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! 


Cartagena: A Photo Essay

As my love for travel continues to flourish by the minute, hour, day, and image, I’ve begun looking beyond the common destinations that are sought after most by tourists. Don’t get me wrong, I want to see as much of the free world I can fit into my lifetime and a good chunk of those places are the popular locales that appear on numerous social media feeds and TV screens daily. But every once and a while, it’s good to explore somewhere off the beaten path that can give a more authentic experience, sans the blanket of over-commercialism and tourist traps.  Enter Cartagena.

The city, located on the Carribean coast of Colombia, is brimming with as much charm as there are colors bursting throughout the streets. The oft-imprinted image of the city as a land of illicit criminal activity was not evidenced during my visit. Instead, I observed a quaint town full of history and vibrancy, not once feeling my safety in jeopardy.

It’s the perfect place to vacation, throwing itineraries to the wind. The Walled City (where tourists primarily stay) is completely walkable. You’ll find beauty and culture amongst the colonial architecture, massive churches, and edifying museums. Take a break from sauntering the cobblestoned streets and muggy weather to enjoy some fresh seafood or a cool mojito at any of the various cafes and restaurants.

And if you want a break from the city life, make arrangements to hop a boat in the early morning to escape to the aquatic paradise that is the Islas del Rosario, an archipelago comprised of 30 islands off the coast of Cartagena. As you can see, there’s a little bit of everything. Perhaps I can show you better than I can tell you. I hereby present to you “Cartagena: A Photo Essay”:

Taking it all in.

typical beach meal consisting of red snapper, coconut rice, and plantain chips. Yum!

visit to the Baru village to view the local way of life.

A Palenquera woman prepares her fruit basket.

ne of my favorite houses along the streets of Cartagena.

ne of the many street art displays in the Getsemani district.

orre del Reloj, or Clock Tower, the main gateway to the walled city.

”La Gorda” statue by renowned sculptor Fernando Botero that sits in Plaza de Santo Domingo.

lter inside Catedral de San Pedro Claver.

he beach on Gente de Mar Resort, located in the Islas del Rosario.

view of the Bocagrande district during takeoff. Hasta la proxima, Cartagena!

Andrea Williams
Follow Andrea on Instagram to see more pictures from her trip.