Posted in General
As a traveler, it is critical to take in the sights, sounds and traditional flavors of the land you are exploring. If you pursue a Peru vacation package, you will be in great shape when it comes to the flavor portion. Let’s whet your palette with a sampling of some local drinks. It’s time to drink like a local!
Any write-up of traditional Peruvian drinks and beverages must start with Aguardiente de Picso (otherwise known simply as Pisco). Pisco is the national drink of Peru, and frankly, the pride and joy of every Peruvian that you will meet. It is kind of brandy that is distilled from grapes grown just South of Lima in the Ica region. By itself, drinking Pisco will feel like enjoying a fresh glass of jet fuel. But, add some egg whites, syrup and lime juice, and BAM…you have a Pisco Sour!
(If you are ever around a Chilean and a Peruvian when an argument on who invented the Pisco Sour comes up, I’d highly recommend tip toeing away!)
Pisco is also the main ingredient in the Chilcano (or Chilcanito). This drink is so popular it has it’s own week! (Seriously) Ginger Ale is traditionally served with lemon juice, but during the week of the Chilcano many different fruits are introduced in the bars.
If you’re more of a beer person, you will have no problem finding locally brewed cervezas. The three most popular are Pilsen Callao, Cusqueña (my favorite) and Cristal. Craft beer is becoming more and more popular throughout Peru as well, so keep your eyes peeled for unique taps while at the bar. If you are wanting to be extremely local, look for the red flags hanging outside of a locals door. That means that they have fresh Chicha made! Chicha is a customary beverage, known also as the beer of the Andes, that is made over a tedious five day process and only consumed from a special glass called Kero.
While in high elevation areas such as Cusco, you will often see Coca Tea served. Yes, the leaves come from the coca plant, but it is completely legal to enjoy the tea or even chew on the tea leaves here in Peru. Emoliente is another popular drink in Peru and is often sold by street vendors. This tea is strong, yet surprisingly refrshing due to what herbs and fruit extracts you put into it.
At breakfast, be sure to enjoy the fresh fruit juices they serve. Some of the best passion fruit juice I’ve ever had was in the Sacred Valley. Also necessary to try is watermelon and strawberry juices. Peruvian Coffee may not be as popular as other Central and South American countries, but they are still a big player in the worldwide coffee market and you will have no problem finding a good cup of café! If you fancy a soda, you have to try out Inca Kola, which closely resembles Mountain Dew, in everything but taste. Inca Kola has more of a ginger ale meets bubblegum flavor, it’s unique, to say the least!
I hope this gives you a good introductory guide into drinking local while in Peru! ¡Salud!