A taste of chica (Bogotá, Colombia)

As part of a “free” tour of Bogotá with Beyond Colombia, the guide led us to a café and told us the story of Colombia’s historical drink, chicha.

Chicha is a fermented drink traditionally made with corn that originated with the indigenous people of Central and South America thousands of years ago. It was the drink of choice until 130 years ago, when the Bavaria brewing company was established and beer became more popular. Bavaria and the Colombian government waged a massive, decades-long marketing campaign to peg chicha as the root of crime, stupidity, and evil (looking for an alternative? Drink beer instead!). Finally, in 1942, chicha was outlawed in Colombia.

It’s officially still illegal today. But apparently not too illegal, since the guide handed each of us a totuma (hollow seed) shot glass full of chicha and gave us a taste!

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