Few things describe a country’s traditions better than their food culture. It’s the spices and herbs, the flavors and tastes; those intense bursts of desire when you taste something for the first time and vow to never forget it. In my travels, I’ve found that both food and beverages play a large part in a country’s history – Chile is the perfect example. Here is a showcase of some traditional drinks from Chile that can be made at home when you miss Chile after you’re long gone.
Where does Pisco originate? Well, let’s just say both Peru and Chile have staked claim on this drink and neither country is willing to let go of it. Chilean Pisco is produced in the Elqui Valley, and the drink – Pisco Sour – is consumed throughout Latin America and some parts of the United States. Basically, it’s a light colored brandy, that when mixed with tart lime juice, sugar, egg whites, and a touch of bitters, makes the traditional Pisco Sour. Be sure to use small, tart limes for this drink and not the common confusion of using lemons. In Spanish, the word “limones” is used to refer to limes, but is normally translated to lemons, due to the similarities. You need a good acid to balance out the alcohol and creamy egg whites. Note: If you would prefer to not use raw eggs, you can make this recipe using pasteurized egg whites as well.
Made from a mix of red wine and strawberries, it’s a drink very rarely seen anymore but has a clear link to Chilean culture. Fresh berries are used in the preparation, and the combination with a dry red wine makes the berries stand out in the sea of red. If you can find a bottle of Carmenere, use that as your base wine as it is a wine derived from Chilean soil. Wash and dry fresh strawberries, chop them, and place the wine and berries in a glass container. Let it steep overnight or serve immediately. You may use any fresh berries you can find, such as cherries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries!
Chile’s traditional mixed drink; it’s a combination of alcohol and ice cream. Yes, ice cream! Story has it German reporters arrived to cover a story in Chile on a hot day and asked the bartender to serve them a refreshing drink. The bartender then added pineapple ice cream to Pipeño, a local type of sweet white wine, to which the reporters acknowledged as being a real Terremoto or Earthquake!
Whether you go traditional with a Pisco Sour or more modern with the Terremoto, remember that recreating food and drinks from a country you’ve visited is one of the best ways to honor that country. Use the finest ingredients you can find and surely Chileans will be proud! Cheers!