What you definitely should drink during your stay in Arequipa

(Approximate reading time: 6 minutes)

In my last article I focused on the Andean kitchen and the culinary specialities from Arequipa. Now I would like to write about the typical beverages that you can order in this city. There were some gastronomic specialities, that surprised me. And some even made me tipsy.

Generally spoken I can tell, that Peruvians like to drink beer. Next to the three national distributed lager beers Cusqueña, Cristal and Pilsen, there are also a few local lager beers to try depending on every region. The trend in Peru nowadays goes a little bit away from the industrial fermented beers and more to the handcrafted beers. Especially in Lima I visited several bars who are specialized in these types of beers, but also every better situated restaurant is equipped with at least one artiasnal beer on the menu.

Mi Kcao has a lot of local drinks from Arequipa to offer

You will find a lot of colonial buildings around the main square. One very hidden spot was a place called “Mi Kcao”. The clue is in the name here: They specialize on coffee and chocolate specialities. Although situated in the heart of the historical city centre, it has a contorted entrance and little garden where you can enjoy your drinks without the traffic noises from the street. It’s nice to have a drink in the sun and don’t get bothered from the usual chaos out on the streets. In Mi Kcao I was trying a few of these artisanal beers.

The left one, ‘Colla Stout’, had a nice chocolate flavor and smoky aftertaste. Other than that, the right beer, ‘Maracuja Ale Pampeña’, was based on passion fruit, which gave it a fruity but not sweet taste. Both breweries are from Arequipa, which is one argument more to try out a local drink.

A coffee with anis liqueur?!

Yes, what you already read in the headline is nothing more than the truth. I went to a café and asked for recommendations about a typical hot drink from Arequipa. The waiter told me, that I should try ‘Misti El Loncco’ and he warned me about the strong flavor it got from the anise liqueur. “No problem” I thought with my brave mind! I already drank before the strong anise spirits Ouzo and Zipporo from Greece and thought that I’m prepared for what was coming.

Not sure, if the waiter wanted to impress me or if he simply didn’t like strangers. But this hot drink tasted like petroleum and not like coffee. It was really strong sh*t and probably for the first time since ages that I didn’t enjoy my cup of coffee. Well, I usually don’t booze it up with any alchemical stuff.

Fun Fact about the name itself: ‘Misti El Loncco’ has its name from the local volcano Misti. Loncco is the local expression for a peasant. For me it looks more like the volcano and I also felt flaming eruption braising out of my face. ‘Misti El Loncco’ consists of:

– Coffee from arabic beans from the local Arequipan producer Café Valenzuela (which has nothing to do with Venezuela)
– dry anise liqueur
– sweet anise liqueur
– cream
– cinnamon powder

A tasty black corn juice quenches my thirst

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Usually I am not a fan of sweet drinks. Soft drinks and lemonades are too often responsible for creating my thirst, but not for quenching it. A lot of additional sugar doesn’t help either and alienates an authentic taste. Same with juices, if they are sugar-coated and you don’t taste the fruit itself but only sugar.

Now the surprise about this drink here is that it’s classified as a juice, but comes actually from corn. Black corn to be honest. I thought until trying my first “Chicha de Guiñapo”, that juices are always made out of fruits. But Arequipa taught me something new! And it taught me, that corn can taste quite refreshing and naturally sweet in liquid form.

Additional information about this mysterious Guiñapo are difficult to obtain. It doesn’t even have an own Wikipedia page to snoop for more input. In an old online article from a Peruvian newspaper I read, that it is since centuries a traditional beverage from Arequipa and needs more than 24 hours to be prepared.

The herbal Emoliente will warm you up in the cold nights

This lady on the video prepared a nice and warm drink in the street called Emoliente. It’s a drink that is prepared on the basis of roasted barley grains, extracts of medicinal herbs, sugar and lemon juice. Among the most used herbs are horsetail, flaxseed, alfalfa, plantain and boldo. Some herbs are that typical, that an English translation doesn’t even exist.

Emoliente is not a typical drink from Arequipa, but the special version of Arequipa contains local herbs and spices, that you might not be able to try in other cities. Really surprising was the fact, that the cookee told me, that they are according to the official license only allowed to sell this drink after 6pm. “Juice in the mornings, Emoliente in the evenings” she explained. I don’t know how Arequipa surprised me with this fact more: That they set up these strict regulations or that they even follow them consequently.

Although you can order this drink in other cities, the people from Arequipa seem to have a sincere relationship to that drink: They even dedicate a whole day to Emoliente. The 20th of February will be the fete day, when you can meet several hundred producers of Emoliente in the city center.

I hope, that you liked my article about the typical beverages from Arequipa and hope that you can answer me the following question:

If there are food tourists, am I only a beverage tourist?

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