Chicha de Jora (Corn Beer)

An Incan tradition

Hailing from Peru, and having existed since the Inca Empire, Chicha de Jora is a corn beer. It’s a drink very popular in Latin America, and is enjoyed both ceremonially and leisurely.

What to know

TASTING NOTES FROM THE CURATOR

Chicha is any fermented drink from Latin America, sometimes it’s alcoholic, and sometimes not. Chicha de Jora, in particular, is an alcoholic drink with fairly low alcohol content. It’s made with maize jora, and is pale straw yellow in color, with a milky appearance.

It’s tasty and refreshing, with a nutty, tangy flavor, similar to apple cider, and a slightly sour aftertaste. It’s also said to have anti-inflammatory properties on the prostate, and properties against heart disease.

PREPARATION AND PAIRINGS

This traditional Peruvian corn beer has such a low alcoholic content that it can definitely be enjoyed on its own. It’s a refreshing drink for hot days, but drinking too much will still get you a little tipsy.

You can pair Chicha de Jora with any meal, and its tangy flavor works well with savory foods like barbeques and grilled meats.

A SACRED DRINK

An important beverage since the days of the Inca Empire, legend goes that it was created by a happy accident. During the time of Inca Tupac Yupanqui, the silos in which they stored their corn was spoiled by heavy rains, fermenting the grains within.

It was thrown away, but a starving local found it and drank all of it, getting fairly drunk as a result. It eventually became the beverage of Inca nobility, and used in many important and sacred ceremonies. Women are traditionally (and sacredly) the brewers of Chicha de Jora, and in the Inca Empire, were taught the techniques in special schools called Aqlla Wasi.

Today, Chicha de Jora is drunk by everyone and anyone. Found in small towns, usually in places called “chicherias.” It still also serves as ceremonial beverage though, offered during festivities to honor Incas like Inti Raymi.

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