Tomando: Kola Escocesa

The word tomando in Spanish literally translates to “taking.” However, here in Peru we use this word for “drinking.”  You “take” juices, coffee, sodas, alcoholic beverages, etc. – and I must say that one of my favorite things about Peru are the drinks.  Since sharing is caring, I wanted to do a series on culturally essential Peruvian drinks. I’ll be sure to link or post recipes when possible so you can enjoy the Peruvian goodies at home in the US. Enjoy!

I had never heard of Kola Escocesa until I made my way down to the southern Peruvian city of Arequipa last weekend. I was chatting with my cab driver on the way to see the historic center when he told me that I had to try Kola Escocesa. What he actually said was, “The rest of Peru drinks Inca Kola, but us, Arequpeños, we drink Kola Escorcesa.”IMG_8564

You see, the people of Arequipa are known for their fierce pride so much so  that some even joke and call it “The Independent Republic of Arequipa.” Knowing this going into my mini-trip, I was definitely not surprised that someone would shun the beloved national soda and put the locally produced drink on a pedestal.

La Bebida de Arequipa was first created around 1950 and ironically enough literally translates to “Scottish Cola.” It is produced locally in a town called Yura outside Arequipa City and uses local mineral water as a part of its recipe so I left Arequipa still really unsure as to where the whole “Scottish” thing comes from. Anyway, it so regional that if you ask outside of Arequipa, a lot of Peruvians will have never even heard of it. So what does this Kola Escocesa taste like?

It tastes like ardent regionalism and the beginnings of a secession…

Nah just kidding, it tastes delightfully fruity and it doesn’t feel  like you’re drowning your teeth in a sugar bath like when you drink Inca Kola. And I honestly like it a lot better than the “golden cola” national favorite. Unfortunately, since Kola Escocesa isn’t widely available in Peru, I doubt that you’ll be able to find it in stores – I couldn’t even find anyone selling it on eBay so you’ll just have to take my word for it. But if you’ve ever had any kind of cherry or black cherry flavored soda, then you’ve pretty much got the gist of this Kola.

Welp, until next time, folks!

If you’re thirsty for more, feel free to check out more delightful Peruvian drinks in the Tomando Series here.




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