The 8 Most Popular South American Drinks
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The 8 Most Popular South American Drinks

5 min read

Apr 27, 2015


By Adam Haynie

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Last updated on March 22nd, 2021 at 08:51 am

While on your next trip to South America, relax after a long day of sightseeing at the local watering hole and try some of South America’s famous cocktails and drinks! As diverse as the continent’s landscape itself, the drinks you are able to find in each country and region are unique. And, if you’re anything like me, each beverage is a fantastic addition to your bartending repertoire. On your next trip to South America, be sure to try these wonderful cocktails. Follow below for some of the best South American drinks!

1. Pisco Sour from Peru & Chile

pisco sour - most popular south american drinksPisco Sour is by far one of the most popular South American drinks.  This explains why Peru and Chile both claim it as their national drink.  While Peru may be the original creators of Pisco – both Peru and Chile offer their own twist on the spirit.

Peru maintains a traditional style of distillation, whereby the liquor is bottled directly once the fermentation and distillation is complete. Chilean Pisco is aged in oak barrels, giving a unique earthy flavor in comparison to the traditional Peruvian Pisco.

2. Caipirinha from Brazil

Caipirinha most popular south american drinksNothing tops off a day of touring Rio de Janeiro, Brazil like a refreshing, cold caipirinha. Made from the country’s most popular spirit Cachaca, a sugarcane-based spirit distilled in Brazil, the caipirinha brings together sweet, citrus, and refreshing in one delicious glass. The national cocktail of Brazil, be sure to try this South American drink on your next adventure in Brazil – or make one at home with the following recipe!

To make a caipirinha, slice a lime in half and cut into wedges, place into a pint glass and add 2 tablespoons of sugar (brown sugar is best, though any sugar will work) and muddle. After mixing, add 2 ounces of Cachaca, fill the glass with ice, then shake with a shaker tin for a few seconds. Pour the mixture into a rocks glass, garnish with a lime, and enjoy!

3. Malbec Wine from Argentina

malbec wine - most popular south american drinksWhile in Argentina, try its world-famous Malbecs. The Malbec grape was originally from France, but due to Argentina’s high altitude, cool vineyards, and weather, it is now when of the most famous South American drinks.

Argentina has flourished in developing its wines and has long since taken over as the reigning king of Malbec. Take a Mendoza wine tour to truly appreciate the scenic beautify of the vineyards, drink Malbec, and even go on a bike tour where, if you are lucky, the local police will ride behind you to make sure you get home safe after a day of a tasting Mendoza’s finest wine!

4. Fernet & Coke from Argentina

For a unique Argentine cocktail experience, try the most popular cocktail of the younger ages, a Fernet and Coke. Originally from Italy, it is now a favorite South American drink, especially among the Argentines. Fernet Branca is an aromatic, bitter digestif.

Try one yourself by simply adding 1.5 ounces of Fernet Branca, ice, and top the glass with coca-cola – it’s a unique drink and definitely worth the effort! The city of Cordoba, Argentina’s second-largest city, is the biggest consumer of Fernet in the country.

5. Aguardiente from Colombia

Though not much a cocktail, Aguardiente is the name of a spirit that many countries refer to, but often differentiate in the actual liquor. In Colombia, Aguardiente is an anise-flavored spirit that is distilled from sugarcane, similar to Ouzo, and is typically drunk neat out of a shot glass. Black-licorice lovers rejoice, others beware as this South American drink is typically a “love it or hate it” beverage.

Ecuador also has a spirit referred to as Aguardiente, which is distilled from sugarcane, but it lacks the anise flavoring that Colombia maintains. Typically, Ecuadorians will either drink the Aguardiente straight, or in a canalezo (a concoction of fruit juice, hot water steeped with cinnamon, and Aguardiente). Try Aguardiente in each country you see it on the menu and judge for yourself who does it best!

6. Coffee from Colombiamost popular south american drinks

Possibly the most well known South American drink is coffee from Colombia. Be sure to try some sure to be amazing coffee out of the many coffee plantations in the region.

7. Yerba Mate from Argentina & Uruguay

After a day on the coast during your trip to Uruguay, try drinking Yerba Mate out of the traditional gourd with a bombilla – traditionally a shared experience among friends. This South American drink is a good alternative for people who love a caffeine boost but don’t enjoy coffee!

8. Coca Tea from Peru & Bolivia

If you are in the high-altitude areas of Peru and Bolivia, be sure to try Coca tea which is believed to aid in preventing altitude sickness. For example, many people drink coca tea while on a tour of Machu Picchu or a tour to the Uyuni Salt Flats.

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Last updated on March 22nd, 2021 at 08:51 am

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