Historically there has been much debate over whom owns Pisco. Both Chile and Peru both claim this South American Brandy as their national drink however it is still unclear as to who first started to produce Pisco. Not too often drank on its own but usually blended to weaken the taste. In Chile you will often find locals drinking Piscola, while in Peru Pisco sour the most popular way to enjoy pisco. The Chilean Pisco a little sweeter than the Peruvian Pisco so it blends nicely with cola. A Pisco sour is a made a little more difficult made with egg whites, Pisco and simple syrup and lemon juice shaken together to give a nice frothy cocktail.
One of the most important wines you will find in Argentina is Melbec Wine from Mendoza Region. You can find good quality wines all over Chile and Argentina for half the price you will pay in Europe or the US however Melbec is has a history unlike the rest of the grapes found in the wine regions. The Melbec grape supplies were depleted in France in the 20th century because of the economic downturn however in Argentina they continued to grow. Melbec is grown in the northern regions of Argentina as the grape needs a lot of sun. Mendoza is the leading producer of Melbec Wine across South America producing Melbec wine with 100% of Melbec grapes. With fresh flavours it can really complete any steak or red meat dinner. It is the choice of backpackers throughout Argentina especially with because a good Melbec can be bought from half the price of a bottle of Melbec in Europe or US.
If you like sweet and fruity wines you will enjoy this refreshing drink, a Borgoña is a sweet beverage made of red wine, sugar and chopped strawberries. Its is known as the Latin American Sangeria which is red wine is cooled red wine then mixed with a spoonful of sugar and a chopped strawberry is dropped into the wine for extra sweetness. At midnight of the 24th of December toast Christmas celebrations with some lentil soup and Borgoña to bring good luck to the following year.
Legend is that Mojitos are originally from Cuba, designed originally to kill tropical illnesses that once paraded the ships. Their popularity however has increased not just in South America but across the world since it was was first concocted. In 2014 it was the number one cocktail sold in the UK. Consisting of Rum, mint leaves, brown sugar and lime juice it's a wonderfully refreshing drink. No night on the South American dance floor is complete without sipping on a Mojito.
Terremoto (An Earthquake)
As the saying goes once you've had one Terremoto the ground will feel like it is shaking. The story goes that in 1985 German reporters visited Santiago to discuss the damage caused by the recent earthquake. After a long day, they wanted a cold drink so went into a tavern called El Hoyo. The waiter served them the Pipeño with Pisco and a dollop of pineapple ice-cream and thus born the Terremoto. It’s not for everyone tastes but we found it delicious.
Chicha Morada is made from purple corn, (morada meaning purple). This unique drink has been existed since the pre-columbian times found only in Peru. Usually served as a punch it consists of purple corn or maiz and spices like cloves, canela. Apples, lemons and limes are added for extra flavor. Most restaurants across Peru serve non alcoholic Chica Morada however it can be served with a drop of Pisco. Its made by Peruvians everywhere as a punch when hosting parties. Every backpacker should try this at least once but be warned it didn’t excite our taste buds.
Maracuya is a refreshing drink consisting of blended passion fruit (as the name is Spanish suggests., simple syrup and lime juice. It’s a popular non alcoholic beverage served in most juice bars across Peru. Add ice and a slice of lime to complete your juice or milk /yougurt to make a mouth-watering smoothie.