Comprising twenty sovereign countries and several territories, the Latin America region boasts of rich history, diverse culture, and excellent hospitality.
What binds these countries and territories is that they predominantly speak either Spanish or Portuguese. This is because of the influence their colonial masters – Spain or Portugal respectively – had on their culture.
If your only point of contact with Latin American culture is through imported Latin American telenovelas and pop music, you are missing out on a significant part of the great culture that the region has to offer to the world.
Sure, telenovelas and pop music from Latin America are great imports but they are not the only things that the region can import. Have you tried Latin drinks, for instance?
Whether you like your drink hot, cold, sweet, sour, tangy, fruity or earthy, there’s something for you on the Latin drinks menu.
Here is a list of 17 Latin drinks you should try at least once during your lifetime.
1. Piña Colada
This famous drink was first conceived in 1954. It has its roots from Puerto Rico although this has been largely contested. Every 10th of July, Puerto Ricans hold the Pina Colada day nationwide.
There are different versions of this drink. You will need 7 ounces or 70ml of rum, 50ml coconut cream, 50ml pineapple juice, and ice cubes.
Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth and pour in a glass of your choice and garnish with a pineapple wedge. Some versions have the ingredients shaken together, so you can take your pick.
2. Pisco Sour
So popular is this drink in Peru that it has two days dedicated to its celebration. Its origin has also been a matter of contention between Chile and Peru, but a court ruling declared that the Pisco Sour originated from Peru.
It has a sour taste to it. The ingredients include 70ml Pisco, 25ml freshly squeezed lime juice, 20ml simple syrup, 1 egg white, and a slice of lime.
Place the liquids in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. After a foam appears on top, pour the cocktail in a glass and use the slice of lime to garnish. Serve along with some main cancha and enjoy!
This drink is originally from Cuba and was used for medicinal purposes. It was used to cure scurvy for sailors who suffered from the illness. Today, it is one of the most popular Latin American cocktails worldwide.
To create this Latin cocktail, you will need fresh mint leaves, granulated sugar, white rum, soda water, lemon wedges, and ice. Place the lemon wedges and granulated sugar into a glass and mush them together.
Add the mint leaves and continue mushing the ingredients. Add the ice and pour in the rum and finish off with the soda water.
4. Cuba Libre
The name loosely translates to “Free Cuba”, although its origin remains a subject of debate. The ingredients used to create this cocktail include a handful of ice, 1 lemon cut into 4 pieces, coke, white or dark rum, and a lime wedge.
Put the ice in a glass and pour in the rum.
Squeeze the lemon cuts into the glass before placing them in the glass too. Finish off by filling the glass with coke and garnish with the lime wedge.
It was originally meant to cure the Spanish Flu with the addition of garlic and honey. It has its origin set in Brazil in the early 20th Century. The popular Caipirinha cocktail served nowadays doesn’t include the garlic and honey.
However, you will need the following: lime wedges, one tablespoon sugar, and ice.
In addition to these items, you will need 70ml cachaça. Cachaça is a spirit similar to rum that is distilled from sugarcane juice and is 40% alcohol. It is Brazil’s main alcoholic beverage and can either be clear or golden in color.
To make the cocktail, you squeeze the lime wedges in a glass and place the squeezed out wedges in the same glass. The next thing to do is to add the other ingredients into the glass and garnish with a lemon slice.
6. Pepino Caliente
To make the Pepino Caliente, you will need jalapeno pepper, cilantro sprigs, two sets of freshly squeezed lemon juice, simple syrup, cucumber puree, and Gran Duque d’ Alba.
Place the cilantro sprigs into a shaker and slightly mush it. Add the jalapeno and do the same to get some of its oils.
Pour the rest of the ingredients into the shaker and shake it with ice. Strain twice over a new batch of ice into your glass. Use cucumber to garnish your cocktail. Besides serving as a garnish, it offers some incredible health benefits.
This Ecuadorian cocktail is best served hot. It is also popular in Colombia.
It is best served around winter to warm up the consumer. 200ml of water, a cinnamon stick, 50ml sugar, and 30ml aguardiente are the ingredients needed to make this drink.
Aguardiente, which translates to strong water, is a spirit that is distilled from sugar cane.
Other Latin liquors that are similar to it are sambuca, pastis, and anisette. Place all ingredients in a pot. The heat should be low and the liquor should not boil. Serve in a cup and garnish it with either a lemon or orange slice.
This tequila-based drink is much preferred in Mexico than its sister drink, the margarita.
Although not very popular to the rest of the world, it is very easy to make. You will need two ounces of tequila, fresh grapefruit juice, club soda, lime juice, and sugar to taste.
Mix the liquids together with crushed ice and serve in a glass of your choice. Do not forget to stir till the sugar is dissolved.
9. Coco Loco
Coco loco originates from Colombia. It loosely translates to “crazy coconut”. You will need rum, tequila, vodka, lime water, coconut cream, coconut water, and ice to prepare this drink.
Mix all the ingredients together and you will get one of the most intense Latin American drinks.
The coco loco drink is best served in fresh coconuts but this does not restrict you from making it at home if you want to try it out.
The Michelada originated from Mexico and is a well-known cure for hangovers. It is a combination of salt, Worcestershire sauce, lime juice, hot sauce, soy sauce, tomato juice and cerveza (Mexican beer). It is served with a tajin salted rim.
To prepare this drink, pour some water in a small dish and salt in another dish. Dip the glass rim first into the dish with water, and then into the salt. Add the tomato juice into the glass, then the lime juice.
Add the Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and hot sauce into the glass. Finally, add the cold beer and ice and stir gently.
It has its origin in Cuba around 1898. It is named after a town East of Santiago de Cuba and it comes in many flavors.
One of the flavors includes the following ingredients; light rum, simple syrup, fresh lime juice, and ice. Place all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously then serve.
Most Latin American cocktails incorporate tropical fruits to either give it a sweet taste or sour. You can try out this passion fruit smoothie if you want something that does not require alcohol.
Margaritas are one of the most popular cocktails from Latin America. The ingredients needed to make this drink consist of 2 ounces of tequila, one ounce Cointreau or Triple Sec and one ounce of lime juice.
Pour the ingredients into a shaker and shake with ice.
Next, pour the mixture into a chilled glass after straining. Remember to use a lime wedge to wet the rim of the glass and dip it in salt before pouring in the cocktail. Frozen margaritas are made by blending the cocktail with a cup full of ice until the product is smooth.
Passed down from the Incas, the chicha is one of the most ancient and popular Peruvian drinks. If you’re looking to have a taste of ancient Peruvian culture, look no further than this drink.
This timeless and iconic Incan elixir is normally concocted from fermented corn but it can also be made from apple, plantain, boiled rice or yuca.
Even though the drink is most popular in present-day Peru, people from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Chile, and other parts of Latin America also love this drink a lot.
More than most Latin drinks, the chicha allows people to enjoy it in a traditional setting. Everyone sits in a circle waiting to be served by the chicha maker.
Before the chicha maker can serve the drink to anyone, they will first pour a little bit of the drink on the floor or ground to appease Mother Earth, who the Inca referred to as the Pachamama.
How can you know a chicha spot when you are in Peru? That’s quite simple!
Just look out for any building that has a wooden pole wrapped with a red plastic bag sticking out like a flag!
14. El Salvador
This Latin drink that translates to “The Savior” has its origin unknown. To get this drink fixed, you will need 2 ounces of white rum, lime juice, grenadine, and an ounce of hazelnut liqueur, which is locally known as Frangelico.
Shake all the ingredients together with ice and finish off by straining the product into a martini glass.
If you are serving the drink to your guests, the presentation matters. Get yourself different types of cocktail glasses because just as you cannot serve wine in beer mugs, not all cocktails can be served in martini glasses.
This little-known cocktail is for the people that like their drinks sweet and light. You will need 2 ounces of manzanilla sherry or fino sherry, lemon or mint leaves for garnish.
Shake the ingredients together and pour into a low ball glass half filled with ice. In other recipes, the ingredients are simply stirred together.
The recipe may vary depending on where you are but it is mostly equal parts sherry and sprite or seven up.
16. Chilcano de Pisco
Chilcano is a lesser known alternative to the pisco sour. It is a common drink by Peruvians and Chileans as both countries are known for their love of Pisco spirit.
The cocktail incorporates ginger giving it a tangy taste. The ingredients needed for this drink include two ounces of pisco, two drops of bitter, lime juice, ice and two ounces of ginger ale.
Pour the ingredients into a glass and stir. You can also get to know more about Peruvian foods that you should try at least once.
17. Cuban Ginger
This is another Latin cocktail that incorporates ginger. As the name suggests the drink is originally from Cuba. The Cuban Ginger is for the people who are adventurous at heart and are willing to try something new.
The ingredients needed include two ounces of white rum, ginger ale, apple liqueur and lemon to garnish. Pour ingredients into a glass and stir.
Get the Party Started With the Best Latin Drinks
A Latin American-inspired theme party would be a great idea if you are thinking of holding a theme party. To start with there is a whole list of different types of Latin dishes that you can serve your guest. The music is awesome and the drinks are bountiful.
The best part about some of these Latin cocktails is that you do not need a professional bartender to make it for you. You can make them while your guests watch as you show off some of your internet-acquired skills. Or, you can just enjoy them during one of those hot lazy afternoons.
The next time you are feeling adventurous, try out the above-highlighted Latin drinks. You can’t go wrong with our top 17 picks!
When consuming these alcoholic drinks, be sure to do so in a responsible way by snacking on some delicious Argentine empanadas to avoid an empty stomach.
Have you heard about Yerba Mate and are wondering about what it is? Check our Yerba Mate section to learn everything you need to know about it.
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Our blog is all about sharing our love of Latin American foods & drinks. We will bring you articles and recipes of the very best Latin American & Spanish cuisine. Amigofoods was founded in 2003 and is the largest online grocery store offering a wide variety of hard to find freshly imported foods & drinks from all over Latin America and Spain.