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You may already know, Chile produces excellent wines, especially red wines, with a growing reputation every year.
Beyond wines, you’ll find an amazing array of local Chilean drinks.
Our quest for authentic food in Chile took us across the entire country. From the Pacific Ocean to the Atacama desert, we explored the local Chilean food and popular drinks in Chile.
In this article, we put a spotlight on 6 unique Chile drinks you must try for a local experience.
Are you ready to drink like a Chilean? Let’s go!
1. Mote con Huesillo – Traditional Chilean Non-Alcoholic Drink
One of the most typical Chile drinks you will find throughout the country is Mote con Huesillo. This drink has a long history dating back to the colonial time period, and the tradition continues today.
Drinking mote con huesillo is a popular way to quench your thirst during the hot summer months.
Mote con Huesillo, roughly translates to peaches with wheat. This drink is made from husked wheat (mote) and dried peaches (huesillo) soaked with sugar water and cinnamon to make a sweet, non-alcoholic drink.
This is one of the most popular traditional non-alcoholic drinks in Chile.
This is one of the Chile drinks you can find everywhere from restaurants, parks, street fairs or sold by street vendors.
This beverage is so popular, that there’s even a saying for it, “Más chileno que el mote con huesillo,” which translates to mean “More Chilean than a mote con huesillo.”
This refers to the distinctive national pride of this famous traditional Chilean drink.
We first tried this drink at a local fair in the South of Chile, and again on the streets of San Pedro de Atacama.
We found it refreshing, though a bit odd with the softened wheat. The sweetened syrupy juice from the dried peaches gave it a delicious flavor that we both enjoyed.
The best part about mote con huesillo is that it is a drink that you can eat as well.
2. Carmenère – The Emblematic Chilean Red Wine
Carmenère is the emblematic red wine of Chile, much like Malbec is to Argentina. The Carmenere vines were imported into Chile from Bordeaux in France.
In 1867, after the Phylloxera plague wiped out most of the vineyards of Europe the Carmenère was considered extinct.
It was only rediscovered in Chile in the mid-1990s after being mistaken for Merlot.
We first tried Carmenere in the wine regions of Maule Valley and Maipo Valley. Maule Valley is where Chile’s first vines were planted in the16th Century.
Read more about our visits to the vineyard and wineries of Maule Valley.
Maipo Valley, located in the Central Valley is where many of Chile’s top red wines come from.
Deep in color, this red wine is soft and rounded. It has floral aromas as well as berry flavors with hints of smoky tobacco.
Carmenère is one of the most delicious Chilean drinks that you should not miss!
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: (covid time): Looking to taste Carmenere and the Chilean red wines? Check the unique selection of Chilean wines at Liquorama including Cousino Macul, Concha y Toro and more.
3. Borgoña Drink – Popular Chilean Punch
Borgoña is a popular punch prepared with red wine and ripe strawberries. It comes from the Central Valley, Chile’s most productive and internationally renowned wine region.
The Borgoña drink is typically prepared with Carmenère, the iconic Chilean red wine. Strawberries are mixed with the wine and strawberry pieces are added to infuse into the newly made punch.
Sugar is sometimes added depending on taste preferences.
You will find Borgoña at street fairs, restaurants or bars in Chile. This is a refreshing drink that resembles the sangria for the sweetness, though the taste is much more on the berry side.
Be warned, Borgoña is very easy to drink and the portion servings are large. With the mix of sugar and wine, you’ll find yourself tipsy quickly.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: Take a Valparaiso bites and bars tours with Urban Adventures. During a fun evening in bohemian Valparaiso, taste the local culture and discover the famous drinks in Chile.
4- Chicha – Traditional Independence Day Drink
Chicha is a sweet wine typically made from fermented grapes or apples. It is one of the most traditional Chilean drinks consumed on Chile’s National Day also referred as fiestas patrias.
This holiday is celebrated on September 18th and marks the beginning of independence from Spain. On this day, Chile’s President will make a toast with Chicha during the military parade. It is not common to find this Chilean drink outside of this period, and you may need to search for it.
We had the chance to try Chicha made with grapes at Boragó restaurant in Santiago, ranked as the top restaurant in Chile in 2017.
Our visit to Boragó was to explore local Chilean cuisine with chef Rodolfo Guzmán.
We tried Chicha after a couple glasses of wine and we found it very easy to drink. Maybe our taste buds were already tainted. While sweet, not as sweet as a dessert wine.
This is one of the drinks in Chile we would not mind trying again. One of the best parts about the experience was drinking it out of the traditional horn called cacho de chicha.
Don’t miss this typical drink of Chile on your travels to Santiago.
5. Terremoto Drink – One of the Most Unique Chile Drinks
Another one of the unique and local Chile drinks is Terremoto. It is not found everywhere but should be on your list to try when you visit Chile.
Terremoto literally means “Earthquake” since you are left with the ground and legs feeling very shaky. The terremoto drink consists of pineapple ice-cream, mixed with a sweet, fermented white wine called Pipeño and grenadine.
The story behind this famous Chilean drink is interesting. Legend has it that a few days after the earthquake of 1985, a group of German reporters came to Santiago to report on the damages caused by the earthquake.
The group ordered pipeño wine and found it almost undrinkable. They asked the waiter to sweeten it and he added pineapple ice-cream. When they tried it, they supposedly said Esto sí que es un Terremoto (This truly is an earthquake) due to how strong it was and the name stuck ever since.
We tried this drink in the unique Atacama Desert in northern Chile on a hot sunny afternoon. Having spent the day discovering the incredible landscape of Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley), we were in need of something refreshing.
When the drink was served, we were surprised to see it clearly broken up into levels. The grenadine mixture at the bottom and the pineapple ice-cream floating on top.
After stirring it and mixing it together, we took the first couple of sips. Despite being strong and sugary, it was surprisingly quite refreshing. I enjoyed this drink much more than Claire.
However, I was careful to keep drinking water in between sips.
The Germans were not far from the truth. Terremoto is strong and can leave you shaking at the knees!
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: Experience Santiago nightlife with Urban Adventures. Discover Santiago’s bars and culture with a local guide, enjoying Terremoto and other Chilean drinks and foods.
6. Pisco Sour – Chilean National Drink and Cocktails
Pisco Sour is the famous cocktail also known as Chile’s National Spirit. Peru has its own version of Pisco Sour also considered the national beverage.
Although Chile and Peru dispute the origins of Pisco Sour, the way each country makes it is quite different and worth exploring.
In Chile, Pisco Sour is made from Chilean Pisco brandy, lemon juice from Pica, sugar, and ice. In the Peruvian Pisco Sour, egg whites, bitter drops, and more sugar is usually added.
There are also significant differences in the way the Pisco brandy is made. In Chile, the Pisco brandy is aged in oak barrels which is not the case for Peruvian Pisco.
You will find Pisco Sour served at restaurants and bars across the country. Tastewise, we found Chilean Pisco Sours to be smooth and easy to drink.
This typical drink in Chile is great to enjoy prior to dinner. Be sure not to miss it on your travels to Chile.
AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: You can sip on Chile without traveling to the country. This easy to make at home Chilean Pisco Sour recipe will introduce you to the national drink of Chile. Grab the recipe Chilean Pisco Sour – How to Make it Home.
Chilean drinks are as unique and diverse as the food you’ll find throughout the country. Some of the typical drinks in Chile you’ll see everywhere, while others you may need to dig for.
By seeking out these 6 famous Chile drinks, you will elevate your experience from being a tourist to being a local. Immerse yourself in the local Chilean food and drinks culture.
However, if you are going to try all of these Chile drinks, you’ll need some Chilean food to keep you going.
Be sure to check out our article about the 10 popular Chilean dishes worth trying.
Eat and drink like a local in Chile and savor your local and authentic food experiences.
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Rosemary, ex-marketing and advertising strategist, is a digital nomad and content creator at Authentic Food Quest. Since 2015, with her partner, Claire, they travel the world in search of the best local food experiences. Their mission is to help you enjoy the best local specialties on your travels or via recipes in your home kitchen. Favorite country for food: Peru. Favorite local dish: Bacalhau. Favorite way to keep fit: Running. Rosemary is the chief content writer and strategist on Authentic Food Quest. She is also co-author of Authentic Food Quest Argentina and Authentic Food Quest Peru, available on Amazon.