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Raise a glass: South American drinks guide

Brush up on local tipples to get to know the boozy heart of South America

Published 17 Oct 2016, 16:00 BST, Updated 7 Jul 2021, 16:53 BST
South American drinks
South American drinks

Argentina: Fernet con coca
Argentina's spirit of choice is Fernet Branca, with the country drinking more than 75% of the stuff produced globally. Given its bitter, medicinal flavour it's best mixed with something sweet — the locals swear by Coca Cola.

Bolivia: Singani
Produced only in the Bolivian Andes from the Muscat of Alexandria grapevines brought over by the Jesuits hundreds of years ago, singani is yet to find global fame. The floral and aromatic liquor is often consumed neat or over ice. Adding ginger ale and lime make for an interesting twist.

Brazil: Caipirinha
Punchy and fresh, this mojito-influenced tipple is the best way to try cachacha — the otherwise overwhelming sugarcane spirit. It's an easy one to recreate at home, too: mix cachacha, sugar and lime.

Chile: Wine
Break from the cocktails with a full-bodied New World wine, which owes its heritage to the French immigrants of the 20th century. Aficionados vote for a Carmenere — you could say it's to Chile what Malbec is to Argentina.

Ecuador: Canelazo
The Ecuadorian answer to a hot toddy. Cinnamon, cloves and sugar are heated with aguaradiente, the anise-flavoured libation once said to warm those climbing the Andes. You'll now find it livening up locals in the cities.

Peru: Pisco sour
Created in Lima at the start of the 20th century, this blend of raw egg whites, sugar syrup and lime juice was created as an alternative to the whiskey sour. Enjoy with ice at the capital's legendary Morris bar.

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Published in the South America 2016 guide, distributed with the October 2016 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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