Just as Peru is a land full of delicious and diverse foods, it’s also got a staggering range of incredible Peruvian drinks influenced by the colourful traditions, rich history and local ingredients available throughout the country.
From iced frothy cocktails so important there are national holidays set aside for them to steaming hot mugs of tea designed to ease travellers’ altitude sickness, these traditional drinks are an absolute must-try the next time you’re staying in Peru.
4 Must-Try Peruvian Drinks
Arguably the most popular and well-known drink in Peru, the Pisco Sour is the country’s national drink and it’s loved so much that there’s a nation-wide holiday dedicated to it on the first Saturday in February every year. This delicious cocktail is based on the Peruvian spirit Pisco which is mixed with lime juice, simple syrup, egg whites, angostura bitters and crushed ice. The combination of sweet and sour ingredients creates a taste bud-pleasing balance, making it a total crowd-pleaser. You’ll find Pisco sours advertised in cafes, bars and restaurants all across Peru. Keep an eye out for 2-for-1 happy hour specials!
Coca Cola’s ancient glow-in-the-dark ancestor, Inca Kola is the most popular soft drink in Peru, enjoyed by locals and visitors of all ages. In fact, this fluorescent-coloured drink is so popular that it’s common to see 2 litre bottles of the stuff being enjoyed by families dining out together at restaurants. It’s super sweet (even more so than Coca Cola which, not surprisingly considering the name, manufactures it) and has a bubble gum-like flavour. Inca Kola’s origins go back to 1935, when it was created to celebrate the 400 year anniversary of the founding of Lima and today can be found in every café, bar, restaurant, supermarket and street-side kiosk.
Often seen in the hands of young locals pushing their way through the busy streets of Lima, Chicha Morada is a non-alcoholic, delightfully sweet drink. The deep purple colour comes from purple corn, a vegetable native to Peru which provides a wealth of health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease. The standout vegetable is boiled with pineapple skin, cloves, cinnamon and sugar to create this one of the most-loved Peruvian drinks enjoyed by all. You’ll find bottled Chicha Morada served in cafes, bars, restaurants and supermarkets, as well as homemade variations sold at roadside stands.
Mate de Coca
Likely one of the first drinks you’ll be handed if you ever visit Cusco, Mate de Coca is a type of hot tea famous in the Andes. Made from the herbal leaves of the coca plant, this tea was used by the indigenous Peruvian people for thousands of years to provide them with energy and today is given to travellers to prevent or treat altitude sickness. It’s got a strong, slightly bitter herbal tea taste similar to green tea and can be found in most cafes, hotels and restaurants.
For even more tasty Peruvian delights, take a look at these six must-eat Peruvian dishes.