City: All of Peru // Category: Food & beverages // Reading time: 5 min
As everyone knows, Peru is famous for its delicious cuisine. However, the country of the ancient Incas also has an impressive variety of special drinks. The drinks in Peru reflect local customs, history and exceptional ingredients. By tasting the drinks you will not only have a lot of fun, but you will understand the country and its people better. One of the most famous Peruvian drinks is the Pisco Sour, a must on any Peru trip. Apart from that, there's a lot more to try! That’s why in this post, I'd like to introduce you to the most popular alcoholic & non-alcoholic Peruvian drinks that you definitely have to try during your time in Peru.
What are the most typical Peruvian drinks?
- Pisco Sour
- Beer (Cusqueña, Pilsen Callao, Cristal)
- Chicha de Jora
- Inca Kola
- Chicha Morada
- Mate de Coca
- Peruvian Juices
Below I will present you the 9 most typical Peruvian drinks in detail and I will give you some insiders about each one. Let's begin!
1. Pisco Sour
The most famous Peruvian national drink, the Pisco Sour, is a cocktail invented by an American in Lima. He was then taken over by the Peruvians and has since been enjoyed throughout the world. The Pisco Sour consists of a grape brandy, egg white, lime juice and a little sugar. It's a very refreshing alcoholic drink that you'll definitely have to taste when you're in Peru! How does a Pisco tasting in Lima sound?
The original version of Chilcano is made out of pisco, ginger ale and lime juice, but the cocktail is prepared differently in many bars & restaurants, e.g. with exotic fruits, such as passion fruit, strawberry, mango or similar variants. Although the Chilcano may not be as famous as the Pisco Sour, it is a refreshing alternative that is not quite as strong!
Peruvians drink even more beer than Pisco Sour. There are three major brands of beer in Peru: Cristal, Cusqueña and Pilsen Callao. If you prefer a light beer then the Cusqueña Premium is the right choice. If you want to taste something different, try one of the other Cusqueña beers, such as the dark black beer. Cristal is the most popular lager among many Peruvians and can be compared to the Mexican Corona. Last but not least, the Pilsen Callao, which was first brewed in 1863, is the oldest beer in Peru.
4. Chicha de Jora
Let’s continue with a traditional drink from the Andes, which the Incas used to drink back then - Chicha de Jora. It is a beer produced out of Jora Korn, which is a type of yellow Andean wheat. You will especially find the beer in small villages of the Sacred Valley. The unique thing about the beer is the thick foam.
A little insider for you: The tradition is that you dump some beer on the ground and say "Pachamama, Santa Tierra" as a kind of offering for the "Pachamama" (Mother Earth in Quechua). Chicha de Jora is a very interesting drink, which initially brings a slightly sweet taste and at the end a slightly bitter one.
5. Inca Kola
Inca Kola is one of the most popular non-alcoholic Peruvian drinks, so definitely try it during your time in Peru. The Inca Kola has its origins in 1910, when an English couple called Jose & Martha Lindley opened a small shop in Lima to sell carbonated drinks. It is similar in taste to the American Mountain Dew, but the famous Inca Kola is not so sweet. Many people say that Inca Kola tastes like chewing gum. What do you guys think?
6. Chicha Morada
Chicha Morada is a very famous Peruvian drink made of purple corn. The purple corn has its origin from Peru and this was already consumed by the Incas. In addition, Chicha Morada has numerous health benefits such as Lowering blood pressure or reducing heart disease. This non-alcoholic beverage is made out of cooked purple corn with pineapple, cinnamon, sugar and clove. You must try Chicha Morada during your time in Peru, because the taste is unique and you most likely won’t find it anywhere else.
7. Mate de Coca
Mate de Coca is well known especially in the Andean regions and is a tea made out of coca leaves. This drink is very popular and is mainly drunk to avoid the altitude sickness or to reduce the effects. But a small recommendation from me: If you should be tested in the profession for drugs, then you should avoid the Mate de Coca tea best to play it safe. The taste of coca tea can be compared very well with that of green tea.
8. Peruvian fruit juices
When you are in Peru, you cannot miss the Peruvian fruit juices. Peru is a true fruit paradise and one of the best ways to enjoy it is with fresh juices. You can find the delicious juices everywhere, whether in restaurants, cafes or on markets. The selection of fruits is endless and goes from normal fruits, such as bananas, papayas, passion fruit and pineapple to the most famous Peruvian fruits, such as lucuma, aguaje, aguaymanto, camu camu, chirimoya, granadilla and much more. The "Jugo Especial" is extremely delicious, a mix of different fruits, an egg and cusqueña beer (optional). This viscous juice is like a meal and you are welcome to share it with your partner!
Emoliente is another unique Peruvian beverage. This drink is sold on the street, especially in winter time as it’s warm. It is said that Emoliente has healing powers as the basis of Emoliente consists of a mix of herbs, e.g. from barley, dried horsetail, linseeds, alfalfa sprouts and plantain leaves. The taste of the drink is a little peculiar - imagine you drink something hot, fruity...just a very unique combination. If you do not feel so good during your trip, then you should definitely try Emoliente.
These were the most popular and famous drinks in Peru that you absolutely must try when you are in Peru. However, these drinks are only half as tasty if not combined with the right food. Therefore, you should read our post about the best food in Peru. Have you already tried one of the most popular Peruvian drinks or did we forget your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!