If you are visiting Colombia don’t forget to try traditional Colombian drinks. We look at 13 popular Colombian drinks you should try while in Colombia.

Colombian cuisine is diverse and in Colombia there is a wide variety of hot and cold Colombian drinks for any occasion.

Each Colombian drink has its time of the day. Some accompany breakfast or snacks, while others are typically drunk alone, or at night only. The following list of 13 popular Colombian drinks is in alphabetical order.

Aguapanela with cheese, photo by William Neuheisel

Aguapanela with cheese, photo by William Neuheisel

1. Aguapanela

This is a traditional drink in Colombia that is often made in large batches to keep at home. Aguapanela (sugarcane water) is made by dissolving a large piece of panela that comes from sugarcane, which looks like a big block of hard brown sugar.

This is made by mixing about 2.5 parts of hot water to panela, melted in a pot. It can be served either hot or cold with normally some lime juice squeezed in.

Aguardiente Antioqueño

Aguardiente Antioqueño

2. Aguardiente

Aguardientes are strong alcoholic beverages that is an anise-flavored liquor derived from sugar cane. Aguardiente in Colombia has 24 to 29 percent alcohol content. Aguardiente is considered Colombia’s national alcoholic drink.

By adding different amounts of aniseed, different flavors can be obtained, leading to extensive marketing and fierce competition between brands in Colombia. Other anise-flavored liqueurs similar to aguardiente, but with a lower alcohol content, are also sold.

In Medellín, the most popular is the Antioqueño brand of aguardiente. The drink is typically enjoyed straight or with a little water.

Avena Colombiana

Avena Colombiana

3. Avena Colombiana

This drink is made of oats, milk, water, cinnamon, cloves and sugar. Avena means oats and avena is a Colombian drink that I have heard some foreigners call it an oat shake.

This traditional Colombian drink has a rich, creamy texture and it is often consumed at breakfast. But it can be served any time of the day.

Champús, photo courtesy of Champus Albita

Champús, photo courtesy of Champus Albita

4. Champús

Although the word “champú” literally mean shampoo, this drink is much tastier than what you wash your hair with.

Champús is made with a mixture of fruits including pineapple and lulos (also known as naranjilla), dried corn, cinnamon, cloves, panela and lots of ice.

This is a traditional cold drink from the Valle del Cauca department of Colombia. And this is one of the most popular lulo drinks in Colombia and it is served at family get-togethers, during lunch and sometimes at Christmas.

Chicha served at the yearly "Fiesta del Huán" in Boyacá, Colombia, photo by Tisquesusa

Chicha served at the yearly “Fiesta del Huán” in Boyacá, Colombia, photo by Tisquesusa

5. Chicha

This is a fermented drink traditionally made in a clay pot with corn and pineapple and sweetened with panela (hard brown cane sugar). You can find chicha being sold in the streets.

Corn and pineapple together make this a delicious drink and sometime you will find it being sold with cinnamon sticks.

A traditional breakfast from Colombia - hot chocolate, cheese (mozzarella), and two kinds of bread, photo by Peter Angritt

A traditional breakfast from Colombia – hot chocolate, cheese (mozzarella), and two kinds of bread, photo by Peter Angritt

6. Chocolate Con Queso

This popular Colombian drink is served for breakfast or for a snack. This hot chocolate drink with queso (cheese) is heavy enough for some to be considered a meal.

Colombians normally take the cheese and put it in the cup of chocolate and enjoy it once melted. Chocolate con queso is normally accompanied by a cheesy bread or arepa.

This is a chocolaty drink but is can be combined with cinnamon and sugar giving it a slight sweetness.

One of the most well-known coffee shops in Medellín is Pergamino

One of the most well-known coffee shops in Medellín is Pergamino

7. Colombian Coffee

No list of Colombian drinks would be complete without coffee. It may not be a surprise to many that coffee is the one of the largest exports in Colombia. One could say that coffee is synonymous with Colombia. And Colombia’s climate makes it a perfect place to grow these magical little beans.

Beware of the tintos that you’ll see people drinking in little plastic cups everywhere, it is pretty terrible. It’s made from the defective beans that aren’t export-worthy.

Instead look for better quality coffee that you can find in many coffee shops in Medellín. We previously looked at five best coffee shops in El Poblado and the eight best coffee shops in Laureles.

Colombiana soda

Colombiana soda

8. Colombian Sodas

Just about every country has its favorite domestic sodas and Colombia is no different. Unlike the U.S. with Coke and Pepsi, in Colombia there is one dominant soda brand – Postobón.

Postobín is far and away the most popular brand of soda in Colombia and it is one of the large beverage companies in South America.

Flavors of Postobón soda include apple, grape, orange, lemon and pineapple. Also, there is the popular Colombiana soda from Postobón that has been called a “cola champagne”.

Mango and Guanábana juices, photo by Xemenendura

Mango and Guanábana juices, photo by Xemenendura

9. Fruit Juices

Due to the region’s abundance of fresh tropical fruits on hand, it is no surprise juices are a cornerstone of the Colombian diet. From the local mercado (market) to specialized stands , to every restaurant menu, you don’t have to go far to find jugos (fruit juice).

Limonado de Coco, photo courtesy of Il Forno

Limonado de Coco, photo courtesy of Il Forno

10. Limonada de Coco

This coconut limeade drink is popular on the Atlantic coast of Colombia including the cities on Barranquilla, Cartagena and Santa Marta.

Limonada de Coco is a popular and delicious beverage that is made in a blender with fresh coconut milk, fresh lime juice, ice, and sugar to taste. This drink is also made into popsicles.

If you visit the Atlantic coast in Colombia, you will find limonada de coco being sold in many places.

Lulada

Lulada

11. Lulada

This is a cold, refreshing drink originating from the Valle del Cauca department of Colombia. Lulado is made with mashed lulos, lime juice, water, sugar and ice.

Lulo is one of the many exotic tropical fruits of Colombia. Lulo looks like an orange from the outside and more like a translucent tomato on the inside.

Lulado normally has the consistency of a smoothie and is a perfect combination of sweet and tart. Also, vodka can be added to step it up a notch.

Masato de Arroz

Masato de Arroz

12. Masato de Arroz

This is an ancestral drink of Colombia, especially from the Andean region, which was produced long before the arrival of the Spanish.

Its preparation consists of preparing a syrup, consisting of cloves and cinnamon, to which corn and soft rice are added. Subsequently, the preparation is strained to remove the grains, and it is typically served very cold.

Refajo with beer

Refajo with beer

13. Refajo

This is a mixed cocktail made with Colombiana (a soda made with tamarindo) and beer, aguardiente or rum.

This is a bittersweet and refreshing cocktail and it is typically served or ice and it often is garnished with orange or lime wedges.

Medellin Guru’s Guide to Colombian Food and Drinks

On the Medellin Guru website, we have six articles covering Colombian food and drinks:

  1. 15 Traditional Colombian Food Dishes You Must Try in Colombia
  2. 14 Popular Colombian Desserts You Must Try While in Colombia
  3. 30 Exotic Tropical Fruits of Colombia a Fruit Lovers Paradise
  4. 13 Traditional Colombian Drinks to Try When You Visit
  5. 11 Popular Colombian Soups to Try When You Visit Colombia
  6. 9 Colombian Street Food Options You Really Must Try

The Bottom Line: Popular Colombian Drinks to Try When You Visit

The Colombian drinks in this article are some of the most popular drinks that you are likely to encounter in Colombia.

Many of the restaurants in Colombia will have several of these drinks available. So, when you go to a restaurant you will have a choice of Colombian drinks to try. And if you want to try more of Colombia’s cuisine, see our article about 15 traditional Colombian food dishes.

How many of the above Colombian drinks have you tried? And do you see any popular Colombian drinks we missed?  Please let us know in the comments below.

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