National Drinks You Might Find on Your Travels in South America
Every Brit knows there is nothing like a cup of tea to brighten up the day. However, you might not have access to this lovely drink everywhere you go. So what other national drinks will you try as you travel the world? There is a variety of different hot and cold beverages for you to try out and here some of the most interesting ones you might want to sip in South America.
Inca Kola – Peru
This drink is a national icon in Peru and you might even decide to buy an Inca Kola t-shirt before you go home. It bears some sort of passing resemblance to the Scottish Irn Bru, with a bright colour and an unexpectedly weird taste. Another factor it has in common with Irn Bu is that it sells more than Coca Cola and Pepsi in its home country. Peru, Scotland and India are the only three countries in the world where a national soft drink beats both of these international brands and that alone makes it worth a try.
Mate – Argentina
Mate is a herbal infusion which you will see drunk in a few different countries but Argentina is where it is most widely associated with. The preparation of it looks a bit strange, with hot water being poured over dried, crushed herbs in a small gourd. It is then drunk through a metal straw and passed round from person to person in the group. It is definitely an acquired taste but if you are going to be in Argentina for a while then it is worth giving it a try.
Guaraná – Brazil
This next one on the list is an energy drink found in Brazil. You might already be familiar with guaraná in a different form, as it has been used in chocolate bars in the UK in the past. You can buy cans and bottles of this stuff but drinking it fresh is far better. You need to look out for little snack bars which have those big drinks containers which constantly stir the contents in them. Once you see a dark, fruity looking drink in one of them ask if it is guaraná and get ready for a unique taste experience.
Coca Colla – Bolivia
The final drink of the list is one you might find a little difficult to get hold of. It is a Bolivian national soft drink which is mainly found in the city of La Paz. The clever name comes from the fact that it is made from coca leaves – as Coca Cola was once made from and which some people claim it still is – and is made by the indigenous Colla people of the region. The fact that coca leaves are used in the production of cocaine might make you wary of this drink. There is a bit of a debate about whether coca leaves in themselves can be considered a drug but here it is a considered as an incredibly useful natural remedy which does everything from fight fatigue and stave off hunger to alleviate altitude sickness.
Photo by jaywray on Flickr