Travel tips LAdrinkshero

Published on April 9th, 2014 | by Tayla Gentle

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9 UNMISSABLE LATIN AMERICAN DRINKS

Cuban bar scene | Photo courtesy of Willy Verhulst, Flickr

Getting drink, drank, drunk will likely become a part of most people’s travel itinerary, whether intentional or not. And whilst we aren’t endorsing excessive tippling (we’d get in trouble if we did) we do believe a tour of Central or South America is never quite complete without sampling the local beverages.

Luckily, we’ve got you sorted. Put away your guidebooks and head to the local bar, it’s time to get loose enough to attempt the samba.

1. Caipirinha

Half of this photo is caipirinha, the other half is table | Photo courtesy of Ricardo Bernardo, Flickr

Half of this photo is caipirinha, the other half is table | Photo courtesy of Ricardo Bernardo, Flickr

The Brazilian cocktail no traveller can pronounce (it’s ky/pee/REE/nyah) but every traveller can throw back. A dangerously delicious mix of lemon, cachaca and sugar, your Portuguese is only going to get better after a few of these ones, trust us. So go on, sidle up to that sexy barkeep and show off your new-found bilingualism.

2. Piscola

We have no idea who this dude is or why he's wearing that tie, but we're pretty sure he's drinking a piscola | Photo courtesy of JF10, Flickr

We have no idea who this dude is or why he’s wearing that tie, but we’re pretty sure he’s drinking a piscola | Photo courtesy of JF10, Flickr

This is like the Chilean teenager’s Bacardi Breezer. It’s cheap and a little nasty, but it’s super sweet and it will probably buy you McDonald’s pancakes in the morning. Piscola involves mixing pisco – a fermented grape brandy popular in Chile and Peru – with, you guessed it, coca cola.

3. Mezcal

Mezcal: approach with caution | Photo courtesy of Carlos Van Vegas, Flickr

Mezcal: approach with caution | Photo courtesy of Carlos Van Vegas, Flickr

Ay carumba! This stuff can be rough. Hailing from Mexico, mezcal is primarily appreciated by the local men who enjoy sipping it from shot glasses over a deck of cards. It’ll make your throat burn and your eyes water, but it will also make your everyday tequila go down super smooth.

4. Cuba Libre

The collective noun for Cuba Libre is a 'catastrophe'. Here, a barman prepares a 'catastrophe' for his customers | Photo courtesy of Guillaume Baviere, Flickr

The collective noun for Cuba Libre is a ‘catastrophe’. Here, a barman prepares a ‘catastrophe’ for his customers | Photo courtesy of Guillaume Baviere, Flickr

Okay, so this one is deceptive. Firstly, it’s not from Cuba and secondly, it’s only a rum and coke with some lime thrown in. But when you’re leaning over a makeshift bar on a deserted beach in Guatemala, it will make you feel like an island pirate with an unquenchable thirst.

5. Mojito

Delicious, nutritious, non-ficticious | Photo courtesy of emdot, Flickr

Delicious, nutritious, non-ficticious | Photo courtesy of emdot, Flickr

One time I heard an English girl pronounce the ‘j’ and it made me laugh really, really hard. Does that make me a bad person? Maybe. Maybe I’d just had one too many mojitos myself. Sure, it’s a popular cocktail around the world but it’s a popular cocktail for a reason. So much mint, so much sugar, so much love.

6. Horchata

These kids don't have booze in their horchata, but that doesn't mean you can't (unless you are also a kid)  | Photo courtesy of David Amsler, Flickr

Okay, technically this one is non-alcoholic, but it doesn’t always have to be that way (wink). Originating in Honduras, varieties of horchata can be found all over Latin America, with flavours varying depending on the country. What each and every horchata has in common is that it tastes like Christmas – milky, with a touch of cinnamon. And it certainly gets you jolly.

7. Aguardiente

The enabler | Photo courtesy of Matias Jaramillo, Flickr

The enabler | Photo courtesy of Matias Jaramillo, Flickr

You’re in Colombia and you’re ready for a big night. So you down a shot of aguardiente, the local anise-flavored firewater. Now you’re super ready for a big night. In fact, you were born ready.

8. Margarita

Mellow yellow (unless you have too many) | Photo courtesy of Scott Feldstein, Flickr

Mellow yellow (unless you have too many) | Photo courtesy of Scott Feldstein, Flickr

We’re not talking about the fish bowl kind you get from Taco Bill, we’re talking about the classy kind with the salt around the rim. This cocktail is so good songs have been sung about it and unfortunate children are named after it. Imagine if a Margarita drank a margarita while singing ‘Margaritaville’ at karaoke. Mind blown, I need a drink.

9. Daiquiri

Daiquiri den | Photo courtesy of Steve Snodgrass, Flickr

Daiquiri den | Photo courtesy of Steve Snodgrass, Flickr

I always thought a daiquiri was an alcoholic slushy. It’s not, that’s just us Westerner’s screwing with the system again and inventing the ‘frozen’ daiquiri. Hailing from Cuba, this cocktail is traditionally rum, citrus with a splash of sweetener.

Hopefully, we’ve now managed to get you suitably tipsy, on your feet and at least attempting to swing your hips like they don’t lie. Salud!

 

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About the Author

A sucker for air fare sales to Asia and a good story, I've eaten my body weight in Philippine chicken, trekked the highlands of Myanmar and practiced with a very legit yogi in India. He could stand on his head for three hours. I once got lost in a rainforest in El Salvador and found myself eating burritos with a corn farmer. To me, travel means bantering with tuk tuk/moto/jeepeney drivers, mosquito bites and coconuts. But never socks and sandals, not when travelling, not ever.



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