Bolivians concoct their drinks from unusual ingredients.
Traditional Bolivian beverages are concocted with some truly interesting ingredients. That’s because some of the drinks and beverages that are typical to this region have been a part of the customary diet for hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of years!
Selling chicha and somo of course in Bolivia they also drink all the normal beverages that people drink all over the world like fresh squeezed pure fruit juices (called ZUMO), juices with water or milk added (which we call JUGO), packaged drinks like kool-aid (which we call REFRESCO), and sodas (which we also call REFRESCO or SODA, depending on which region of Bolivia you are in).
In Western Bolivian (the country’s Andean region where much of the population is of Aymara or Quechua origin) drinks like api blanco and api morado are typical. The weather is cold and dry much of the time so thick, hearty drinks are popular. Also, Bolivia has over 2000 varieties of corn – so corn is used in many foods and drinks.
Wines in Bolivia
In Southern Bolivia you can enjoy some of the best wines in the world (Tarija is Bolivia’s wine country). In Eastern Bolivia (from the northernmost state of Pando and all the way down to the southern edge of Santa Cruz) drinks like mocochinchi, tujuré, somó, and chicha are popular. This entire half of Bolivia is mostly tropical (from Amazon rainforest to the world-famous Pantanal wetlands).
The weather is hot and muggy much of the time. Thinner, fresh fruit and icy cold drinks are much more popular here. You’ll find we use several varieties of corn, dehydrated fruits and other interesting products in Bolivian beverages (don’t worry, we drink plenty of normal drinks too!)
Spirits in Bolivia
In Bolivia, juice and chicha vendors are a common site on city sidewalks. Chicha is made from fermented maize. Typically, chicha and somo are sold in large ceramic pots while mocochinchi and others are sold in large glass jars. Although some of these drinks are boiled, we don't suggest foreigners purchase them on the street because you just don't know under what "hygienic circumstances" they've been made. It's customary to spill a bit of chicha on the ground before and after drinking it as an offering to Pachamama, the Inca earth godess.
Singani is a grape liquor that's mixed with Sprite or ginger ale with lime garnish to make a cocktail called chuflay.
Beer in Bolivia
There are a number of local beers, the largest being Paceña and its high-end brand Huari. El Inca is a very sweet low-alcohol beer.
Local Drinks in Bolivia
Alcoholic beverages include beer and wine along with local specialties like 'Singanis' a kind of pisco and. Non-alcoholic beverages include 'Api' and 'Zomo' made with sweetened Flour of maize, boiled in water with cinnamon and a host of tropical fruit juice drinks.
You'll also find fresh squeezed fruit juice vendors. Typically they have fresh fruit like oranges, grapefruits and tamarindo and they'll actually peel and fresh squeeze it right in front of you. Since the peelings are removed and no water is added these are usually pretty safe to drink.
The following is a list of alcoholic mixed, and non-alcoholic beverages that are popular among the people of Bolivia. Singani (being the Bolivian national drink) is the main liquor used to produce some of these mixed drinks, however Pisco is also another liquor that is easily found in Bolivia and is the main comoponent of another branch of beverages also listed here.
Coctel de Tumbo
Mocochinchi - dehydrated peach cider