Not all of history is found in textbooks. Sometimes what you need is a taste of history. And what better way to taste history than through a region’s drinks?
If you want a different perspective on history and culture, join us in our downtown Pub Crawl Tour! As a group, we will visit local establishments and have a drink at each. Each establishment specializes in several local beverages, each with it’s their own tale.
To start off our tour, we will have a taste of the local, indigenous beverages. Although somewhat displaced by Western-style alcohols in cities, some regions of Colombia keep a strong attachment to their ancestral beverages.
Chicha is the most well-known: a ferment maize drink, with a history that ties it to local acculturation of indigenous communities. But there’s also guarapo and chirrinchi. Both drinks fermented from a sugar derivate called panela, but with distinct fermentation processes and traditions.
Then we will stop and try canelazo. More than another liquor, canelazo is a hot-brew of aguardiente, panela, cinnamon, and local herbs. Popular in the mountainous regions of Colombia, it is often as important as coffee in the morning to get the day started.
We will follow up with chapil. Like canelazo, this is a hot-brew but with a stronger herbal component: leaves of Guayusa. Depending on the regions, locals add either chirrinchi or guarapo to add alcohol to the brew, but it is consumed as a medicine around Colombia’s border with Ecuador.
Finally, we will see how Colombia has given its own twist to Western drinks. First, we will visit a local micro-brewery and learn how beer was introduced to the country. The history of beer is closely related to the history of chicha and its gradual displacement from popular consumption.
Then, we will finish up with something newer: Lulo Vodka. Vodka is one of the most popular cocktails alcohols, probably because most of it is unflavored. But its flavored varieties have been quite the hit. And here you can try vodka with a Colombian twist: lulo, a fruit that grows in Panama, Colombia, and Ecuador. Its distinct citrus flavor is often described as a mix between rhubarb and lime.
Our journey from fermented to distilled drinks ends here, hopefully giving you an understanding of Colombia culture and history through its beverages. From here, you can jump-start your night. Don’t hesitate to ask the tour guide what the recommended local bars and clubs are.