Karencita de Perú

What do you want to drink? – ¿Qué quieres tomar?

Posted on: October 6, 2010

If you are at a restaurant or cafe in Lima and someone asks you what you want to drink your choices will be very different from what you would find in Canada.  Here is a description of the most common beverages you will find in Perú.

Gaseosas – Soft Drinks

Well, this one isn’t too different from what you would find in Canada.  You can usually choose from Coca-Cola and Sprite, as well as Inca Kola.

If you can get over the ghastly yellow color, Inca Kola really isn’t that bad.  It actually tastes a lot like cream soda and it even comes in ‘light’ for those watching their sugar intake.   If you are a lover of root beer or Dr. Pepper I am afraid you are out of luck.  Other soft drinks that you can buy in the supermarket, but that aren’t usually available in restaurants are Fanta orange and Canada Dry ginger ale.

Limonada – Limeade

Old-fashion lemonade doesn’t exist in Peru.  Instead, a very common drink here is what we would call limeade in English.  It is like lemonade, only made with limes instead of lemons.  Actually, yellow lemons are not common at all in Peru and are rather difficult to find.  The limes here are the small limes that we call key limes in Canada.  To Peruvians our large, green limes are very strange.  Limes are not only used to make limonada but are also used extensively in cooking, as a garnish and in tea.

Limonada is one of my favorite beverages to order when I am eating out.   It is a little more expensive than soft drinks, but somehow seems like it must be healthier, after all it is made with fruit.  You can order your limonada ‘a tiempo’ (room temperature), ‘helado’ (cold) or ‘frozen’.  Frozen limonada is like a slushy and always costs more.  Limonada can be ordered by the glass or in a jug, which serves about 4 people.

Chicha Morada

I have mentioned Chicha Morada in a previous post.  For those of you who don’t remember, it is a beverage that originated in the Andean region of Peru and is made from purple corn.  The traditional preparation consists of boiling the purple corn in water together with pineapple, cinnamon and cloves.  Once the preparation comes to a boil it is strained and left to chill.  Finally, sugar and lime juice are added.

Chicha can be ordered everywhere either in a glass or a jug.  As with límonada, you can order your chicha helada (cold) or sin helada (not cold).

Jugos – Juices

One of the best things in Peru is the fresh fruit juices.   While a glass a freshly-squeezed orange juice is hard to come by in Canada, here in Peru a wide-variety of fruit juices are easily found in cafes and restaurants.  You can order flavors that would be fairly normal to us in Canada such as orange, strawberry, banana, peach, papaya and pineapple  juice.  However, if you want to be more adventurous and experience something different there are many options.  You can choose from exotic fruit flavors such as guanabana, granadilla, lúcma, tuna and maracuya.

Juices can normally be ordered  in one of the following ways:

  • Basicos – one flavor of fruit only
  • Surtidos – a mix of 2 or more fruits
  • Cremosos – fruit con leche (with milk)
  • Frozen – blended with ice

Prices will vary depending on the place and the type of jugo you order but range they range from S/.5.00 to S/.9.00.   Juices with mixed fruits, milk or frozen are always more expensive.


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