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.
n this list you will also find soft drinks, juices and liqueurs. For example, in Colombia, according to the Ministerio de salud (Ministry of Health), around 61% of the general population consume alcoholic beverages. While, around 50 liters of soda and only 5 liters of juice are ingested per year.
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.
This drink is usually a good accompaniment for breakfast or dinner.
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. And it is usually taken at celebrations or meetings.
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.
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.
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.
You will find this Colombian drink in two presentations, with and without alcohol.
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.
For example, in Medellín you can find in Las Palmas, many places where they sell this drink while you enjoy the beautiful view of the city.
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. According to the Federación de Cafeteros (Federation of Coffee Growers) between 90 and 95% of Colombian coffee is exported to other countries.
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.
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.
Postobon 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”.
Generally, prominent figures from Colombia have lent their image to advertising campaigns for this drink, some like Juanes, James Rodríguez and the most recent, Karol G.
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. In fact, Colombia has around 433 different fruit species, so every day of the year, you could try a different one if you wanted to.
From the local mercado (market) to specialized stands , to every restaurant menu, you don’t have to go far to find jugos (fruit juice).
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.
There is no specific time to drink this, it is always a good time.
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.
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.
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:
- 16 Traditional Colombian Food Dishes You Must Try in Colombia
- 16 Colombian Street Food Options You Really Must Try
- 18 Popular Colombian Desserts You Must Try While in Colombia
- 30 Exotic Tropical Fruits of Colombia a Fruit Lovers Paradise
- 13 Traditional Colombian Drinks to Try When You Visit
- 12 Popular Colombian Soups to Try When You Visit Colombia
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 16 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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Editors note: updated on June 21, 2023 with new data on colombian drinks.