Stephanie Alison Walker, playwright of The Abuelas, shares her favorite Argentinian-inspired beverage recipes! A variety of flavors, any one of these delicious (and mostly alcoholic) drinks is sure to be a hit at your next dinner party or BBQ.
In my family, the two most consumed Argentine beverages are mate and Malbec. Mate (pronounced MAH-teh) is the traditional tea made with yerba and served in a gourd with a bombilla (straw.) I’m sure you’ve seen it. Gael García Bernal’s character on Mozart in the Jungle was really into his mate.
If you’ve been to Argentina, you’ve seen it all over.
Malbec – as everyone knows now- is an Argentine red wine. My dad and stepmom had a small wine import business in the 80s. They imported Weinert wine (an Argentine vineyard and also my maiden name, but no familial connection to the vineyard) exclusively to Chicago.
This was before Argentine wines were on every menu and Malbec wasn’t a very well-known variety. Every family gathering at my dad and stepmom’s included Weinert Malbec.
Special occasions, particularly during the summer, included Clericó, often referred to as white Sangria. It’s white wine mixed with fruit and sugar. It’s commonly served at Christmas and New Year celebrations in Argentina. Growing up, I remember Clericó being a part of summer barbeques at my dad’s and stepmom’s. Since The Abuelas is set in February, which is summer in Argentina, I thought it would be fun to share this Argentine beverage with you.
Making Clericó is very easy and doesn’t really require a hard and fast recipe. It’s kind of like… gather your fruit, wash it, chop it, put it in a pitcher. Then add a chilled bottle of white wine, a spoonful of sugar (or more depending on how sweet you want it), stir until the sugar dissolves, then chill in the fridge. That’s it. Once it’s nice and cold, serve it in a wine glass and enjoy!
What kind of fruit?
*optional… really whatever fruit you want.
What kind of white wine to use? Try to find Torrontes, if you can. It’s a white Argentine grape variety that produces a fresh wine.
If you’re looking for a typical Argentine cocktail that isn’t wine-based, I have four words for you: Fernet con Coca Cola.
Mozart in the Jungle photo courtesy of misionesonline.net