18 Traditional Puerto Rican Beverages to Try

Puerto Rican beverages are a vibrant mix of tropical flavors, combining indigenous, Spanish, and African influences.

Lastest Updated April 19, 2024
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Basic Information

Puerto Rican Drinks: Basic Overview

Common Ingredients

Sugarcane, molasses, coconut, pineapple, rum, coffee, sesame Seeds, barley, hops

Common Preparing Methods

Fermenting, brewing, aging, blending, mixing, simmering, freezing

Key Taste

Sweet, bitter, complex, sour

Drinking Etiquette

Drinks are often enjoyed in social gatherings and festive seasons.||Many beverages are enjoyed in a casual setting, often accompanied by music and dance.

Culinary Festivals

Christmas, New Year

Influence and Fusion

Puerto Rican beverages have been influenced by Spanish, African, and indigenous Taíno cultures.
Origin and Region

Puerto Rican Drinks: Origin and Region

Cuisine

Puerto Rico

Culinary Region

Caribbean
Puerto Rico Map
Ingredients and Preparation

Types of Puerto Rican Drinks

  • Alcoholic Beverages

    Alcoholic beverages in Puerto Rico encompass a wide range of spirits, beers, and cocktails deeply ingrained in the island’s culture and social activities.

    Options range from the locally distilled rum, celebrated globally for its quality and flavor, to traditional concoctions like Pitorro and Coquito.

  • Non-alcoholic Beverages

    Non-alcoholic beverages in Puerto Rico include a variety of refreshing and flavorful options that reflect the island’s tropical climate and agricultural bounty.

    Drinks are often sweetened and chilled.

Puerto Rican beverages are a vibrant part of the island’s culinary tradition, including influences from the indigenous Taíno people, Spanish colonizers, African slaves, and the territory’s status as part of the United States.

Traditional Puerto Rican drinks range from non-alcoholic options to iconic alcoholic spirits. Coffee also plays a significant role in Puerto Rican culture, with the island producing rich, aromatic coffee.

Other popular beverages include refreshing fruit-based concoctions, made from the island’s abundant tropical fruits.

Stick around to figure out the perfect combos of Puerto Rican drinks with dishes from the region.

Traditional Puerto Rican drinking culture is deeply rooted in the island’s diverse history, reflecting a blend of indigenous Taíno, Spanish, African, and American influences:

  • Cultural Fusion: The drinking culture incorporates elements from the Taíno Arawaks, Spanish colonizers, African slaves, and American cuisine, creating a unique blend of flavors and traditions.
  • Local Ingredients: Drinks often feature local ingredients like coconuts, coffee, okra, taro, tamarind, yams, sesame seeds, plantains, and various bananas, showcasing the island’s agricultural bounty.
  • Historical Roots: The culture of drinking and cuisine dates back to the 15th century, with the first restaurant opening in 1848 and the island’s first cookbook published in 1859.
  • Indigenous Influence: The Taíno influence is evident in the use of native ingredients and cooking methods that resemble barbecue, a technique possibly originating from the Taíno term “barabicu.”
  • African Contributions: African slaves introduced ingredients like coconuts and coffee, as well as cooking techniques such as deep-frying, enriching the culinary and drinking landscape.
  • Spanish Flavors: Spanish cuisine has left a lasting impact, with seafood being popular in coastal towns and traditional cooking emphasizing fresh, local ingredients like citrus, herbs, and vegetables.

Furthermore, find out the popularity of Puerto Rican drinks around the world to know more about the impact of these drinks.

The global popularity of Puerto Rican beverages showcases the island’s rich culinary heritage, with its drinks finding favor across various countries.

In the United States, cultural and historical ties have led to the widespread enjoyment of Puerto Rican beverages, especially with various cocktails. Spain, with its historical connection as a former colonial power, appreciates Puerto Rican rum and cocktails.

Similarly, countries like Mexico and Canada, with their own vibrant cocktail cultures, have adopted and adapted Puerto Rican beverages, adding local twists to classics like the Piña Colada and Mojito.

Later on, it’s time to dive into Puerto Rico’s refreshments, which will allow you to learn more interesting drink options.

18 Popular Puerto Rican Beverages with Filters

When looking into Puerto Rican beverages, let me lend you a hand with the filter system letting you view these dishes in alphabetical order, key ingredients, tastes, preparation method, and worldwide popularity.

Discover the wonderful traditional, national, street drinks, fusion, and exotic drink options available in Puerto Rico:

  • Embody the essence of Puerto Rican culture, enjoyed and celebrated by locals and admired by visitors.
  • Frequently featured in social gatherings, festivals, and everyday life, highlighting the island’s rich beverage tradition.
  • Symbolize Puerto Rican identity and pride recognized both locally and internationally as representative of the island’s culinary culture.
  • Enjoyed widely across the country, these beverages are part of national celebrations, holidays, and significant events.
  • Serve as ambassadors of Puerto Rican cuisine, showcasing the island’s flavors to the world.
  • Rooted in Puerto Rico’s history and culture, embodying the island’s heritage and passed down through generations.
  • Often made with local ingredients, reflecting the natural resources and agricultural practices of the region.
  • Integral to celebrations, family gatherings, and ceremonial occasions, showcasing the island’s rich traditions.
  • Popular among the bustling streets and vibrant markets of Puerto Rico, easily accessible to locals and tourists alike.
  • Served by street vendors and at casual outdoor stalls, offering a taste of Puerto Rican daily life and hospitality.
  • Reflects the island’s informal culinary scene, providing refreshing and quick beverage options in a lively atmosphere.
  • Feature unique or less commonly known ingredients, offering a glimpse into the island’s biodiversity and culinary experimentation.
  • Appeal to adventurous palates seeking to explore the rich and varied flavors of Puerto Rico beyond mainstream offerings.
  • Highlight the island’s capacity for culinary innovation, drawing from a wide array of local and imported ingredients.
  • Combine traditional Puerto Rican elements with influences from other cuisines, reflecting the island’s diverse cultural interactions.
  • Innovative and modern, these drinks cater to evolving tastes while maintaining a connection to Puerto Rican roots.
  • Illustrate the creativity and adaptability of Puerto Rican culinary practices in a globalized culinary landscape.
Pitorro

Pitorro

  • Alcoholic
  • Traditional

Pitorro is distilled sugarcane or molasses, often referred to as Puerto Rican moonshine. The spirit is made by infusing hazelnuts or fruits to gain flavor, offering a high level of alcohol content (100 proof or greater).

Pitorro has a sweet taste, often included in many cocktails.

In the past, it was not easy for you to lay your hand on a bottle of Pitorro because this spirit was only popular with the locals.

Bilí

Bilí

  • Alcoholic
  • Traditional

Bilí is an alcohol originating from a small island of Puerto Rico called Vieques. The main highlight of this alcohol is the quenepa, which is often abundant in the summer.

Quenepa is a type of small lime, that provides a sweet, and delicious taste. To make Bilí, the locals use rum, cinnamon, and brown sugar to create the mixture’s base before fermenting it for around a month in a dark place.

Medalla Light

Medalla Light Beer

  • Alcoholic
  • Street Beverages

Medalla is Puerto Rico’s premier light beer, often enjoyed on the island’s sun-drenched beaches.

Brewed in Mayagüez, this lager-style beer is the island’s sole mass-produced variety and has gained popularity in the US as a favored drink.

Characterized by a refreshing carbonation with a hint of sweetness, Medalla’s distinctive malty flavor is what locals love.

Puerto Rican Rum

Don Q

  • Alcoholic
  • Traditional

Don Q is a premium Puerto Rican rum, beloved for its pure, complex, and robust flavor, making it a favorite among locals for crafting a variety of cocktails.

Recognized for its amber hue and clarity, the rum originates from Destilería Serrallés in Ponce, where it is meticulously aged for over three years.

5 Pina Colada

Piña Colada

  • Alcoholic
  • National

Piña Colada is a staple cocktail mix in Puerto Rico. The slushy cocktail was first made in 1954 by a bartender with the name of Ramón “Mochíto” Marrero in San Jose.

Surprisingly, the original Piña Colada recipe only requires 3 ingredients, including pineapple juice, rum, and coconut cream.

Also, Piña Colada’s signature sign is in the pineapple wedge that is put on the rim of the glass for garnish. Plus, the cocktail will frequently have whipped cream and a cherry on top.

Chichaíto

Chichaíto

  • Alcoholic
  • Traditional

Chichaíto is a rum-based shot in the south of Puerto Rico. For people who can’t handle licorice, the mix comes with honey and lemon to reduce the licorice intensity.

This traditional Puerto Rican mix will require you to mix equal parts of white rum with anise-flavored liqueur. Typically, the locals will prefer using Palo Viejo rum.

The concoction will then need to be shaken with ice to create a sweet and smooth shot.

Coquito Puerto

Coquito

  • Alcoholic
  • Traditional

Coquito is an alcoholic mix from Puerto Rico, with the name meaning “little coconut”. Classic Coquito calls for 4 ingredients, revolving around coconut rum, Puerto Rican rum, coconut milk, and sweetened condensed milk.

In Puerto Rico, the locals often serve Coquito in small shot glasses after dinner, especially during Christmas. Sometimes you can see locals use Pitorro to replace the rum.

Coquito is described as having some similarities to eggnog. Besides the 4 main ingredients, locals will also add some nutmeg, vanilla, cinnamon, and clove while simmering the mixture on the stove until it becomes thickened.

Chi Chi

Chi Chi

  • Alcoholic
  • Fusion

Chi Chi is a close-cousin cocktail of Piña Colada utilizing the original recipe of the Puerto Rican staple cocktail.

Instead of using rum, you can mix vodka and pineapple, coconut milk, and cream. People often serve the mixture in a hurricane or poco glass with a cherry on top as garnish.

Since vodka is neutral in taste, it doesn’t overwhelm other flavors from the pineapple juice or the coconut cream.

Spiced Cherry

Spiced Cherry

  • Alcoholic
  • Traditional

Spiced cherry is a cocktail blend that centers around cherries’ flavors. It’s a simple mix combining spiced rum with cherry soda.

Furthermore, the base of this cocktail, spiced rum, can have various flavors. This is because spiced rum is infused with different ingredients like orange peels, brown sugar, spices, molasses, caramel, and vanilla.

Cuba Libre

Cuba Libre

  • Alcoholic
  • Traditional

Cuba Libre is a popular mix in Puerto Rico, with its name translated into “freeing Cuba”. The drink’s purpose is to memorialize the Cuba Liberation Army battle cry.

Traditionally, you can order Cuba Libre without lime juice, or even add gin to the mixture for recipes in the early time. When served, the cocktail will often have a slice of lime as a garnish on the glass’s rim.

Nowadays, Cuba Libre is all about creating a combination of rum, coca-cola, and lime.

Mojitos Puerto

Mojitos

  • Alcoholic
  • Traditional

Mojito is a beloved mix in Puerto Rico though it’s a national drink of Cuba, invented in Havana. Interestingly, sugarcane water was in place to sweeten the Mojito in the past instead of being a main base.

To prepare a traditional glass of Mojito, muddling some mint leaves is essential so the oil can infuse with the mixed sugar water. After that, lime juice, rum, and soda water are added to the mixture.

Mojito has a refreshing taste along with the sweetness of sugar water. It’s best to enjoy a Mojito with ice to enhance the refreshing feature of the cocktail.

Coco Frio

Coco Frío

  • Non-Alcoholic
  • Street Beverages

Coconut water is a common beverage in Puerto Rico, offering a sweet and refreshing profile.

Puerto Rican vendors often drop in extra alcohol like vodka, rum, or whiskey to your coconut. After finishing your coconut water, you can ask vendors to cut open the coconut so that you can eat the sweet and juicy meat.

Often, locals will soak green coconuts in an ice container to keep the coconut water cool and refreshing.

Limber Puerto

Limber

  • Non-Alcoholic
  • Street Beverages

Limber is a refreshing drink in Puerto Rico on hot summer days. It is essentially frozen tropical fruit juice.

The most popular method to eat limber is to squeeze the cup, so the slushy content pops out, and then you can start enjoying the flavorful treat.

People often sell Limber as a frozen or slushy mixture.

Horchata De Ajonjoli

Horchata De Ajonjolí

  • Non-Alcoholic
  • Traditional

Horchata de ajonjolí, in Puerto Rico and El Salvador, is a drink made using sesame seeds.

First, the sesame seeds will be roasted, then soaked in water and mixed with a bit of milk. Then other ingredients such as vanilla, clove, and cinnamon are good additions to improve the overall flavor.

Finally, you will need to strain the concoction to remove any impurities.

Frappe Puerto

Frappé

  • Non-Alcoholic
  • Fusion

Frappé is a blended drink with fresh fruit from the tropical area of Puerto Rico. The origin of the drink is in Greek, which saw frappé as a blended coffee.

In Puerto Rico, the locals replace coffee with ice cream for a creamier texture when blended with local fruits. Some recipes even incorporate whipped cream on top to enhance the creaminess and richness of the drink.

Mavi Puerto

Mavi

  • Non-Alcoholic
  • Traditional

Mavi, or Mauby, is a Puerto Rican unique creation made by boiling the Mavi tree bark to extract its flavors. The mixture will proceed through a fermentation process.

Sometimes, people add spices, fruit, or ginger to create different flavors.

Although Mavi is a non-alcoholic drink, this beverage will taste similar to beer thanks to the fermentation process.

For your information, Mavi is initially sweet and will leave a bit of a bitter aftertaste. The locals on the island often purchase Mavi as pre-made syrup and then dilute it using water, according to customers’ requests.

Malta Puerto

Malta

  • Non-Alcoholic
  • Traditional

Malta is a Puerto Rican drink made similar to how beer is created. The beverage is made from water, barley, and hops, with the addition of caramel or corn color in some areas to give Malta a yellowish color like beer.

However, the drink is only considered a carbonated drink and contains no alcohol. In America, Malta is mixed with condensed milk or evaporated milk to create a much creamier concoction.

Café Con Queso

Café Con Queso

  • Non-Alcoholic
  • Exotic

Café con queso is a cheese coffee in Puerto Rico. Locals will often grind domestic beans to a coarse powder to brew coffee.

Cafe con queso is a mix of strong espresso with chocolate, sugar, milk, and asiago or pecorino romano cheese. The milk, cheese, and hot chocolate combination gives the coffee a unique creamy, and nutty flavor.

What Puerto Rican Drinks to Have with Dishes?

In case you’re looking to savor the fullest experience of Puerto Rican cuisine, make sure to enjoy these drinks with the right delicacies in Puerto Rico to savor the best flavor:

  • Pitorro: This potent distilled rum, often infused with fruits or nuts, pairs beautifully with robust dishes like lechón asado (roast pork), where its strong flavor complements the rich, savory meat.
  • Bilí: A fermented rum with quenepas, Bilí’s sweet and unique taste goes well with lighter, tropical dishes such as ensalada de pulpo (octopus salad), enhancing the fresh seafood flavors.
  • Medalla Light Beer: This light, malty beer is perfect alongside fried snacks like bacalaitos (codfish fritters) or alcapurrias, offering a refreshing contrast to the crispy textures.
  • Don Q: Known for its versatility in cocktails, Don Q Rum enhances the enjoyment of sweet, creamy desserts like tembleque (coconut pudding), adding depth to the flavors.
  • Piña Colada: The classic Puerto Rican cocktail, with its creamy coconut and pineapple base, pairs wonderfully with spicy dishes such as pinchos (grilled skewers) to balance the heat.
  • Coquito: This coconut-based eggnog is traditionally enjoyed during the holidays and pairs delightfully with rich, festive foods like pasteles, offering a sweet, spiced complement to the meal.

Do you have any more drinks that you want to share with me? Let me know what you think about these Puerto Rican drinks in the comment below, and remember to share these beverages with others.

Jamie Scott

Jamie Scott

Editor in Chief, Senior Content Writer

Expertise

Home Cooking, Meal Planning, Recipe Development, Baking and Pastry, Food Editor, Cooking-video Maker, Western Food Evaluation Expert

Education

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts

  • Program: Bachelor’s degree in Culinary Arts
  • Focus: Gained foundational knowledge in French and European culinary techniques. Participated in workshops and hands-on training sessions under the guidance of seasoned chefs.

Local Community College, New York, NY

  • Program: Associate’s Degree in Nutrition
  • Focus: Acquired basic understanding of nutrition principles, dietary needs, and the importance of balanced diets in daily life.

Jamie Scott is a skilled culinary expert and content creator specializing in Western cuisine. With over 15 years in the culinary field and formal training from Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, Jamie deeply understands how to blend nutrition with delicious flavors. His passion for cooking matches his commitment to making healthy eating accessible and enjoyable.

On Fifteen.net, Jamie brings a fresh perspective to classic dishes and beverages, offering readers insightful recipes, cooking tips, and a fresh view on meal planning that emphasizes taste, health, and simplicity.

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