10 Drinks to Try in El Salvador

When you're making your list of things to do while in El Salvador, don't forget to add the country's popular beverages to your list. El Salvador has many tasty beverages, some of which are influenced by the Spanish and Mayans. For example, atole de elote is a Mayan drink made from corn, sugar, cinnamon, and water. 

Of all alcoholic beverages, Pilsener brand beer is the most widely consumed. Common nonalcoholic beverages in El Salvador include horchata, Kolachampan soda, Ensalada and coconut water.

Two drinks to skip: coffee and water. Local coffee is popular, but the good stuff is exported. The coffee drank by locals will likely be weak and sugary. All is not lost, however, because El Salvador is beginning to serve coffee that suits the taste of Americans and Europeans. As for water, it's safe to drink in some parts, but you may want to avoid tap water and icy drinks and stick with bottled water instead.

  • 01 of 10

    Atole de Elote

    A glass of atole de elote in Guatemala.
    ••• Luisfi / Wikimedia / CC BY 3.0

    Atole de ​elote is a traditional El Salvadoran drink served hot. This Mayan-influenced drink is creamy and contains corn, cinnamon, sugar, and water. Chocolate atole is called champurrado. Atole shuco is a variation made with purple corn, giving it a "dirty," darker color. 

  • 02 of 10

    Kolashampan

    Kolashampan is a soda unique to El Salvador with a taste that's hard to describe. Because of its orange color, you'd expect it to taste like oranges, but that's not the case. The soda is made of sugarcane, which gives it a distinct flavor and sweetness. You'll definitely have to try it to see why it's loved by El Salvadorans.

  • 03 of 10

    Horchata

    Glasses of horchata.
    ••• Maryellen Baker / Getty Images

    Horchata is a favorite of El Salvadorans. It's also popular in Mexico, but El Salvadoran horchata is distinctly different in that morro seed is preferred rather than rice. Here it's made of morro seed, water, and spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and cocoa. The result is a refreshing milky, sweet and spicy drink that's usually served over ice although it can be served hot.

  • 04 of 10

    Ensalada

    Ensalada means salad in Spanish, but you'll find no vegetables here because this drink is made only of fruit. Apples, melon, and other tropical fruits are finely chopped into a refreshing, drinkable mixture that tastes like sangria. It's served with a big straw so you can slurp up the tiny pieces of fruit. 

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  • 05 of 10

    Tamarind Juice

    Agua de Tamarindo in Mexico.
    ••• Andre Baranowski / Getty Images

    Another popular El Salvadoran drink is tamarind juice. It's made from the fruit of peanut-like pods found on tamarind trees. The tamarind tree originated in Africa and came to the Americas in the 1500s. Now it's most commonly found in Mexico. Tamarind juice is a refreshing and simple drink made with tamarind pulp, sugar and water. The drink is medicinal and benefits the heart as well as the circulation, immune, digestive and nervous systems. It also helps with weight loss, diabetes, psoriasis and arthritis.

     

  • 06 of 10

    Tic Tac

    Tic Tac is El Salvador's version of la cususa found in Nicaragua. This crude distilled sugarcane liquor can be mixed with practically anything. It's also great served on the rocks.

     

  • 07 of 10

    Coconut Water

    A straw in a coconut.
    ••• Jesse Kraft / EyeEm / Getty Images

    For the ultimate fresh fruit experience, scope out a coconut water vendor on the side of the road. They'll chop off the top and serve it with a straw. There's nothing healthier than drinking something straight from the source.

    Coconut milk is also a popular drink in El Salvador. You can find it being sold by street vendors. Coconut milk is also mixed with vodka as an aperitif.

  • 08 of 10

    Pilsener

    Beer is the most common alcohol enjoyed in El Salvador, and Pilsener has been the most popular brand since its beginning in 1906. Consider it the Budweiser of El Salvador. It gets its name from the Czech city of Plzen (or Pilsen). 

     

     

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  • 09 of 10

    Suprema

    Suprema is a premium beer brewed in El Salvador. Like Pilsener, it's made by Industrias La Constancia, but it's not nearly as popular. This European-style beer has been brewed since 1967 and has a fine taste and distinctive image.

     

  • 10 of 10

    Golden Light

    Another drink in El Salvador is Golden Light, a pale lager beer. It's cold-filtered with a refreshing flavor similar to Miller Light.