Category Archives: Drinks

Just Say NO to Crispy Wine

¿Vino quebradizo?

Chilean Spanish uses lots of words borrowed from other languages, especially English, and, not being a purist, I generally have no problem with that—why would I? English is full of “borrowisms.”

But when it comes to “winespeak,” there’s one misused crossover that drives me up the wall. Wine is not, cannot, and never will be “crispy.” And I’ll tell ya why… Continue reading


Filed under Drinks, Food, Wine

Glossary of Chilean Cuisine

Got an epicurean curiosity about the gastronomic wonders of Chilean cuisine? Here’s a start on your road to becoming a Chilean gastronome, a true “sibarita.”

This glossary will soon appear as a constant at the top of the page and will be updated regularly, so check back frequently!

Asado (ah-SAH-do): Chilean barbecue, more aptly referred to as a meat fest. No hot dogs or hamburgers allowed.

Barros Jarpa (BAH-rros HAR-pa): Hot ham & cheese sandwich.

Barros Luco (BAH-rrohs LOO-ko): Hot beef and cheese sandwich.

Cachaça (kah-CHAH-sa): Brazilian distilled spirit used for making caipirinhas. Popular in Chile.

Caipirinha (ky-peer-EEN-yah): Brazilian cocktail made with cachaça and limes. Refreshing and popular in Chile.

Casera (kah-SAIR-ah): (1) Homemade, as in mermelada casera (homemade jam) or (2) a friendly term used by vendors in the feria to refer to their female customers.

Chela (CHEL-lah): Slang for beer.

Choclo (CHO-klo): Corn for human consumption. Animals eat maíz. The choclo commonly found in Chile is very large with thick kernels, similar to what is called “field corn” in the US.

Cola de Mono (CO-la day MO-no): Alcoholic milk based punch typically served cold at Christmas time.

Completo (kuhm-PLEH-to): Chilean style hot dog loaded with ketchup, mustard, relish, chopped tomato, sauerkraut, pickled green chili pepper, mashed avocado, and mayonnaise.

Empanada (ehm-pah-NAH-da): Typical dish of Spanish origin and a favorite in Chile, especially for Independence Day celebrations (September 18), asados, Sunday dinners, or snacks. They are made of fried or baked dough stuffed most commonly with pino (ground meat mixture) or cheese, but have many variations, such as marisco (shellfish) and others.

For the complete glossary, see the Culinary Glossary above.

Leave a comment

Filed under Drinks, Food


By Margaret Snook, January 25, 2009



Even though caipirinha is Brazil’s national drink, it’s very popular in Chile–and for good reason. It–and the Cuban mojito–are among the most delicious and refreshing cocktails in the world.

Made from cachaça (pronounced kah-CHA-sah), a clear distilled spirit made from sugar cane, and limes, a caipirinha (or 2) has got to be one of the best ways around to beat the heat… And if you ever have the chance to spend the afternoon sipping away on a Brazilian beach, you’ll know you’re one step closer to Nirvana. But watch out, they pack a whallop, so have 3 and you’re on your happy way to hell…

I usually order them dry–as in not sweet. Chileans like everything sweet and bartenders aim to please their public, but if you ask them to go easy on the sugar, they usually comply. These citrusy thirst-quenching drinks go down very easy, which can be dangerous… as in headache in a glass, so here’s a trick I’ve picked up along the way.

I order a bottle of mineral water (light sparkling is nice) and add it to my drink as I go along. Yes, I hear the purists screeching, but hey, I’m pretty thirsty most of the time and when I start drinking alcohol for thirst, I know the next day is going to be a rough one, soooo, to save my head (and my dignity), I add water, which keeps me happily drinking increasingly lighter limeade. And then… if I’m still thirsty, I can do it again!

Do it yourself Caipirinha (serves 1):
Remove the ends and then slice a lime in quarters (or finer). Some people remove the pithy middle.
Toss the lime into an old fashion glass.
Add a spoonful or two of regular white sugar.
Use a muddler (wooden mortar-like bar tool) and mash the fruit and sugar together. Don’t overdo it or the drink will be murky instead of crystal clear.
Fill the glass with crushed ice then add cachaça to taste- at least half the glass, or fill it up if you dare…
Add a couple cocktail straws and you’re good to go!

1 Comment

Filed under Drinks

Cola de Mono: Chile’s True Christmas Spirit!

By Margaret Snook, December 22, 2008

It just wouldn’t be Christmas in Chile without a nice cold glass of Cola de Mono and some Pan de Pascua Christmas bread.

Chilean Christmas comes in the height of summer, with searing heat (90º and up is the norm), so nobody’s thinking about eggnog by the fireplace or spending the day baking cookies, but one Christmas treat that can’t be beat is “Cola de Mono” (Monkey’s Tail), served as cold as possible with the ubiquitous Pan de Pascua (Christmas bread). This milk-based punch is lighter than egg nog and easily made at home (don’t waste your time or money on the far inferior store-bought version!).  Use the recipe below to make up a batch of your own, and check out Cachando Chile for an explanation of its history while you wait for it to chill. There are no great scientific principles at work here; all measurements are to taste.

Step 1- a liter of milk

Step 1- a liter of milk

Start with a liter of milk.  Yes, Chilean milk comes in boxes with a shelflife of about 6 months! (but that’s another story).

Add about 1/4 cup sugar (more or less, depending on your sweet tooth).

Add a cinnamon stick, 3 or 4 whole cloves, some fresh-grated  nutmeg (about 1/4 tsp), a vanilla bean or a couple tsps vanilla extract, fresh lemon or orange peel, and 2-3 tbls ground coffee.

(Yes, I know that most Chilean recipes call for instant Nescafé powder, but have you heard the old expression “Nescafé no es café” ?? Right… use the real stuff).

Cola de Mono Step 2- add the flavorings

Cola de Mono Step 2- add the flavorings

Yes, it looks like a mess at this point!

Bring it to a simmer over gentle heat. Don’t let it boil. You don’t want the milk to scald. Be patient, and stir often.

Once it approaches a boil, turn off the heat, stir well, cover, and let it steep and cool. It should be a nice café con leche color.

Cola de Mono step 3- let it cool

Cola de Mono step 3- let it cool

Drain it carefully and add aguardiente to taste. Don’t use pisco. I’ve tried it; it was dreadful. Rum would work if you don’t have aguardiente brandy. Use at least a cup, more if you like. The alcohol will be less noticeable when cold.

Cola de Mono with Pan de Pascua

Cola de Mono with Pan de Pascua

Voila! Christmas a la Chilena!


Filed under Drinks