Ecuador’s diversity means that many types of fruit grow in the fertile regions of the country. Many of its traditional drinks use different varieties of fruit, in combination with other ingredients to bring a refreshing zip to otherwise ordinary beverages. Other drinks play an important part in holiday celebrations and fiestas, found at certain times of the year or at festivals across the country. Keep reading for 5 of the best traditional drinks in Ecuador, that you should try while traveling in the country and their part in the fabric and culture of the country.
To warm up on rainy nights, try a Canelazo. One of Ecuador’s signature drinks that originated in the Andes, it’s found all over the country at restaurants, cafes, and fiestas. Each place has its own recipe, but the typical drink is made from aguardiente, cinnamon, naranjilla-a tart orange fruit, water, and sugar. Served hot, it has just the right blend of spice to offset the sting of the alcohol and keep the cold at bay.
Colada Morada is a drink that’s traditionally served on Day of the Dead. Families gather at the graves of loved ones and bring guaguas de pan-sweet bread in the shape of a baby, and Colada Morada to honor them. The drink is made with blue or black corn flour, Andean blackberries, pineapple rinds, and fruits including babaco and naranjilla. Babaco is similar to papaya and Naranjilla(Lulo in other countries) is a close relative to orange juice. During the time preceding and on the Day of the Dead you can find the combination of bread and drink in restaurants and cafes in most towns and cities. Like the canelazo, many establishments have their own recipes.
Chicha de Piña
Chicha de Piña is a pineapple drink that uses spices and sugar to create a beverage that refreshes on hot days. It’s made by boiling pineapple rinds in water and then adding cinnamon sticks, cloves, anise, allspice, and sugar. Once cool, it’s a great drink that bursts with flavor. In Ecuador, boiling fruit with sugar is a traditional way of making juice, and by adding spices-this drink makes a perfect addition to meals or snacks or days relaxing overlooking the plazas of the cities or the lush landscapes of the country.
Horchata tea is a specialty blend of herbs that was created in Loja, Ecuador. It uses begonias, carnations, chamomile, fuschias, flax, lemongrass, mint, rose geraniums, and roses to create a rich blend of flavors that sooth and calm. Served hot or cold, Horchata tea is known as an herbal remedy with strong anti-oxidant qualities and is found at juice carts, especially in and around Loja.
Colada de Avena con Naranjilla is an oatmeal and fruit drink that is found around the country. It’s normally served at breakfast and lunch. For kids, it’s also a staple of afternoon snacks. It’s made with oats, water, cinnamon, brown sugar, and naranjilla. There are other variations, some add milk, others use fruit like papaya or pineapple.