Argentina is known for its good meat, and in general, you eat very well in this beautiful country! Beverages, however, are also very distinctive and have a great impact on Argentine cuisine and culture. Some drinks from Argentina are known beyond the country’s borders and are also highly appreciated abroad. Here are some of the most renowned Argentine drinks:
Probably the most typical drink in Argentina is the mate drink, which is most often seen on the streets of Argentina in everyday life. Originally produced by the indigenous population, the drink was already an important asset at that time. The plant and its leaves were also used for rituals and as a means of payment. The mate drink is prepared from leaves of the yerba mate bush in a hot infusion, similar to tea, in a special ritual and drunk in the mate vessel with a metal stalk.
Mate is a very traditional drink in Argentina. Unlike tea or coffee, which are often shared but consumed individually, mate is a drink that is usually shared with others: the vessel is passed around and everyone drinks from it. It gives the ritual of drinking mate an important social meaning.
Wine plays a very special role in Argentina, as since 2013 a law has declared Argentine wine to be the national drink. Argentina is thus the only country in the world where wine has been declared a national drink
However, the history of wine in Argentina is much older, the first vine was planted in Santiago del Estero in 1556. It was not until about three hundred years later that production and consumption expanded beyond the region and internationally.
Today, Argentine wine is probably the country’s best-known international beverage. It is mainly cultivated in the Andes region. Argentina, now the sixth-largest wine producer in the world and the largest wine producer in Latin America, grows a variety of grapes in the Cuyo region alone, such as Malbec, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Merlot. These are made into delicious wines in over 1000 wineries.
Wine has an important socio-cultural significance in Argentina, so much so that the “Day of Argentine Wine” has been celebrated on 24 November since 2010.
Also very popular , especially for parties and in bars, is the Fernet drink. Although the taste of Fernet can take some getting used to, as a cocktail in a mixture of Fernet and Coca-Cola, it is a very popular drink among Argentines: it is, in fact, the third most consumed drink in Argentina – after beer and wine.
Fernet is so popular as a drink in Argentina that currently about 75% of the world’s Fernet production is drunk in Argentina.
However, the drink originated in Milan, Italy, where fernet – made from herbs – was used as a medicinal remedy for digestive problems. From there, it came to Argentina with Italian immigrants.
According to tradition, the term fernet derives from the Milanese phrase “fer net” (polished iron), which suggests the iron plate that was used to make the liquor at the time.
One of the most popular drinks in Latin America is “chicha”, a drink fermented from corn, which also has its origins in the indigenous population of Argentina.
Preparation and consumption are still very common in the northwest of the country. In prehispanic times, the drink of chicha was made with a high alcohol content, and therefore produced a considerable state of drunkenness, and was used by the indigenous population in a ritual during various religious ceremonies.
Chicha can be prepared in different ways, mainly distinguished between two methods: the traditional and the modern way. Today, the drink is still popular in Argentina and often drunk alongside beer and wine with friends or family during festivals and rituals in the Andes.
It is also traditional to bless Mother Earth (Pachamama) with chicha or alcohol to nourish her and give thanks for the food provided, the harvest and the reproduction of animals. This belief in Pachamama is widespread among the inhabitants of the valleys, ravines and punas of Jujuy.
Argentina also has many types of beer, of course, which the population drinks a lot. Usually, beer is sold in the city’s bars and restaurants in larger bottles, either three-quarter or one-litre bottles, to share with friends or family during a meal.
The most common beer is lager, which is offered by numerous companies; craft beer and other types of beer are often only distributed by small breweries. These are of the highest quality, however, as Argentine craft beers are among the most sought-after in America and often stand out with awards at international beer tastings. One of the most important centres for Argentine craft beer is the city of “San Carlos de Bariloche”, where stout and ale beers are produced.
Beer occupies a top position in Argentina with 41-45 litres of beer consumed per person per year: it is the most drunk beverage in Argentina. Worldwide, Argentina ranks 72nd in terms of beer consumption. The beer tradition in Argentina began in the middle of the 18th century, when the first beer trader started his activities in Buenos Aires.
The “submarino” (submarine) is also a typical traditional drink in Argentina. It is served in a long glass with very hot milk into which a piece of a (dark) chocolate bar is dipped. This is then melted while stirring with a long spoon. When stirred, the mixture becomes hot chocolate and leaves a deposit of melted chocolate at the bottom of the cup. The Submarino is a very popular drink with children, but also with adults.
Another typical Argentinian drink is Añapa. The special thing about this drink is that it is not industrially produced, and is usually made at home on the basis of the pod of the “algarrobo blanco” (sweet pod tree) and milk or water. This drink also has its origins in the indigenous population of Argentina.
The Añapa drink is pleasantly sweet and refreshing, contains no alcohol, and can therefore be drunk by both adults and children. The drink is usually drunk as a dessert.
There are many more traditional drinks in Argentina just waiting to be discovered! There is sure to be something for everyone!