Argentina is famed for its celebration of the simplest of life’s pleasures: dining. While the ubiquitous Argentine parilla is a staple experience of any trip to Argentina, the range of delicious alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages made here deserves some attention. From mate to Malbec, let us introduce you to the most delectable Argentina drinks that’ll give you a taste of this country’s distinctive flavor.
The tastiest Argentina drinks:
The most iconic and arguably most important of all Argentina drinks, mate is a naturally caffeinated, bitter assembly of dried herbs steeped into hot water. Mate is such a significant feature of Argentine culture that it must be drunk from a specific cup: a special gourd – the hard exterior of a hollowed out plant such as the butternut squash – and drunk through a metal straw known as a bombilla.
Argentina’s national drink is as much a social activity as one to slate your thirst; customarily drunk with friends, the gourd is filled with the herbs and boiled water and initially drunk by the brewer. They fill it back up with water before passing it to another person and the drink makes its way around the group in this fashion.
- The quintessential of all Argentina drinks, it’s possible to purchase a specialty gourd, bombilla and yerba mate anywhere in the country.
Wine, and more specifically Malbec, is another symbol of Argentina and one that you can’t miss when travelling and dining in this country. A companion to the similarly ubiquitous parrilla, red wine is most famously cultivated in the terroirs of Mendoza, a city and wine-growing region due west of Buenos Aires.
Vineyards blanket terrain situated at heights of up to to 3,600 ft. (1,100m) above sea level and tours around local wineries allow you to sample the fruity blackberry and plum notes of the Argentine Malbec on its home turf.
- Luján de Cuyo, the valley in the Mendoza region most famous for its Malbecs, is home to Ruca Malen. This award-winning winery has five-course lunch menus with wine pairings.
The Calafate berry, a fruit similar in flavor to the blueberry, has become one of the symbols of Patagonia, where it grows in the semi-arid soils of the region. With widely-acknowledged super-fruit properties thanks to its high antioxidant content, it has also been a longstanding ingredient in pies, jams and ice creams in Patagonia.
Calafate liqueur is also perfect for making a twist on the South American classic, the pisco sour. By using pisco from Chile’s Elqui Valley, freshly-squeezed lemon juice, sugar, ice and Calafate liqueur to taste, you create a fruity new take on this cocktail.
But be careful when trying this fruit: it’s said that anyone who tastes the Calafate berry must return to Patagonia!
- Sample Calafate sours in bars throughout Patagonia.
- Make it yourself by purchasing Calafate liqueur from Estancia El Tranquilo in the centre of El Calafate.
Micro-breweries in Argentine Patagonia have been at the centre of a craft beer revolution that has seen both sides of the Patagonian border embrace the possibilities of the humble hop. From strawberry-infused ale, to English pale, IPA and cream stout, beer has never before taken such a significant platform in the Argentine alcohol scene – a fact that is rapidly changing. Join the revolution by sampling Argentina’s trendiest new tipple.
- El Bolsón or nearby Bariloche are the locations of Argentina’s tastiest brews and where microbreweries jostle for space along lake-fronted streets.
- Venture to the ends of the world in Ushuaia. Here, the world’s southernmost brewery, Cerveceria Beagle makes beer from the meltwater of nearby glaciers.