Top 5 drinks to sip in Peru
When you travel to Peru, there’s no excuse to buy a standard soft drink when you’re out and about or to stick to the old vodka and soda when you’re at a bar. Peru has a unique variety of rehydrating beverages – here are the top five drinks you must try in Peru…
Pisco is to Peru what Vodka is to Russia – it is the national spirit. Pisco is distilled from grapes and is primarily produced in the towns of Pisco and Ica. You’ll find a Pisco Sour on any cocktail list in Peru and it’s a delightful mix of Pisco, lime juice, egg white and sugar syrup, shaken up with ice then topped with a few drops of bitters. You can even learn how to concoct the legendary cocktail on our Lima Pisco Making day tour. The combination of bitter/sour/sweet works very well… go easy though, the local bartenders are very liberal with their Pisco pouring!
Peru is abundant with many different varieties of corn, including a purple corn, which is too tough to eat so instead it is boiled in water to make chicha morada. A sweet, refreshing drink with subtle spices, including cinnamon and cloves, and fruity hints of pineapple, this drink is best served cold. Everyone has their own version of chicha morada but it is so popular that it’s also industrially made and sold in bottles and cans country-wide. A corn drink might sound strange but have a try, chicha morada is incredibly tasty!
Peru’s national soft drink may have cola (albeit with a ‘K’) in its name, but it tastes and looks nothing like it. In fact, it is yellow and is made with lemon verbena, a flowering plant with a lemon scent, but most people describe the taste as more like bubble gum. Peruvians have been drinking Inca Kola since 1935 and believe it or not, it outsells Coca-Cola! It can be found everywhere in the country, even in the most remote of places!
Although coca tea is illegal in most parts of the world due to the coca plant containing alkaloids, the base for cocaine, it is legal to drink in some countries in South America, including Peru. The leaves are simply added to boiled water to produce a tea, which is believed to combat the effects of altitude sickness. So you’ll find it in Cusco and the highlands, as well as Puno and Lake Titicaca. It’s very calming to sip after a walk up a hill, or perhaps after you’ve finished the Inca Trail! Just don’t try bringing it home!
Peru is home to a part of the Amazon Jungle, so the variety of tropical fruits on offer is astounding! Just head into any market and the colourful array of fruits in different shapes and sizes are piled high, ready to be whizzed into a refreshing fruity cocktail. Try having a lúcuma shake – this fruit is native to the Andean valleys of Peru and has an unusual pasty and sandy texture that tastes a bit like caramel custard or pumpkin but is deliciously creamy in a drink.