This name covers a multitude of sins. There’s the innocent chicha morada – a favorite of Peruvian children made with the distinctive purple maize and pineapple skins.
Then there’s the kind drunk in fields, festivals and villages all over Peru. This mildly alcoholic drink was traditionally fermented by being chewed in the mouth and then spat out into the mixture. Now the maize is generally just fermented over days in large urns.
If you visit a rural family you are likely to be offered some chicha, probably out of a shared jerry can. Beware, it can be tough on the stomach if you are not used to it. Look out for bamboo poles outside houses holding blue or red plastic bags – these indicate that chicha is on sale. (white bags mean bread for sale).
Pisco is a spirit made of distilled grapes. It is produced along the south coast of Peru and it is worth visiting a vineyard to see the production process if you are in the Ica area. The battle over the origin preferred home of the pisco cocktail, Pisco Sour, is hotly debated between Peru and Chile.
The drink is best prepared fresh and consist of lemon, sugar, egg white – and of course the pisco. The classic place to try out the sour is the Gran Hotel Bolivar in Lima.
It’s so cool – even heavy metal bands drink it.
Why drink coca tea? It’s true that it’s a slightly bitter, acquired taste but its benefits are indisputable at altitude. Added to which, you can’t drink it at home so…
Where else could the name of the majestic and powerful Incas be given to the name of bottles of bright yellow, bubble gum flavor pop. This drink used to out-sell Coca Cola – until the giant bought into the company to the tune of 49%!
Go to any good-sized market in Peru and head for the juice selection. There you will find rows of brisk- looking women ready to take you to fresh fruit juice heaven for less than a dollar.
Tell them your troubles and they are sure to have a bizarre concoction to fix it. Ingredients might include cactus leaves, beer, oats, herbs and maca (found in Viagra).