region, which already was prepared and drunken by the Incas. Chicha is traditionally obtained by the fermentation of specific maize, the jora. It's beer-like, has a pale yellowish color and a slightly sour taste. Note: the word "chicha" is used in the Andes for almost any homemade fermented drink.
Even though Coca Energy Drinks cannot be considered a typical Peruvian beverage we could not resist to list it here as quite a few different brands of them are produced and sold legally in Peru. Next to ingredients common to energy drinks, the coca energy drinks contain around 40mg of Coca Leaf Extract per small bottle.
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