Drinking in Uruguay


When the temperatures drop, Uruguayans get out the grappamiel, considered the national libation. A tradition imported from Italy, grappa is distilled from what remains after the wine leaves the barrel. In Uruguay, honey (miel) is added in the process. Grappamiel is sold as is or produced with a wide range of flavor additives, everything from chocolate to almond to chamomile. Visitors who travel to Uruguay encountering Grappamiel Serrana, Grappamiel Selerno, Grappamiel Don Carmelo, Grappamiel Vesubio and Grappamiel Victoria will have to ask for a translation to learn what flavoring has been added, and can expect to find grappamiel in bars year round.

Like the citizens of neighboring Argentina and Brazil, Uruguayans love their mate tea, as synonymous with the culture as coffee is to Americans. Potent mate is drunk through a silver straw from a gourd and carried in a thermos for re-fills throughout the day. Carbonated sodas produced under the Paso de los Toros brand provide other tasty options during travel to Uruguay. Originated as a single grapefruit soda in the small city of the same name that is located in the middle of the country, these beverages today are produced by Pepsi. Visitors on Uruguay tours will also encounter the brand if they travel to Argentina.

Uruguayan fine wines provide a most worthy accompaniment to the country’s delectable cuisine. With many of the country’s vineyards located in the region of the capital and near other of the country’s top sights, visitors on Uruguay tours will learn about wines and wineries they might not find at home. The proximity of the wine industry to the capital makes Uruguay wine tours popular with tourists. Uruguay’s best known wine is Tannat, a full-bodied red varietal.

Another favorite beverage here is Medio y Medio, a sparkling wine comprised of moscato grapes and pinot blanc.