Peru is one of the countries with the greatest biodiversity on the planet. Hence, it offers an infinity of flavors and culinary versions that make its cuisine one of the best in the world. For 9 consecutive years, Peruvian gastronomy was awarded as the first gastronomic destination in the annual editions of the World Travel Awards. This ensures that your visit to the Andean country will not only be a heavenly journey of sounds, colors, and history but also of unforgettable flavors that will melt your palate and reduce it to a unique one: the Peruvian flavor. But we all know that there is no good food without the company of a good Peru drink, and today, together with Machu Travel Peru expert, you will know the best Peruvian drinks that you have to try once staying in the Andean country. Join us together!
The 12 best traditional Peruvian drinks
- Pisco Sour
- Chicha de Jora
- Cusqueña beer
- Chicha Morada
- Mate de Coca
- Aguaymanto juice
- Inca Kola
1. Pisco Sour
It is time to talk about the world-famous Pisco Sour. This drink has left an indelible mark on those fortunate enough to taste its refreshing bittersweet, delicious, and refreshing taste (this is due to citrus tones that make it very easy to drink) Four or five shots of this drink will have you wondering how drunk you are! This cocktail is said to have been invented by an American in Lima to later be drunk by Peruvians and perfected. Of course, Peruvian Pisco liquor is its main ingredient and It is so special to Peruvians that it is the national drink of Peru. For this reason, it has its own public holiday, every first Saturday in February.
This exquisite Peruvian drink has lemon juice, Peruvian Pisco, syrup, egg white, ice, and cinnamon powder. The preparation is very simple, in a blender, put 2 ounces of Peruvian Pisco, together with the 3 ice cubes, one egg white, 2 ounces of lemon juice, and 2 ounces of syrup. Let the flavors mix and serve in a glass, after, sprinkling the cinnamon powder over the beverage and that’s it!
If you prefer something milder than the sweetness and acidity of the Pisco Sour, The freshness and lightness of the Chilcano will fit you perfectly. Again, its main ingredient is the Peruvian Pisco, and its preparation consists of putting in a shaker 2 ounces of Pisco, half of ounce of lemon juice, ginger ale as desired, a couple of Angostura bitter drops, and 3 ice cubes. Next, cap the shaker and shake it for seconds. Finally, serve the mix in a large glass. This is the base of the Chilcano, and, after, you can add the fruit juice that most you like. The drink goes with everything! For this reason, you will find the Chilcano of Strawberries or any fruit else in different Peruvian restaurants.
History said that its name “Chilcano” was taken from the ancient and traditional fish head soup. But, Why? Because the Peruvian realized that both (Soup and beverage) were good for curing the hangover. Even, The drink is so loved in Peru that it has its own week for its consumption (approximately 11 days), in mid-January. Therefore, if you pass in front of some Peruvian restaurant, bar, or hotel, and ask for it. You will not regret it!
3. Chicha de Jora
Fermented corn beer. The Chicha de Jora is a very popular and traditional Peruvian drink of the Peruvian Andean inhabitant. It is a beer species, low in alcohol, made from corn fermentation. But not any type of corn, but made of the “Jora” corn type, of the yellow body, and that gives the drink a medium white – cloudy color. A series of ceramic mills, discovered near Machu Picchu, and used for grinding “Jora”, confirm that the Incas already drank the Chicha. But most importantly, how is the taste of Chicha? Well, the flavor of this Andean beer is slightly sweet and slightly bitter at the end. And, your palate will enjoy it in a way you will not forget.
The process of making this drink is very similar to the production of a normal beer. The yellow corn kernels are left to ferment along with malt sugars in giant clay pots, buried in the ground for several days. The time of fermentation depends on the Chichero, the person responsible for its preparation who usually works in Picanterias (Traditional and ancient Cusco restaurants where spicy foods are served and are identified by reed poles with blue plastic at one end, hung from their doors) and Chicherias (Traditional and ancient Cusco bars and are identified by reed poles with red plastic at one end, hanging from their doors)
In the Chicherias, the Chicha is usually served in giant glasses called “Caporales”, and the first sip is usually thrown on the floor, in thanks to the Pachamama (Inca deity that represents the earth, as a mother that gives her products to her sons, like corn, potatoes, inter alia) If you are with a tour guide in Cusco, definitely, he will guide you through these locals to prove and enjoy the delicious Chicha!
Blend of corn beer & strawberries. Frutillada is also known as Chicha de Frutilla and is a sweeter version of Chicha de Jora since the strawberries cover its bitter taste, giving it a unique sweetness. The Frutilla are wild strawberries that are added to the final preparation of the traditional Chicha, together with sugar, even beet juice is occasionally added to strengthen the color red that has to have. This is one of the most popular traditional Peruvian drinks in the Andean regions of Peru and you can find it in the same places as the Chicha of Jora in other words, in the Chicherias and Picanterias, even in the central markets of the Andean Peruvian cities.
Consumed in Peru long before the Incas, it used to be served in ceramic cups called K’eros. But now it’s served in a special pint-sized glass called Caporal, that has to catch with your two hands. A delicious Inca drink to drink at any time of the year. And, the favorite place to find this delicious drink is in the Picanterias and Chicherias of the Sacred Valley of the Incas!
5. Cusqueña beer
Believe it or not, in Peru, beer is more consumed than Pisco and its derivatives. There are many beer marks, like the lagers Pilsen, and Cristal (light flavor, almost imperceptible) destined to local consumption. And the Cusqueña beer (a common appellative for the female inhabitant of Cusco). Precisely, the last is a Premium beer with delicious bitterness and a more defined body. In the beginning, the beer was produced in Cusco, yes, the same Incas city, and after, the plant was moved to Lima, but respecting the production recipe.
In 1908, the German Ernesto Gunther and other local people found the German Brewery Günther & Tidow S.A. Ltd in Cusco City. So, they began to produce a golden beer of roasted hops that conquered the Peruvian palate and even more the international palate immediately. Nowadays, this traditional Peruvian Drink is the most consumed around the world since beer is the most exported principally to Europe countries, and don’t drink it, at least once, during your Peru trip, would be a big mistake. So, what are you waiting for?
6. Chicha Morada
Purple corn drink. The Peruvian have the delicious and famous Chicha Morada, the popular drink in Peru by excellence and is made of corn of purple color. Its consistency is totally different from Chicha de Jora. For starters, it is not an alcoholic drink, it is lighter and sweeter, besides being refreshing. In addition, this Chicha is usually enjoyed with endless typical dishes, and it is the perfect company at Peruvian lunchtimes.
The history of this Peruvian drink and its elaboration goes back even to times older than the Incas. When the pre-Hispanic cultures were lucky enough to have achieved and devised the elaboration of this refreshing juice. Later being consumed by the Incas and distributed throughout their empire. Regarding the biodiversity in Peru, we have more than 50 types of corn, more than in any other country, and each one of these has a different use. Of course, purple corn is one of the many unique and native varieties of Peru.
This drink, as its name indicates, is prepared with a particular species of corn, Ckolli -for its name in Quechua-, which has the peculiarity of having a purple grain. But it is not the only ingredient used to prepare this drink. You will also need pineapple, lemon, cinnamon, apple, and sugar to taste. All these ingredients have to be boiled. But if you thought it was just a tasty drink you are wrong, Chicha Morada has a wide variety of health benefits. It is good for fighting diabetes, certain types of cancer, and obesity, is a perfect antioxidant and is an excellent anti-inflammatory.
7. Mate de Coca
Coca tea. The Mate de Coca is a tea made with coca leaves boiled in hot water and is usually consumed in the Andean Peruvian region due to avoid altitude sickness or to reduce its effects for its stimulating and energizer benefits. Its flavor can be compared to green tea because it is slightly bitter. But be careful, although the alkaloids may be in small amounts in a Coca tea, they may be sufficient to yield a positive result in an anti-doping test. For this reason, drinking it not is recommendable before taking a flight or passing an international border. Its use is allowed in almost all South American countries, of course, the United States bans its consumption.
Its use dates back thousands of years before the creation of the famous drug (Inca’s times). In addition, Coca leaves have been used by Peruvian indigenous towns for their medicinal properties in a responsible and secure form for centuries. Nowadays, it is still being drunk in the most renowned restaurants, hotels, and houses of families in high Peruvian cities, like Cusco, Ayacucho, and Puno, among others. If come to Cusco, you can’t stop trying it.
Airampo is prickly purple cactus seeds that grow in rocky terrains, such as gravel hills of Cusco, Ayacucho, and Puno inter alia. These seeds have a purple color and Peruvian families use them to prepare them boiled in hot water, adding Cinnamon Sticks, Cloves, and even some drops of lemon juice. This fresh Peruvian drink red color is consumed in local Peruvian cuisines as an accompanying drink for meals. Also, it consumes to heal mouth sores and relieves fever and stomach heartburn, among other benefits. For all these reasons, this traditional Peruvian drink come to be consumed since Peruvian colonial times.
Therefore, if you have the opportunity, buy some Airampo seeds in any local markets around all Peru, and prepare a refreshing beverage with them.
9. Aguaymanto juice
Goldenberry juice. Have you ever heard the word Aguaymanto? Probably not, but his American name Goldenberry, maybe yes. In fact, it is an endemic fruit of Peru that, today, is produced by Colombia and Bolivia else. It is a kind of small yellow tomato covered with pulp and peel golden that gives it a mysterious appearance. It has a special and unforgettable flavor that combines the sweet, with light touches of bitterness, worthy of being served in multiple ways and versions.
Also, It has many culinary uses, it can be a base of many jams and delicacies, served to delicious meals, and it is ideal to accompany any dessert, or better yet, to hydrate you after a long day (in its form of drink). By the way, it is very easy to prepare this Peruvian drink from Aguaymanto. Peel a few of these small tomatoes, extract their pulp, and blend them with about three cups of water, and you will have it ready to serve. Just smelling it will encourage you to taste it and refresh your palate as soon as possible.
Its large amount of antioxidants helps prevent cell aging, combat high blood pressure, stress, and anxiety, and stabilize the level of glucose in the blood (Diabetics). This traditional Peruvian drink can be tasted in local Peruvian restaurants around the country. However, if you stay in any Peruvian Amazon city (the origin place of this fruit), you will find it on every street corner (street stalls). So, we encourage you to try it!
Grape Juice macerate. This liquor has an amusing name, but it does not differ much from others around the world. Uvachado is one of the most emblematic Peruvian drinks in the jungle region, and although many people think it is a kind of Peruvian wine, it is not. It is made from purple grapes, but the difference is that this drink has two important ingredients: our Peruvian Pisco and honey. This drink is made from a black grape produced in the jungle sector of Peru.
The seeds are removed from these grapes, and they are left to macerate for fifteen days. Then, Peruvian Pisco and honey are added to the maceration and left to rest for a couple more days. The result is a sweet, pleasant grape liqueur (which is not wine) and perfect to accompany meals with high-fat content. So now you can imagine how sweet it tastes. Its soft sweetness attracts numerous curious consumers.
The people of the Amazon attribute this sacred drink, to mystical powers since it will not only give energy to your body but also happiness and joy. And above all, it will enhance your sexual instinct and desires. A truly aphrodisiac drink for those moments of passion. In addition, It is one of the number one export products of the San Martín Region.
Traditional mixed herbs drink. The Emoliente is one of the unique Peruvian drinks that you can get to taste at any moment, in the streets (It is not necessary to enter a restaurant or a bar) There are many street stalls in form of little cars situated on corners of Historic center of many Peruvian cities. These cars have 2 giant bowls in their center where the barley mate is extracted into a glass. After, many teas belonging from many color bottles situated on one side of the car (dried horsetail, flaxseed, banana leaf, alfalfa, among others) are added to the barley base.
The preparation of the Emoliente is all a spectacle! And it is impossible not to be curious and approach one of them. Even some of them offer famous and delicious Peruvian coffee, too. On a separate note, we have to say that Emoliente is considered the best Peruvian superfood today. Even, if your stomach doesn’t feel very good during your trip, or you suffer altitude sickness symptoms, we recommend you try the Emollient and its benefits.
This Peruvian drink is a very popular infusion of many herbs tasted during winter. It is a characteristic drink of cold mornings and nights. Since it is frequently taken hot or warm. While the flavor is warm, fruity, sweet, with a somewhat gelatinous texture depending on its preparation, and excellent for health. The locals talk a lot about this drink and its beneficial health properties due to its great mix of herbs. Usually, the Peruvians drink it regularly after their different activities.
12. Inca Kola
Peruvian soda. Inca Kola is a soda soft drink with a clear, bright yellow color and a very sweet taste that resembles the taste of bubble gum. The origins of this soft drink date back to 1910 when a foreign English couple, Joseph Robinson Lindley and his wife Mrs. Martha Stoppanie, opened a small shop in Ica City, the south of Lima. There they sold homemade carbonated drinks, the drinks of higher consumption were of lemon verbena and banana flavor. Its name? Inca Kola.
It was not until 1935, with the celebration of the 400 years of the founding of Lima, and already positioned at the tables of Peruvian families, that the youngest of the children, assumed the management of the company and decided to repower the brand Inca Kola. This drink served to commemorate the event and everything that it brought with it. The drink became extremely popular and became a classic drink to accompany Peruvian food. Nowadays, you can find it in restaurants in all Peruvian cities and around the world. Therefore, Inca Kola is the national soda that accompanies all Peruvian food.
A side note, when Coca-Cola Company wanted to enter the Peruvian Market in 1999, it found a strong Peruvian trademark that remained in the first place as the national preference, and Coca-Cola began to worry. In this sense, a fierce battle was established for months in the preference of the Peruvian people. However, Coca-Cola and all its propagandistic machinery couldn’t dethrone the Inca Kola in the first place. The result? The American conglomerate had to buy the Peruvian company, with just one condition, they would have to keep the name and brand in Peru. So they did. Today the brand is owned by Coca-Cola and it still being the favorite Peruvian drink soda in all Peruvian homes.
“I DRINK TO MAKE OTHER PEOPLE MORE INTERESTING”
With that said, let your palate tasty the most delicious flavors of Peruvian drinks on this list. Together with Machu Travel Peru, we are quite sure that you will be delighted to try our great variety. If you want to know more about these drinks and the tours that include them, do not hesitate to ask our advisors. Our team can organize a wide variety of food tours to delight all your senses. We would be delighted to help you with anything you need to organize the trip of your dreams.