Nestled in the heart of South America, Paraguay is a land of rich cultural traditions, indigenous influences, and a diverse culinary scene. When it comes to beverages, Paraguay proudly presents a myriad of non-alcoholic options that capture its essence. Dive in as we explore the top 5 non-alcoholic cocktails hailing from the vibrant Paraguayan landscape.
1. Tereré: Arguably Paraguay’s national drink, Tereré is an iced version of mate, a traditional herbal tea. Made by infusing yerba mate leaves in cold water, it is typically served in a hollowed-out bull’s horn, called a guampa, with a metal straw. Often, medicinal herbs are added for flavor and therapeutic properties, making it a revitalizing drink perfect for Paraguay’s hot climate.
2. Cocido: Another take on the beloved yerba mate, Cocido is a warm version where mate leaves are first roasted over hot coals until they’re browned. The toasted leaves are then steeped in hot water. Sometimes milk and sugar are added, turning it into ‘Cocido con Leche’, a sweet, comforting brew especially favored during cooler mornings.
3. Mosto: A popular sugarcane juice, Mosto is often enjoyed fresh. The sugarcane stalks are pressed to extract their sweet, grassy juice, which is then usually boiled down into a thick syrup called ‘miel de caña’ (sugarcane honey). As a drink, Mosto is served chilled with a squeeze of lime, offering a refreshing escape from the tropical heat.
4. Mbeju: While technically more of a food than a drink, Mbeju is a traditional Paraguayan starch cake that’s often paired with a beverage. Made from cassava flour and cheese, these flatbreads are perfect when paired with coffee or cocido. Though not a drink, no list about Paraguayan refreshments is complete without this iconic snack.
5. Refresco de Maíz Morado (Purple Corn Refreshment): This deep purple drink is made from the boiled kernels of purple corn, flavored with pineapple rinds and spices like cloves and cinnamon. The result is a fragrant, slightly tart, and brilliantly colored beverage. While it has its roots in Andean culture, it has found its place in Paraguay’s rich tapestry of drinks.
Paraguay’s non-alcoholic drinks narrate tales of its indigenous roots, Spanish influences, and adaptability to its tropical climate. Whether sipping on the cold Tereré under a blazing sun or cozying up with a cup of Cocido, each beverage offers a unique window into the country’s soul. So, whether you’re traversing Paraguay’s red dirt roads or attending a Paraguayan cultural festival, ensure you indulge in these authentic non-alcoholic marvels.