1. Chicha-The Oldest Latin American Drink
If you ever travel to Latin America, you need to taste Chicha. Chicha is a popular beverage in all Latin America nations. It has traditionally been prepared by Latin American regional and indigenous communities. Due to the advent of modernization though, the number of consumers has decreased considerably.
You probably know that alcohol can be produced by fermenting anything that contains sugar or carbohydrates. In other words, any plant or fruit can be converted into alcohol. Well, this is how Chicha was invented. In Peru, for example, Chicha was originally enjoyed by the Inca civilization. Incas used to ferment a maze-based solution in order to make it. But Chicha, of course, is not a Peruvian creation. According to their own traditions, each Latin American country uses a different ingredient: Chileans use apple, Peruvians use corn, Colombians use Yuca, Venezuelans use rice, etc.
2. Guaraná-It Cures Everything
The Guaranís are an indigenous tribe that populates various South American regions. When Europeans first came to Brazil, guaranís offered them a plant beverage. Europeans instantly loved it and named it Guaraná.
Guaraná is made from the plant Paullinia cupana. Its berries carry some black seeds, which are roasted, grounded and fermented. Since it contains a high dose of caffeine, Guaraná was used as a tonic and stimulating beverage. Guaranís believed it can cure almost anything, from constipation to rheumatism. Even though its use has diminished, guaraná-flavored drinks are very popular in Brazil.
3. The Rompecalzon
Ok. Are you having a special night with your partner? Well, here is a drink that will make you stay up all night in intense activity.
The Amazon Peruvians claim that El Rompecalzon, also known as RC, stimulates your nervous system and eradicates sexual impotence. There is a common joke in Peru that says that Amazonian people are the most sexually active in the whole country. The RC, an extract of various jungle barks, is their favorite aphrodisiac.
4. Forget Lumosity, Drink Marañon Juice
In this decade, some services promise to improve your cognitive ability. But its results can not be scientifically proven. Forget about that. Instead of loading those apps in your iPhone, you should visit El Salvador and drink Marañon Juice.
Marañon is a fruit whose shape and color assimilates that of a red pepper. It has a peculiar acid and sweet taste, but it is utilized by Salvadoreans to make a wonderful juice. According to Salvadorean culture, Marañon juice is “The Juice of Memory”, because “it speeds up your brain activity“. This wonderful drink also has a high amount of vitamin C and energy.
5. Mamajuana in the Dominican Republic
In the Dominican Republic, they don’t have Rompecalzon. Instead, a popular tonic known as Mamajuana is consumed in sexually unhappy households (hard to find them, since Dominicans are the most successful Latin lovers). Mamajuana is widely known as the “Dominican’s Viagra”.
The Mamajuana was a traditional drink of the Tainos (Caribbean indigenous tribes), but centuries later Dominicans added alcohol to it. The preparation consists in soaking tree barks and herbs in a container filled with rum and honey. During the 1960’s Mamajuana became so popular, that Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo imprisoned whoever sold it without a medical license.
6. A Delicious Mexican Worm Drink
In Mexico, there is a variation of Tequila called Mezcal. Mezcal uses a different kind of Agave plant and is produced by other distillation methods. Mezcal is almost as delicious as Tequila. But what about adding a worm? I’m not kidding. In Mexico, most brands of Mezcal include a worm. Unfortunately, every bottle only has one worm so the drinkers have to bet who gets to eat it.
All irony aside, the Mezcal worm is a pest and usually infests some agave crops. But one day, Mezcal producer Jacobo Lozano found one of them in his crops. It occurred to him that the worm could increase the flavor of his product. He then began advertising this nonsense. Later, he had the idea of inserting one Mezcal worm in every bottle. The Mexican consumers loved it and Lozano’s Mezcal turned into a hit. Sometimes the craziest idea can become a gold mine.
7. The Cauim of Brazil
If you are all about embracing other cultures and tasting exotic food, you should visit the Tapirapé tribe. The Brazilian Indigenous people have rejected modernity and kept their customs. They live deep into the Amazon rain-forest and still believe in spirits, patriarchate, and also, in abortion.
Their representative drink is the Cauim, which is an alcoholic beverage made of cassava root. The Tapirapé women cook the cassava root, chew it and spit it into a pot. The saliva converts the cassava’s starch into sugar. This concoction is later fermented for many days. The Cauim tastes like sour milk, but it is enjoyed by the Tapirapé in their celebrations. Partying is something they do well, since they dance, whistle and scream for three full days. Later, they force themselves to vomit to keep on drinking. Beautiful.
8. The Crazy Coconuts of Colombia
We love Colombia. Colombians have far too many traditional drinks, but to be unfair we just had to choose one (choosing is hell, they say). In the Caribbean coast of Colombia, people invented an amazing cocktail called ” Coco loco“.
Literally translated as “the Crazy Coconut”, this delicious drink is made of rum, vodka, tequila, lime juice, coconut cream, coconut water and ice cubes. Of course, there are variations of the recipe and, in the wonderful city of Cartagena, Colombians enjoy it in the summertime.
9. Carato de Mango in Venezuela
Carato is a Venezuelan variation of the Spanish word “juice”. According to the “Dictionary of Venezuelan Cuisine,” Carato is a refreshing beverage made of corn flour, or rice, or any given fruit. There are dozens of variation of Carato, but for now we will mention our favorite: the Carato de Mango.
Beware; this is not a fast and easy recipe. Venezuelans add mango, water, sugar, lemon juice, salt, and lemon peel into a pot and boil them for three hours. Later, they need to slice the mango pulp, mix it in the blender and pour it back into the original concoction. After that, the Carato needs to be cooled and enjoyed. Believe me; all the hard work pays off.
10. La Canchánchara of Cuba
La Canchánchara de Cuba is a Cuban cocktail with a long tradition. During Cuban’s War of Independence against the Spanish crown, the Cuban soldiers, commonly known as mambises, endured lots of hardship.
Legend says they were so malnourished that they could not even put up with the freezing cold at night. To counteract it, the soldiers invented this strong alcoholic drink that warmed their bodies (and spirits). The Canchánchara is prepared by mixing brandy, lemon juice, honey and ice. This cocktail is mainly popular in the city of Trinidad, Cuba.