Beers , wines and spirits are served in almost every bar, café or restaurant at any time, but there is a deposit on taking beer bottles out (canned beer is one of the worst inventions to hit Peru this century – some of the finest beaches are littered with empty cans).
Most Peruvian beer – except for cerveza malta (black malt beer) – is bottled lager almost exclusively brewed to five percent, and extremely good. In Lima the two main beers are Cristal and Pilsen. Cuzqueña (from Cusco) is one of the best and by far the most popular at the moment, but not universally available; you won’t find it on the coast in Trujillo, for example, where they drink Trujillana, nor are you likely to encounter it in every bar in Arequipa where, not surprisingly perhaps, they prefer to drink Arequipeña beer. You can usually buy Cuzqueña in Lima though. Soft drinks range from mineral water, through the ubiquitous Coca Cola and Fanta, to home-produced novelties like the gold-coloured Inca Cola, with rather a homemade taste, and the red, extremely sweet Cola Inglesa. Fruit juices ( jugos), most commonly papaya or orange, are prepared fresh in most places, and you can get coffee and a wide variety of herb and leaf teas almost anywhere. Surprisingly, for a good coffee-growing country, the coffee in cafés and restaurants leaves much to be desired, commonly prepared from either café pasado (previously passed or percolated coffee mixed with hot water to serve) or simple powdered Nescafé. You have to search out the odd café, which you’ll find in most larger towns, which prepares good fresh espresso, cappuccino or filtered coffee.
Peru has been producing wine ( vino) for over four hundred years, but with one or two exceptions it is not that good. Among the better ones are Vista Alegre ( tipo familiar) – not entirely reliable but only around $1 a bottle – and Tacama Gran Vino Blanco Reserva Especial, about $7 or $8 a bottle. A good Argentinian or Chilean wine will cost from $10 upwards.
As for spirits , Peru’s main claim to fame is Pisco. This is a white grape brandy with a unique, powerful and very palatable flavour – the closest equivalent elsewhere is probably tequila. Almost anything else is available as an import – Scotch whisky is cheaper here than in the UK – but beware of the really cheap imitations which can remove the roof of your mouth with ease. The jungle regions produce cashassa, a sugar-cane rum also called aguardiente, which has a distinctive taste and is occasionally mixed with different herbs, some medicinal. Whilst it goes down easily, it’s incredibly strong stuff and leaves you with a very sore head the next morning.

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