For this week’s Friday tipple we’ve gone for something a bit different: a warm ‘cocktail’ which is popular in the cool highlands of Ecuador, Colombia and – to a lesser extent – Peru.
Canelazo draws its name from the canela, or cinnamon, which is mixed with boiling water and sugar to provide its distinctive spicy flavour. The cup may be steaming, but Canelazo’s real heat comes from the cane spirit known as aguardiente (literally ‘fire water’) which is the other lynchpin of this drink.
These four simple ingredients may be all that’s required to make a basic Canelazo, but most places offer a few twists to the standard script. Cloves are a festive addition – especially around Christmas when the drink is very popular – while blending the drink with naranjilla (a small, sweet orange), mora (mulberry) or maracuya (passion fruit) juice makes it more of a cocktail and less of a toddy.
Be sure to try Canelazo when you’re in Quito. It’s sold by street vendors throughout the city, and most of the cafes and restaurants in La Ronda serve it too. Quito is chilly all year round, and there’s nothing like a Canelazo or three to remind you that you’re pretty much slap bang on top of the Equator.