Aguardiente: Colombia's Fire Water

Of course during my recent trip to Colombia I had to find out what their native spirit was. After finally putting my (barely there) Spanish to good use, a local told me about Aguardiente.

What is Aguardiente?

It is Colombia's national liquor and while it is also made in other countries such as Spain, Portugal and others throughout Latin America, Colombia is known for its Aguardiente. Translated to mean "fire water", there are several brands in Colombia with varying degrees of anise, some more fiery or sweet than others.  Colombians drink Aguardiente year-round, but it's especially enjoyed during the holidays.

How is Aguardiente made?

Aguardiente is an anise-flavoured liqueur made from distilled sugar cane and contains between 24%-29% alcohol content.  After the sugar cane is distilled, various amount of aniseed is added, giving it its licorice taste.  To me, liquors made from anise taste exactly like liquid licorice. 

How to Drink Aguardiente

Because of Aguardiente's strong anise flavor, most people drink it without mixing it with juices or other liquors.  So the next time you're in Colombia, order Aguardiente, prepare yourself for the shocked stare you'll get, and then drink away!