10 Authentic Peruvian Drinks You Will Absolutely Love

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Peru’s food culture is undoubtedly what most know about the country. Peruvian drinks, while not as well known, also deserve the culinary spotlight.

Beyond the Pisco Sour, there is a range of alcoholic and non alcoholic Peruvian beverages that are delightfully fascinating.

The drinks in Peru reflect local customs, history and unique ingredients. From beverages consumed during the ancient Inca Empire, to craft beers, savor the symbols of Peruvian culture.

Use this spotlight of 10 unique Peruvian drinks to guide your drink choices as you savor local Peruvian culture.

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1- Peruvian Pisco Sour – The National Drink of Peru

Pisco Sour Lima by Authentic Food Quest for Peruvian Pisco Sour Recipe
Pisco sour in Lima

The Pisco Sour is considered the national drink of Peru and it even has its own National Holiday. National Pisco Sour Day is celebrated on the first Saturday in February.

Pisco Sour is made of Peruvian Pisco as the base liquor with lime juice, syrup, ice, egg white, and Angostura bitters. 

The Pisco Sour is a refreshing and tasty Peruvian drink. It can be deceptively strong though the citrus flavors make it very easy to drink. 

This is one of the drinks of Peru you absolutely cannot miss.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE:  If you can’t travel to Peru, you can still enjoy this tasty national drink at home. Learn how to make Pisco Sour using this simple recipe

2- Chilcano –  A Pisco Cocktail

Peruvian Drinks by Authentic Food Quest
Chilcanos, the other popular Peruvian Pisco based cocktail

The first time we heard about this popular drink in Peru was from our friend, gastronomy critic Cecilia Portella Morote

Like the Pisco Sour, the Chilcano also uses Pisco as the base liquor, but it is not as strong. 

The classic Chilcano is made of Pisco brand with lime juice, ginger ale, ice and Angostura bitters. 

Other variations are made with the juices of exotic fruit from the Amazon like maracuya or lucuma. 

While the Chilcano may not be as popular as the Pisco Sour, it is a refreshing drink and slightly lighter alternative.

Peruvian drinks chilcanos festival
The Chilcanos Festival in Lima, Peru

We happened to be in Lima in January when the Chilcano Festival was taking place. 

The Chilcano Festival, also known as Semana del Chilcano, takes place in mid-January for 11 consecutive days throughout Peru.

If you happen to catch the Chilcano festival, you will be able to enjoy (in moderation) the many 2 for 1 Chilcano specials.

READ MORE: 10 Strange Amazonian Fruits From Peru That Will Surprise You

3- Chicha Morada – Purple Corn Drink

Chicha Morada Purple Corn Drink by Authentic Food Quest for Peruvian Drinks
Tasty, deep purple Chicha Morada Peruvian drink

Chicha Morada is another traditional Peruvian drink made from purple corn. Purple corn or Maiz Morada, in Spanish, is one of the unique corn varieties native to Peru.

This corn variety has a long history and is said to date back prior to the creation of the Inca Empire. 

Besides the unique color, Purple corn has many health benefits such as fighting diabetes, obesity, cancer and more. 

This Peruvian drink is non alcoholic and is made by boiling purple corn with pineapple skin, cinnamon, cloves, and sugar. 

This was one of our favorite traditional Peruvian drinks. We always enjoyed having it with our meals. Sweet and deliciously refreshing, the hint of cinnamon adds a bright spark to the tongue. 

With its intriguing deep purple color, we could not resist all the goodness contained up in this unique drink in Peru.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE: Check out this Peruvian dessert made with purple corn Easy Way to Make Mazamorra Morada Recipe

4- Chicha de Jora – Fermented Corn Beer

Peruvian drinks Chicha de Jora by Authentic Food Quest
Chicha de Jora

Chicha de jora is a traditional and famous drink from the Andes. It was consumed during the Inca Empire times especially at religious or ritualistic festivals.

This Peruvian drink is a type of beer made from Jora corn, a type of yellow corn from the Andes. The process to make Chicha de Jora is similar to the production of regular beer. 

We discovered this fermented corn beer while visiting Chinchero market, a small Andean village in the Sacred Valley. While having lunch, we were invited to have a Chicha de Jora to accompany our meal. 

It was served a large glass that we could barely hold with one hand. On the top was a thick layer of foam, like beer foam.

Traditionally, the first portion of the drink is spilled on the ground as an offering to Earth Mother.  

Earth Mother is known as Pachamama in  the Quechua language and the saying is “Pachamama, santa tierra.” 

This chicha de jora corn beer is quite an interesting experience. The taste starts out slightly sweet and finishes with a strong sour taste similar to a bitter apple cider. 

We could barely finish drinking it. While not our favorite drink in Peru, it is a traditional speciality you should not miss on your Peruvian travels.

RELATED: 7 Authentic Peruvian Street Food You Want To Have 

5- Chicha de Frutilla – Blend of Corn Beer & Strawberries

Claire drinking chicha de frutilla by Authentic Food Quest
Claire drinking frutillada

Chicha de frutilla also known as Frutillada is a sweeter version of the Chicha de Jora. This traditional Peruvian drink is made with strawberries (frutilla) and sugar blended into the Chicha de Jora. 

The color is an unexpected pink and it has a much sweeter taste than the Chicha de Jora. The strawberries cover the bitter taste which makes it more palatable than the corn beer.

We first had Frutillada in Cusco, at a traditional Picanteria, which are local restaurants serving meat and traditional foods. 

Similar to the market experience, the chicha de frutilla was served an enormous glass that requires both hands to hold.

Even though it took effort to finish the glass, it was the perfect accompaniment for chiriuchu, a Cusco local specialty.

READ MORE: Cusco Specialties – 4 Dishes Not to be Missed

6- Inca Kola – Peru’s Golden Cola

Rosemary drinking Inca Kola by Authentic Food Quest
Rosemary drinking Inca Kola

In countries like the U.S. it’s either Coca Cola or Pepsi. In Peru, there’s only one soft drink of choice – Inca Kola. 

Inca Kola is a yellow fluorescent colored soda that is super sweet and tastes like bubblegum. 

The origins of Inca Kola go back to 1910 where a young English couple José Robinson Lindley and his wife Martha opened a small shop in Lima, where they sold homemade carbonated beverages. 

In 1935 Lima was celebrating 400 year since its founding and the Lindleys decided to produce a unique drink to commemorate the event and their new homeland. Marketed as the “Pride of Peru” you’ll see this drink everywhere. 

Extremely popular throughout the country, this is prefered drink to complement Peruvian cuisine.  

Today, the Inca Kola Trademark is owned by Coca-Cola. You can find Inca Kola at Peruvian restaurants in the U.S. or at international sections of grocery stores. 

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: To experience this non-alcoholic drink, you can purchase Inca Kola from Amazon and have it delivered right to your door.

7- Mate de Coca – Coca Tea

Popular drink in Peru mate de coca by Authentic Food Quest
Homemade mate de coca

Famous in the Andes region, this traditional Peruvian drink is actually coca tea. It is an herbal tea made from the leaves of a coca plant.  

Mate de Coca is very popular and used to treat altitude sickness. We first had Mate de Coca in Cusco to help us adapt to the high altitude which is 3,400 meters (11,200 feet) above sea level. 

This tea is however controversial. According to science, the leaves from the coca plant contain alkaloids, which when extracted chemically are the source for cocaine base. 

Though the amount in the coca alkaloids in the leaves is small, one cup of coca tea can cause a positive result on a drug test for cocaine.

Needless to say coca tea is illegal in the U.S. though legal in Columbia, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador and Chile. 

Controversy aside, we both enjoyed this popular Peruvian drink. We found it easy to drink with a taste similar to green tea. 

Mate de Coca kept us acclimatized to the altitude as well as warm during the cool evenings.

8- Emoliente – Traditional Mixed Herbs Drink

Traditional drink in Peru emoliente and street cart vendor in Cusco by Authentic Food Quest
Preparation of Emoliente, a natural non-alcoholic drink in Peru

Emoliente is one of the most unique Peruvian drinks we discovered by chance. We were in Cusco and I was not feeling very well. Our host told us about a natural healing drink called Emoliente sold at street corners by vendors. 

We had seen these carts appear every evening and had been curious about them. Emoliente is an herbal tea which is very popular in the cold season.

It is prepared with a base of herbs that usually includes barley, dried horsetail, flax seed, plantain leaf and alfalfa sprouts.  

We approached one vendor curious and intrigued. The first thing that caught our attention were two large covered bowls on the flat surface. 

The mystery was heightened by several intriguing pharmaceutical-like bottles on the side of the cart. 

The vendor told us that the 5 or 6 bottles on the sides were liquids with healing properties made from natural plants from the Andes mountains. 

The Healing Properties of Emoliente

Rosemary with the peruvian drink Emoliente by Authentic Food Quest
Rosemary drinking Emoliente

Given my upset stomach symptoms, the vendor customized a drink for me. From the large bowls in the center of the cup, he scooped out emoliente and poured it in a glass.

To the glass, he added about 3 shots of natural liquids. These were from the side of the cart and said to help with stomach flu and indigestion. 

The first sip was a little bizarre. The drink was slimy, yet fruity. It tasted like there was a coating in the liquid. It was not disgusting just unlike anything we have ever tasted before. Imagine drinking a hot, fruity, slimy and semi-sparkly beverage. 

Nonetheless, this non alcoholic drink went down quite easily and I felt better taking something natural over prescription drugs.  

With its healing properties, I felt much better the next day.  I had a hot emoliente drink, though it can also be served cold.  

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: If you are curious, you can order Emoliente from Amazon and try this traditional Peruvian drink at home.

9- Cusquena Beer & Other Peruvian Beers

Most popular Peruvian drinks cusquena beers by Authentic Food Quest
Range of Cusquena Beers

Although Pisco Sour is the most well-known drink in Peru, Peruvian beers are also popular.

Peru has three major beer brands Pilsen Callao, Cristal and Cusqueña. Pilsen Callao and Cristal are both lagers with little flavor in Claire’s opinion (yes I am not a beer drinker). 

Cusquena beer makes several kinds of beers. You’ll find Golden Lager, Red Lager, Wheat beer, and Dark Lager. There is a beer for every taste.

The Cusquena beer was by far Claire’s favorite. She enjoyed the range of flavors and smooth tastes.

 Other regional beers that are not widely available are the Arequipeña from Arequipa and Pilsen Trujillo from Trujillo.

Craft or artisanal beers, known as “cerveza artesanal” have been gaining popularity especially in Lima and Cusco. 

Local brewers are experimenting with unique flavors like quinoa beer which blend history and modernity.

10- Peruvian Juices and “Jugo Especial”

Peruvian drinks juices by Authentic Food Quest
Mango/papaya and Mixed fruit juices

Peru is home to several kinds of unique and amazing fruits. As a fruit paradise, one of the best ways to enjoy the flavors is in fresh juices and smoothies. 

You will find fresh juice stands everywhere and most restaurants and cafes also offer fresh juices on their menus. 

The choices of fruits are endless and include bananas, papayas, pineapples, guavas, maracuya (passion fruit) and many more. 

The juices are often sweetened with raw honey, algarrobina, a carob extract and fruit nectars. 

The fresh fruits, bright colors and fragrances are intoxicating making you appreciate Earth’s goodness. Be sure to savor these unique juices while in Peru.

Jugo Especial by Authentic Food Quest for Peruvian Drinks
Thick and flavorful ‘Jugo Especial’

A hidden speciality and traditional Peruvian drink is the “Jugo Especial.” This is a special juice that is a meal in itself. 

It is a mix of a little bit of everything including Cusquena beer (although optional) and an egg. We decided to skip the beer and egg option, and still enjoyed this deliciously thick juice.

More than a juice, it is a meal, big enough to share.

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In Summary

A journey through Peru must take into consideration unique Peruvian drinks that enhance the flavors of the traditional dishes. 

To get the most enjoyment out of the Peruvian dishes, savor the drinks that are rich in history and flavor.

Inca Kola, for example, is the Peruvian drink of choice to accompany many local dishes like Ceviche or Lomo Saltado. 

Chicha Morada and the Peruvian Pisco Sour are Peruvian drinks not to be missed.

By highlighting these traditional Peruvian drinks, our goal is to ensure you have a richer, fuller and more tasty culinary adventure in Peru.

Have you had any of these Peruvian drinks before? Please tell us in the comments below.

Savor The Adventure!

More Peruvian Food Experiences

Peru Paperback books and Kindle version Authentic Food Quest Peru

Our book, Authentic Food Quest Peru takes you on a journey through the regional food specialties in Peru. Get an introduction to Peruvian food and the history of how this unique gastronomy came to be.

Discover the authentic foods in Lima and Cusco as well as the top Peruvian drinks and dishes that should not be missed. Take this guide with you as you explore Peru’s magnificent cuisine.

Available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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63 comments

    • That’s wonderful to hear Jessica. It may surprise you to know that Inca Kola is available in the US. Check out a Mexican store or Mexican aisle at your local grocery store and try this classic drink. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  1. All of these do sound amazing. I could go for a nice refreshing drink right now too. I see a few that I would really love to try out.

    Reply
  2. Wow! You really know your stuffs and very well versed. I loved how you compiled these awesome drinks, they’re all very enticing and looks really refreshing drinks.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Melissa. Actually, you can find purple corn at U.S. grocery stores as well as on Amazon. Local Peruvian restaurants may also have the drink on their menu. It’s worth seeking out for sure 🙂 Cheers.

      Reply
  3. This makes me miss South America and Peru so much! I saw everyone drinking these purple jugs of drink and remembering wondering what it was. I had no idea until I asked someone! Then ended up having a Chicha Morada pisco sour in a pisco bar while in Cusco! Yummy. I could drink pisco sours every day! Ahhhh the memories. Enjoy!

    Reply
    • We so agree with you Amelia…the chicha morada ended up being one of our favorite easy drinks. We actually never tried the chicha morada pisco sour. I’m sure it must be very good. Yes, the pisco sours go down really easy 🙂 Cheers!

      Reply
    • That’s awesome that you have a Peruvian market so close to you. Please do try out the Inca Kola…it will be sweet with a unique flavor…gives you chance to taste a slice of the unique Peruvian culture. Do let us know what you think of Inca Kola when you try it 🙂

      Reply
  4. Dude! What is the picture at the top? Are those black corn husks? As a passionate herb-worshipping hippie, Emoliente caught my eye. I’d like to try that tea.

    Great post and delicious pictures as usual!

    Reply
  5. Peru has always been on my list but after seeing all these amazing drinks, I need to get there asap! I’d heard about Pisco Sours from a drinking travel show, Three Sheets, and always thought they looked so delicious! Who knew Peru had so many wonderful looking drinks? Also, the Inca Kola reminds me of Irn Bru from Scotland. Weird bright color and bubblegum taste!

    Reply
  6. I didn’t spend that much time in Peru, but I came to love Pisco Sours, and, when we were high in the Andes, mate de coca. Also liked their beers. As for the chicha, I always managed to pour as much as possible on the ground as an offering to the Pachamama.

    Reply

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