The Top Ten Latin American Cocktails

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During a gloomy stage in my life, my best friend gave me a great advice. He said: Pedro, all your problems can only be solved with a cocktail on the rocks and a comfortable couch. First fact, I thought my friend was joking. Second fact, I had a cocktail hours later. Third Fact, I realized my friend was a genius.

There is nothing as comforting as a cocktail on the rocks. A cocktail that helps you trespass the filter of perception and transport you into a zone. Which zone? The magical state of mind where you discover that suffering only resides in perception. People are not tormented by their troubles, but only by the opinion they have of them. And what a great way to discover it by enjoying a cocktail? Craving for a cocktail? You probably tried a cocktail and not known it was Latin American.  We should then take notice of Ernest Hemingway’s dictum: “If you want to learn about a culture, spend a night in its bars.” Just to set the record clear, I present to you the ten most amazing Latin American cocktails:

1. Pisco Sour: Peru

Pisco sour is the most popular cocktail in Peru. But it was originally invented by an American bartender working in Lima in the 1920’s. Pisco is a colorless brandy usually produced in both Peru and Chile. It became well known by Americans, especially to Californians, and was enjoyed by great artists such as Ernest Hemingway and Orson Welles.

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Image Source:  Los Bombones

Ingredients

1 egg white

2 1/2 ounces Pisco

1/2 ounce simple syrup

3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice

2. Cuba Libre: Cuba

Cuba Libre was invented casually during the Spanish-American War, around 1901. The American troops were battling against the Spaniards for control of Cuban soil. One day, American Captain Russell and his troops stepped into a bar. Russell was thirsty and ordered a glass of rum and a wedge of lime. Moments later he ordered a coke with ice. It suddenly occurred to him to pour all the liquids into one glass. The drink was so tasty that Russell ordered a round for his soldiers. They raised their glasses and toasted: “Por Cuba Libre! (For a free Cuba!). After that, Cuba Libre became an instant hit in Cuba and all over the world.

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Image Source: Liquor

Ingredients

juice of 1/2 lime

2 ounces light rum

4 ounces cola

3. Caipirinha: Brazil

If Peruvians produce Pisco, Brazilians have Cachaca, which is a liquor made of sugar cane. Cachaca is the liquor base to prepare the signature cocktail of Brazil: Caipirinha. In 1918, Caipirinha was first used as a medicine for the Spanish flu, in the city of Sao Paolo. It was a rustic home remedy, since the word Caipirinha comes from the portuguese Caipira (hillbilly). It originally had garlic and honey, until those ingredients were eventually removed. Caipirinha then became the Brazilian cocktail per excellence. Due to globalization the cocktail gained a world-wide audience.

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Image Source: Gastrocamino

Ingredients

1 lime

2 ounces of cachaça

sugar to taste

ice cubes

4. Piña Colada: Puerto Rico

History is the analysis of differing narratives in order to find the truth. Professional historians should search into the origins of Piña Colada. There are more than five different versions, between bartenders and restaurants, who claimed having invented it. Most Puerto Ricans believe the cocktail was invented by Ramon Marrero Perez “Monchito”. Monchito was a bartender working in the Caribe Hilton, a luxury hotel in the city of San Juan. The bar had recently acquired the “Cream of Coconut” and Monchito experimented with it. He mixed the coconut cream with rum and sliced pineapple. The famous lodgers at the hotel went insane for the cocktail and spread its fame. Puerto Rico even has a National Piña Colada day, on July 10.

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Image Source: Wikimedia

Ingredients

3 ounces light rum

3 tablespoons coconut cream

3 tablespoons crushed pineapple

5. Mojito: Cuba

When the famous English pirate Francis Drake sailed on Havana, in 1586, his crewmen were suffering from scurvy. The Cuban natives offered them a medicine made of mint, lemon, sugar cane juice and rum. The indigenous concoction healed them completely. Centuries later, the cocktail was enjoyed all around Cuba. It also became a favorite of the writer Ernest Hemingway during his stay in Cuba. The term Mojito comes from the spanish word “mojadito” (little wet).

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Image Source: Thebar

 Ingredients

1 1/2 oz White rum

6 leaves of Mint

Soda Water

1 oz Fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons Sugar

6. Canelazo: Ecuador

The Canelazo is the traditional cocktail of Ecuador, but also of Colombia. It contains sugar cane alcohol, sugar and cinnamon. Others prefer to add orange or lemon juice to make it tastier. Canelazo is usually served hot, like a tea, and Ecuadorians enjoy it during Christmas Day. The reason why Canelazo is served hot is because its first consumers (the Andean people) lived in cold weather. They usually celebrated their outdoor festivities at night and drank the Canelazo to stay warm.

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Image Source: El Gran Chef

Ingredients

6 cups of water

8 cinnamon sticks

1 cup of sugar or grated panela

Aguardiente to taste

7. Michelada: Mexico

Mexicans are passionate about chile (hot peppers) and spicy food. And what better way to prove it by making a spicy cocktail? The peculiarity of Michelada is that is a spicy beer. Similar to the Bloody Mary, Mexicans believe that Michelada is effective in curing hangovers. The name Michelada comes from the phrase “Mi chela helada“, meaning, “my cold beer.” This is the only Latin cocktail that will leave you craving for a glass of ice water afterwards.

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Image Source: Menuchapalita

Ingredients

1 Tbs Lime juice

dash of Teriyaki sauce

dash of Worcestershire sauce

dash of Hot sauce

4 oz Tomato juice

4 oz Beer

8. Margarita: Mexican American

The queen of all cocktails have a mixed background, Mexican and American. Some people affirm that Margarita was created in Mexico; others say it had a Texan origin. Lots of people claimed to have created Margarita, but no version has been proved. This is the only cocktail in the world that has almost a dozen of “creation myths”. Nowadays, there are different versions of Margaritas, prepared with all sorts of fruits: mango, peach, strawberry, raspberry, banana or melon. Which one would you choose?

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Image Source: Healthyrecipe

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces tequila

1/2 ounce triple sec (orange flavored liqueur)

1 ounce lime juice

coarse salt

9. Daiquiri: Cuba

Daiquiri is the name of an iron mine near Santiago de Cuba. The legend says that American mining engineer Jennings Cox invented the drink. When asked for the name of his cocktail, Cox thought about the iron mine: Daiquiri. American businessmen introduced the cocktail to New York bars. Over time, Daiquiri was assimilated by the American public. It was the favorite cocktail of President John F. Kennedy. In my opinion, the frozen strawberry daiquiri is the most delicious.

Strawberry-Daiquiri-Cocktail
Image Source: Foodblogger

Ingredients

 1 1/2 oz White rum

1/2 oz Simple syrup

1 oz Lime juice

10. Jote: Chile

Jote is the name of a vulture breed that inhabits the Chilean Andes. The Jote vulture is coated by black feathers, and a red head. Red and black; these colors came to the mind of the Chilean who invented the Jote, which is the traditional cocktail of Chile, made of Coke soda and red wine.

 DSC_00222Image Source: Keepitsimple

Ingredients

One part Red wine

One part Coke