Celebrate with these desert cocktails
As mentioned in other articles on our blog, the Atacama Desert is an awesome place with a rich history, surreal landscapes, impressive volcanos and a palpable energy. This special environment has inspired Tomas Poblete, Tierra Atacama’s bartender.
After thorough investigation, consulting many books and publications about autochthonous herbs from the area and having experimented with a variety of techniques, he and his team of bartenders at Tierra Atacama have created delicious High-Altitude Cocktails.
Three ingredients in particular were chosen for these recipes: rica rica, pingo pingo and copa copa. In this other article you can find more information about the many properties of these herbs, which have been used for centuries by the high-plains indigenous people to heal a variety of illnesses.
In this guide, Tomás Poblete teaches us how to prepare each one of these exquisite cocktails from the Tierra Atacama bar and he also gives advice about how to make these at home using ingredient substitutes.
“These Atacama Desert herbs have many properties with health benefits, but these ingredients are also difficult to find in other places. Additionally, they must be used in specific ways in order for their medicinal properties to take effect,” explains Tomás. He adds that there are ways to make something similar at home using other herbs.
Of the three, this herb is found at the lowest altitude, at no more than 3,000 m.a.s.l. We find this herb along the road between the village of Socaire and the Puritama Hot Springs. It has a strong, refreshing smell.
- Whisky glass
- Seasonal fruit (sweet cucumber or prickly pears) and lime
- Crushed ice
- 1 oz. of pisco with mashed rica rica*
- 5 oz. simple syrup
- Rica rica* stem garnish
- Mash the seasonal fruit into the herb-infused pisco.
- Add the syrup and ice.
- Mix for 5 to 10 seconds and then serve it in a whisky glass.
- Garnish with the rica rica* stem.
* Peppermint can be substituted as it is derived from mint and also has medicinal properties.
This infamous herb is found above 3,500 m.a.s.l. It is known as ‘Atacama Viagra’ due to its aphrodisiacal properties. It’s sweet, juicy fruit is edible and its dehydrated stems can be boiled to make simple syrup for cocktails.
- Coupette glass
- 1 oz. pingo pingo syrup*
- 5 oz. lemon
- 5 oz. Araucano bitters
- 5 oz. rum
- Egg white
- Toasted pingo pingo stem garnish*
- Make a pingo pingo syrup by boiling the herb for 5 minutes, then bottling and cooling it.
- Blend the ingredients (except the ice) in a blender. Then add the ice and blend for 5 more seconds.
- Serve in a coupette glass.
- Garnish with the toasted pingo pingo* stem.
* Rosemary can be substituted. This herb is known for its uses in the kitchen as well as its curative medicinal properties.
This herb grows at above 4,200 m.a.s.l. along the road to the high-plains lagoons where Miscanti and Meñiques are located. It especially grows in the villages of Ollagüe and Río Grande. This native bush thrives in low temperatures and its mentholated, bitter smell can be perceived from a distance. It is also known for provoking dreamlike experiences.
- Whiskey glass
- 5 oz. white tequila with mashed copa copa*
- 5 oz. Absinthe
- 5 oz. St. Germain
- 5 oz. Contreau
- 1 oz. fresh orange juice
- Orange peel garnish
- Infuse the herb into the tequila.
- Add the other ingredients and mix for 5 to 10 seconds.
- Serve in a whiskey glass.
- Garnish with a copa copa stem* and orange peel.
*Echinachea can be substituted. This is one of the best plants for stimulating the immune system.
In order to find rica rica, copa copa and pingo pingo herbs, one must leave San Pedro de Atacama and travel into higher altitudes. You can personally discover these places thanks to the special excursions developed by Tierra Atacama guides.
Want to give these cocktails a try? Download this teaching guide so you have this information within reach and can prepare your own high-altitude cocktails, step-by-step, inspired by the Atacama Desert.