Mate, wine and fernet top the list of all typical Argentine drinks, but they are not the only ones that are customarily drunk in this South American country.
Let us know in this article the best 25 typical drinks of Argentina.
Mate is drunk in 98 out of every 100 Argentine homes. On average, each person in the country consumes 100 liters a year of this infusion made with yerba mate.
Yerba mate, also known as yerba del Paraguay and yerba de los Jesuitas, is not a herbaceous plant, but a tree that can reach up to 15 meters in height.
The product to make the infusion is made with its leaves and ground dry branches. It is also a rich source of B vitamins and its xanthines are a very good natural energizer.
The main producers of mate are Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.
2. Argentine wine
Wine is officially the national drink of Argentina, which with its more than 220,000 hectares of vineyards is the fifth largest producer in the world after France, Italy, Spain and the US.
Among the typical foods and drinks of Argentina, barbecue and wine are inseparable.
Although wine has been known in the country since the 16th century, firm production began in the second half of the 19th century and was consolidated during the 20th century.
Argentines currently have more than 900 active wineries that export their wines to more than 125 countries, especially North America, Europe and Brazil.
The quintessential Argentine wine is a full-bodied red colloquially called “quebracho”, due to its resemblance to the reddish wood of the tree of that name, much appreciated in cabinetmaking.
The main producing regions are in the provinces of Mendoza, La Rioja, Salta, San Juan, Catamarca and Córdoba, with smaller productions in other federal entities.
Italian drink introduced to Córdoba (world capital of fernet) by immigrants.
It is a drink with a high alcohol content made from a mixture of rhubarb, saffron, myrrh, chamomile, gentian root, aloe, oregano and cardamom. This combination is macerated in wine alcohol, filtered and deposited in oak barrels, so that it rests for between 6 months and a year.
It has a bitter taste, dark color and an alcohol content in the range of 39 to 45 degrees. It is also used in multi-ingredient cocktails and combined with soda and mineral water. Its original use was as a digestive tonic that was sold only in pharmacies.
It is an orange liqueur created in Buenos Aires in the 1860s by the American entrepreneur, Melville Sewell Bagley, who emigrated due to the civil war in his country.
Bagley experimented with oranges as an employee of the La Estrella pharmacy (corner of Defensa and Adolfo Ansina streets). He invented a liquor from the peel of unripe bitter and sweet oranges, a soft and sweet drink that became popular over time.
The inventor was inspired by the Garden of the Hesperides, a magical orchard from Greek mythology, to give his drink its name.
In Argentina, hesperidin is popular in cocktails and combined with soft drinks, tonic water and soda.
Argentines drink an average of 45 liters of beer a year, with an annual production of more than 20 million hectoliters.
Although it is not the official one, beer displaced wine as the most popular drink in the country, driven by commercial brands (Quilmes, Brahma, Andes, Antares, Bieckert, Imperial, Santa Fe, among others) and by a large number of craft beers .
The tradition of beer dates back to the mid-eighteenth century when the first beer vendor opened in the Retiro neighborhood (Buenos Aires), a pioneer almost 280 years ago of today’s popular breweries.
Picada is one of the typical foods of Argentina that is increasingly consumed with beer.
Lágrima is a milk with a minimal drop of coffee. It is similar to the stained milk of other countries, but in Argentina the macchiato is more like the typical cut coffee prepared with ¾ black coffee and ¼ milk.
The tear is served in a transparent mug almost full of milk and a small amount of coffee.
Argentina does not have a great coffee tradition and there has never been a significant production of the fruit, except for a venture in Salta, near the border with Bolivia.
Fortunately, the country borders Brazil and is close to Colombia, two of the world’s largest producers.
Coffee consumption in Argentina has expanded despite mate, the champion of local infusions.
Cold infusion that is drunk in Paraguay, in northeastern Argentina and in the extreme southern states of Brazil bordering Argentina (Río Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná).
Most of the consumption in Argentina is concentrated in the provinces of Chaco, Misiones, Corrientes, Entre Ríos and Formosa. In the Bolivian province of Santa Cruz it also began to be drunk more frequently.
It is one of the most refreshing drinks in this South American region that is prepared with yerba mate, medicinal herbs, weeds, water and ice.
Among the herbs used are mint, peppermint, lemon verbena (verbena de Indias), cocú (shawl-shawl), horsetail and sarsaparilla.
8. Tea at Las Violetas
Las Violetas confectionery, on the corner where Rivadavia and Medrano avenues intersect, in the Almagro neighborhood, is a classic in Buenos Aires.
It was opened in 1884, so it is more than 135 years old and is one of the stars on the list of Notable Bars in the capital of Argentina.
A French-style remodeling in the 1920s endowed it with its striking stained glass windows, stained glass windows and white marble floors, which make it a building of architectural interest declared a Site of Cultural Interest of the City of Buenos Aires in 1998.
It was restored again at the beginning of the century, but without altering the architectural style of the building.
Las Violetas confectionery is the most glamorous place in Buenos Aires to have tea with puddings, cakes and other sweet and savory treats.
9. Submarine at Cafe Tortoni
The submarine is a typical drink in Argentina and Uruguay that consists of a long glass with very hot milk, in which a bar of chocolate is introduced that melts while stirring with a long collectible spoon.
The most refined drink it with Águila chocolate, a brand created in 1880 by the French immigrant, Abel Saint.
In the Tortoni cafe, on Avenida de Mayo 825 in the Monserrat neighborhood of Buenos Aires, they serve the most famous submarine in the city. It was opened in 1858 on the first avenue in South America and the main street in the historic center of Buenos Aires, being a legend in the Argentine capital.
The place was the seat of famous artistic and literary clubs in which Alfonsina Storni, Juana de Ibarbourou, José Ortega y Gasset, Jorge Luis Borges, Luigi Pirandello, Federico García Lorca, Juan Manuel Fangio and Albert Einstein participated. Carlos Gardel was a regular with a fixed table.
Limoncello or chitronchelo is a lemon-based liqueur from Italians of the Mezzogiorno or Midi, the southern macro-region of Italy.
It is very popular in the province of Buenos Aires, especially in Mar del Plata, a city where the first commercial brand of the drink was introduced to the market.
Its basic ingredients are ripe but not overripe lemons (8 units), high-quality ethyl alcohol (one liter), sugar (700 grams) and light mineral water (1.5 liters).
The peel is removed from the lemons without the white part, the alcohol is placed in a large bottle with a wide neck, the peels are submerged and it is hermetically closed. Let stand in a cool, dark place for 15 to 20 days.
When this time is reached, prepare a syrup with the sugar and water, bringing it to a slow boil for several minutes. Cool the syrup, mix it with the alcohol, remove the shells with a strainer and bottle the liquor.
Combination of 2 alcoholic beverages or one with other non-alcoholic ingredients. The one known as “half and half” is a blend made up of 50% dry wine and 50% sweet wine.
Mixes of wine with soft drinks and fruit juices are also common, especially sangria, a drink from Spain.
Mixes of red wine with a cola drink and with sodas flavored with orange, lime and lemon, are common.
Another famous mix is the yerbiao, which combines mate with cane liquor. It is a typical drink from the Calchaquí Valleys, in northwestern Argentina.
In the almost inaccessible community of La Ciénaga, in the hills of Tucumán, an ancestral festival dedicated to yerbiao is celebrated in summer, in which the mix passes from hand to hand served by the women, while the men drink and dedicate themselves to the taming and branding animals with iron.
It is an Argentine alcoholic beverage based on the fruit of the white carob tree, a tree native to South America that grows especially in the Gran Chaco, a macro-region shared by Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia.
The lodging is prepared by hand. The fruit of the carob tree is placed in pure water and in a closed container. 5 ripe fruits are placed for each liter of water with the carob trees split in two, to promote fermentation. Some believe that adding sugar distorts the final flavor.
After four days with the container stored in a cool, dark environment, there will be enough alcohol in a pleasant-tasting drink.
The longer the rest time, the higher the alcohol content, but it is not recommended to extend the fermentation period for more than 2 weeks. After finishing the elaboration, the rest of the fruits are extracted and kept refrigerated.
The fact that Argentina does not produce cocoa has not prevented chocolate from becoming the symbol among the country’s typical drinks on July 9, the main national date and the day on which the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata declared their independence from Spain in 1816.
Many Argentines are used to drinking hot chocolate accompanied with churros for breakfast or as a snack. Another national date celebrated drinking chocolate is May 25, the anniversary of the May Revolution that brought the first patriot government junta to power.
14. Cane with rue
Ancestral tradition of the Guaranitic area formed by Paraguay, part of the north of Argentina, the extreme south of Brazil and the southeast of Bolivia.
The tradition is that every August 1, people drink 3 shots of cane with rue on an empty stomach to achieve health, good luck and distance from envy and curses.
The custom rooted in northern Argentina, especially in the provinces of Corrientes and Misiones, has managed to penetrate the entire republic. It began as a way to combat the calamities caused by the rains and the winter cold.
Those who cannot drink the 3 shots of cane with rue on August 1 will be able to do so until the 15th of the same month.
The rue recipe comes from the medicinal properties attributed to this sub-shrub to cure vermin bites and gastrointestinal discomfort.
15. Rosehip liqueur
The rosehip is a rosaceous species native to Europe that grows wild in Patagonia and in the foothills of the province of Mendoza.
Apart from its beautiful flowering with a predominant pink color, the oil from its seeds is highly valued in cosmetology and the fruit has several gastronomic applications, including the preparation of a liquor with a floral aroma perfect for mixing with vodka and citrus juices.
The Rosa Silvestre cocktail is prepared with one ounce of Rosa Mosqueta liqueur, one ounce of vodka, ¾ ounce of orange juice and ½ ounce of lime juice.
All you have to do is put ice in the shaker, add all the ingredients and shake for 10 seconds. Strain into a short glass with ice.
It is a typical alcoholic drink from southern Argentina and Chile that is prepared by mixing red wine with toasted flour. It is refreshing and can be made more or less thick by adding more or less flour.
An average recipe with a glass of red wine (preferably cabernet sauvignon or merlot) calls for 2 tablespoons of toasted flour, sugar to taste, and ice. The flour is stirred into the wine until it forms a uniform purplish mixture, sweetened to taste and served with ice.
17. Plain Santa Fe
It is a measure of beer of 250-255 cc that is drunk in a smooth glass, according to the custom of the pioneer of Argentine breweries, Otto Schneider (1872-1950).
This Santa Fe-based German brewmaster was instrumental in the development of the Schneider, Santa Fe, and San Carlos breweries.
The businessman stated that the best way to appreciate a draft beer was to serve it in a smooth glass, without reliefs or markings, to observe the liquid and its foam.
The Schneider habit became popular and the plain one became a custom in the capital of the homonymous province, currently being an important element in the visual identity of Cervecería Santa Fe.
Santa Fe’s beer tradition dates back to the beginning of the 20th century when there was a strong German and Swiss immigration. The Germans found the waters of the Santa Fe river basin very similar to those of Pilsen, a former German territory now in the Czech Republic famous for its beer.
18. Patero wine from Catamarca
The first presses to make wine were human feet and this tradition is maintained in Catamarca’s patero winery.
It is a wine without barrel maturation made simply with the fermentation of the skins, so the vintners have to remove the stems from the clusters by hand.
The grape is allowed to reach its maximum maturation, being harvested late to give a very sweet wine.
The patero from Catamarca is a clean and simple product, without additives or preservatives, which is why it is classified as a “homemade wine”.
The elaboration of the artisanal and most authentic patero wine is pressing with the “legs”; however, formal wineries use metal presses.
19. Melon with wine
White wine and sugar cocktail served in a prickly pear melon as a glass, originally from Spain and adopted in Hispanic South America by Argentina and Chile.
The melon is cut on its upper surface, the seeds and its juice are extracted. It is dug to separate part of the pulp and the white wine and sugar are poured, drinking with a straw.
Some cocktail shakers add ice inside the melon and Chileans use pipeño wine a lot.
It is a traditional drink of the Mapuche Indians who live in the central and southern areas of Chile and Argentina. It is prepared by fermenting cereal grains, mainly corn, wheat or seeds (piñon and others).
Muway is yellowish-white in color and has a rustic texture, since it contains the remains of the grains or seeds used in its production. It has little alcohol and is usually drunk as a soft drink, so its main uses are social and religious.
The most common way to make the muday is with dry corn kernels that are ground and sifted, adding water to grind again. The ground material is made into a dough that is boiled and fermented.
21. Craft beers
Argentine craft beers are among the most valued in America and frequently awarded prizes in international blind tastings in the sector.
Argentina participated with 1844 labels in the 2019 Copa Cervezas de América held in Chile and although it was runner-up behind Brazil, it surpassed the US and 14 other countries with 41 medals, 15 gold.
One of the main centers of Argentine craft beer is San Carlos de Bariloche, the beautiful city in Patagonia surrounded by lakes and ski resorts.
Bariloche produces excellent beers of the Stout and Ale varieties. The local Stouts have an intense flavor and delicious aromas of barley and roasted malt, with notes of cocoa, chocolate and oysters.
Ale-type beers offer oxidative and alcohol notes similar to those found in Port and cherry wines. The aroma reveals the sweetness of malt, as well as nuts, dried fruit, molasses, wine and caramel.
22. Cassis liqueur
Although the cultivation of currants is a minority in Argentina, the planted area is concentrated in Patagonia where most of the fruit harvest is used for the candy, ice cream and cocktail industry, including the tasty cassis liqueur (the French name for black currant liqueur) or creme de cassis.
This drink is native to Dijon, France, and has helped wine and mustard make the city of French Burgundy famous.
It is very simple to do. Mix the fruits with brandy or a good quality cocktail alcohol and add sugar. The result will be a drink with a moderate alcohol content (approximately 16%) with the tastes and aromas of currant.
The syrup is a product with a syrupy texture made by partially dehydrating grapes and other fruits, heating until incomplete caramelization of the sugars is achieved.
In several provinces of central and northern Argentina, such as San Luis, San Juan, Santiago del Estero, Tucumán, Catamarca, Córdoba, Jujuy, Salta and La Rioja, they make syrups with carob, chañar and prickly pear.
In Argentina, the arrope is accompanied with goat cheese. In Santiago del Estero, the prickly pear syrup made with the fruits of the cacti that grow in the patios of the houses is very popular.
The syrups have medicinal uses and generally do not have contraindications or toxic effects. The prickly pear has astringent properties, while the chañar (leguminous tree with edible fruits and seeds) is used to combat coughs, colds and pneumonia.
24. Dulce de leche liqueur
Argentina is the world’s fifth largest producer of beef and where there are cows there is milk, so the country also has a powerful dairy sector.
One of its iconic sweets, the alfajor, is based on dulce de leche, also used to make one of Argentina’s typical drinks.
A typical dulce de leche liqueur recipe calls for 300 grams of a good quality dulce de leche, 300 cc of brandy, one tablespoon of coffee dissolved in boiling water, one tablespoon of vanilla, and 145 cc of cream.
Put the dulce de leche in a container and add the coffee in boiling water, the vanilla and the brandy, mixing until they are well integrated. Add the cream and mix until the preparation has a uniform texture and color. Package the liquor in sterilized glass bottles and refrigerate before consuming, keeping the rest in the fridge.
25. Patagonian Whiskey
La Alazana, the only single malt whiskey distillery in Argentina, has been operating since 2011 in the province of Chubut, in the heart of Patagonia.
The factory is located near Las Golondrinas, a rural town of some 800 inhabitants in the department of Cushamen, close to the border with the province of Río Negro.
The pioneering Argentine whiskey distillery is owned by the Serenelli couple (Néstor and Lila) and is hidden in a shed between rows of poplar trees. In its short life, the whiskey has already been awarded gold medals in Scotland and Bulgaria.
The product comes only from the fermentation of 90% imported malted barley from the UK. However, the distillery began to malt barley harvested on the banks of the Chubut River, in the specific varieties for whiskey.
What is the most consumed alcoholic beverage in Argentina?
According to the Pan American Health Organization, Argentina is after Chile the second Latin American nation that consumes the most alcohol.
Beer and wine are the favorite drinks of boys and girls. Until recently, first place was occupied by wine, but recently sparkling wines dethroned the “nectar of the gods”.
Other drinks preferred by Argentines are fernet and white cocktails, especially vodka.
What is the name of the bitter drink from Argentina?
Fernet has a bitter taste that Argentines love. It is a drink so closely linked to the country that consumption is equivalent to 75% of world production concentrated in Argentina and Italy.
The main reason for the high consumption of fernet is the popular combination with Coca Cola. The much loved bitterness of the drink comes from its recipe with about 40 herbs.
What is the mate drink from Argentina?
The consumption of mate is a ritual in which each consumer makes their personal contribution to the ceremony. It is prepared in a container also called mate and the water must be between 75 and 82 °C.
The drink is sucked with a straw, a kind of metal or cane straw that usually has artistic decorations. The bulb has 3 parts: the spout where the lips are placed, the tube through which the liquid rises and the coconut, which is a bulb with holes through which the infusion enters.
What is chicha in Argentina?
All Latin American countries are consumers of chicha, a generic beverage produced by fermenting corn and other cereals.
In the case of Argentina, the habit settled in the northern region, particularly in the territory that today forms the provinces of Salta, Tucumán and Jujuy.
When yeast was unknown, the indigenous people chewed ground corn and spit it into a common container to collect an amylase-rich saliva with which they promoted fermentation.
How is fernet taken in Argentina?
The usual way to drink fernet in Argentina is in a cocktail with Coca Cola and ice. It is such a popular cocktail that it has led the country to be one of the largest per capita consumers of the soft drink, consuming 4 times more than the world average.
Strong alcoholic beverages Argentina
The favorite strong alcoholic beverage of Argentines is fernet (39-45 degrees), so it is generally consumed with a diluent (Coca Cola, soda, tonic water).
Other high-alcohol content beverages (vodka, gin, whiskey, gin, rum, tequila) are moderately consumed in the country.
The most consumed beverages by Argentines are beer and wine, with alcohol content in the range of 3% to 14%.
Typical drinks of Argentina: data of interest
Typical drink of Argentina mate: November 30 is the National Day of Mate. It is the date of birth of Commander Andresito (Andrés Guaçurarí y Artigas; 1778-1821), an Argentine indigenous leader of Guaraní origin who governed the territory of the current province of Misiones and promoted the consumption and trade of mate.
Bitter Argentinian Drink: Fernet is the iconic bitter drink of Argentina. It is the national star product in the bitters and bitters category, with a production of more than 50 million liters per year.
Bitter Argentinian alcoholic beverage: Fernet is bitter and has a high alcohol content (up to 45 degrees), which is why it is generally drunk in mixed drinks and cocktails.
In Argentina colloquially alcoholic beverages: red wine is called “quebracho” because of its color similar to that of the wood of this tree. The beer is called “birra”.
What do you think of these typical drinks from Argentina? Which ones would you order the next time you go to the South American republic or to an Argentine restaurant?
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