Holiday time is of course all about relaxing, and for many that goes hand in hand with a drop or two of their favorite tipple. So to help ease you into the vacation mindset this week we have come up with our guide to the best of the local beverages you will encounter on your travels around South America, or indeed for those who enthusiastically brought a bottle or two of the local firewater home from your last trip only to see it languish in the back of your drinks’ cabinet, may it serve as the inspiration to finally crack it open. Globally minded as we are at Dehouche we are firm believers in the life philosophy that somewhere in the world it’s always Happy Hour, so wherever you are, relax into your deck chair and sip on one of the below.
The symbol of Peruvian pride and nationality, Pisco is so much more than just a drink. Made from fermented grapes, Pisco enters the bottle directly after being distilled meaning that it never gets diluted. Just as there are rules surrounding what can be called champagne, the Peruvian have ensured there are also strict guidelines as to what can be bottled under the Pisco name. If you were to drink Pisco on it’s own it’s unlikely you’d make it to dinner let alone see the night through but luckily the Peruvians have conjured up a little bit of magic, namely the world-famous Pisco Sour. Shake your pisco on ice with lime juice, sugar, egg whites and finish with a dash of Angostura bitters for one of the continent’s most dangerously quaffable cocktails.
This is one for those of us whose favourite part about Christmas isn’t the food, the music or presents but instead the thought of a warming glass of mulled wine to savour on those cold nights. The Ecuadorian highlands are chilly at the best of times and so the need for a drink that can warm your cockles is high up on the list. As with all the best recipes the ingredients are fairly simple but when mixed together they become something very special; cinnamon sticks, cloves, brown sugar and fruit juice are added to ‘aguardiente’ (the local sugar cane rum) and then heated resulting in the steaming cup of Christmassy heaven that will keep you warm on cold Andean nights.
Some might say that Brazil’s second most famous export after football is cachaça; both can produce roaring passion in their fans and at times bitter disappointment as well, but although football fanatics may be crying into their pillows the next day over a big loss at least they won’t have the headache to accompany it as would someone who had been a champion of cachaça the night before! The best way to consume your favourite cachaça is with lots of lime, ice and sugar in the form of a caipirinha and whilst we can’t guarantee it will save you from the hangover the next day it will make it a much more enjoyable way to achieve it!
All South American countries have their own version of “aguaardiente”, but we feel it’s in the interior of Colombia that this (literal) fire water achieves its apogee. If you’re a true Colimbian cowboy the only way to drink it is straight from a shot glass. Somewhat similar in taste to the Greek holiday favourite, Ouzo, due to its Anise flavouring ,Aguardiente can contain up to 60% alcohol so the barman who seemed to be your best friend last night may be having the last laugh come the following morning.
The most famous alcoholic beverage to come out of Argentina may be their fabulous Malbec red wines but hit the nightlife of any city and the reality is quite different. For it’s not deep ruby reds that many Argentines are ordering when out at their favourite bars but in fact a foamy dark brown substance that goes by the name of Fernet. An age old Italian liqueur made from a closely guarded secret recipe containing 27 different herbs and spices, don’t fall for the Argentine’s illustrious praises though, the reality is neat Fernet Branca tastes like an unhappy marriage of Jagermeister and soap. Originally brought over with the wave of Italian immigration at the end of the 19th century, it boomed in popularity in the 1980s when it was drunk by students boycotting British whiskey during the Falkland’s war and from that period to the present day it is still most commonly drunk mixed with Coca Cola. On your first shuddery sip you will almost certainly feel a renewed respect for the extent of the patriotism of those first pioneering students but, trust us, soldier on through a whole glass and you can’t deny a certain bizarre allure that has you coming back for more!