10 wine cocktails with Chilean spirit (and spirits)

These drinks range from the traditional to the ingenious, with touches of European heritage and a Chilean sensibility.

A creative twist on the Chilean classic: borgoña, with strawberries and other dark berries. (Photo by dinnerseries/Flickr)
A creative twist on the Chilean classic: borgoña, with strawberries and other dark berries. (Photo by dinnerseries/Flickr)

In the land of wine, ingenious mixologists keep coming up with more and more creative uses for the country’s most celebrated spirit. Here, we’ve compiled 10 tried-and-true cocktail recipes employing Chilean reds, whites, bubblies, and local variations of grape ferments like vino añejo and chicha.

Chile’s iconic mixed drink – the Terremoto, or “earthquake” – is ubiquitous during Independence Day celebrations on September 18 and 19, but it’s possible to enjoy a pitcher year-round at the Santiago institution, La Piojera.

To make your own batch of Terremotos, you’ll need the following:
– 1 bottle of white wine or vino pipeño (a sweet, homemade wine sold in plastic jugs, and similar to chicha – see Chicha Sour)
– 2 parts of fernet, rum, cognac OR pisco
– 2 scoops of pineapple ice cream

Mix the wine and liquor of choice thoroughly in a one-liter jar, then add ice cream. Serve immediately with a straw.

Ponche a la Romana
The best way to ring in the New Year, Chilean style, is with a brimming glass of Ponche a la Romana – sparkling wine with a scoop of pineapple ice cream. It’s sweet, delicious, and one of the many colorful New Year’s traditions in Chile, so you’ll be in good company as you toast the new year (and rue the next morning).

Ponche (also, Clery)
New Year’s Eve kicks off the summer, and for the rest of the warm months, it will be easy to find Ponche – white wine with diced peaches. To get the best flavor, mix the peaches into the wine and let sit for 12 hours. Canned peaches are generally used, but for that fresh peach flavor, dice a ripe peach and strain before serving. Serve cold.

Another variation – especially popular in the Chilean countryside – is called Clery, which is white wine with fresh strawberries.

Melón con Vino
Another summertime staple, Melón con Vino is just what it says – melon with wine. The trick is the serving method: carefully slice off the top of a round melon, scoop out the seeds, and fill with white wine. Stick in a straw, and pass around. The melon can be reused throughout the day, and is a staple on beaches throughout the central coast – just make sure to protect it from the sand!

Borgoña is another lovely pairing of Chilean wine and fruit, this time with red wine – we like it with Chile’s classic varietal Carmenere – and fresh strawberries. Chop up the strawberries (you can also add blueberries and raspberries, if you’re feeling daring) and place in a glass jug. Pour red wine over the strawberries and let sit for several hours, or serve immediately. Some like to add sugar to taste.

Nothing beats the winter cold like a steaming mug of Navegado – a delicious mulled wine served throughout Chile’s southern regions as the temperatures begin to drop. As with most great recipes, everyone has their own, but this as a basic framework.

– 1 bottle/box of red wine (the alcohol boils off and the liquid will reduce considerably, so there’s no reason to use something fancy)
– ⅓ cup of orange juice
– ½ cup of sugar (or less, to taste)
– Cinnamon sticks (one or two, to taste)
– Cloves (five or six, to taste)
– Orange slices – enough to cover most of the surface area of the pot

Once the wine has reached a simmer, it’s ready to serve hot in tea cups or mugs. Letting the wine simmer longer will result in a thicker, more syrupy – and less alcoholic drink – and infuse your house with the delicious smell of spices and orange.

An old-school Chilean “energy drink,” farmers in the central valley historically drank Chupilca midway through the day to keep up their strength, with a simple preparation of red wine, toasted flour and a little sugar. The toasted flour – harina tostada – gives a nice, porridge-like consistency to the drink, which is usually slurped with a spoon. If you’ve missed the chance to try it out on the farm, pour yourself a half glass of wine and mix with a spoonful of flour.

Jote (also, Chincol and Chuflay)
Perhaps the least glamorous of the wine cocktails, it’s only fitting that the Jote is named for the black buzzard – a distinctly inglorious bird. Still, if you’re trying to liven up some bad box wine (obviously not Chilean), there’s no better cure than the Jote: mixing wine with Coca Cola.

The drink has spawned countless spin-offs, including Chincol – red wine and 7-Up – and Chuflay – white wine and Bilz y Pap. Beer drinkers, be sure to try the inimitable Fanschop as well, a combination of orange Fanta and “schop” or draft beer.

Chicha Sour
Of course, you’ve heard of the Pisco Sour. The famous national drink of both Chile and Peru (with contested origins), a Pisco Sour mixes lemon, amaretto and egg white with distilled grape brandy, or pisco. If you haven’t tried one yet, you’ve likely never visited Chile.

A Chicha Sour uses the same main ingredients, but adds one of the Chilean countryside’s best home-brewed wine alternatives: sweet chicha, a bubbly, young fermentation of grapes, usually bottled in five-liter plastic jugs and sold at produce stands in the central valley.

To make a Chicha Sour, you’ll need the following:
– 3 oz of pisco
– 1 oz of “jarabe” – a thick syrup made from chicha. Try your local feria, or outdoor market.
– 1 oz of lemon juice
– 1 oz of chicha morada
– 1 tspn egg white*
– 4 ice cubes
– 2 drops of amaretto

Mix the pisco, jarabe, lemon juice, chicha morada and egg white vigorously in a blender or a cocktail shaker, until the egg white begins to foam. Pour into a cold cocktail glass, add the ice cubes and two drops of amaretto, and serve cold.

The classy, older gentleman’s aperitif of choice, Vainas are typically offered before or after a long, luxurious meal in finer establishments, poured into tiny cocktail glasses or champagne flutes.

To make your own, you’ll need the following:
– 1.4 oz. vino añejo (aged wine, similar to port)
– 1 oz. cognac
– 1 oz. crème de cacao
– 3 tspn. sugar
– 1 egg yolk*
– ⅓ c. crushed ice
– Cinnamon

Mix the vino añejo, cognac, crème de cacao, sugar and egg yolk in a blender. Add ice once the yolk is thoroughly mixed with the liquors. Serve and garnish with a sprinkling of cinnamon.

*A note on using raw egg in cocktails
Both the Chicha Sour and the Vaina use raw egg in their preparation. Raw egg can make you sick, especially if the eggs were not stored properly, so be careful where you order these drinks, or where you store your eggs. We’ve found that the drink pretty much tastes the same without egg – it just loses its pretty foam. Please prepare with care.