Monday, December 29, 2014

Canelazo - A traditional Ecuadorian Holiday drink from the Andes

How do you stay warm on those cold holiday days and nights?

Some common remedies consist in sitting in front of the fireplace while sipping hot chocolate, or a hot, freshly prepared soup.

Today I offer you another solution: Canelazo!

The Canelazo is a traditional drink from Ecuador’s Andean región.

But it is consumed around the country, especially during Holiday festivals and celebrations.

If you want to talk about Ecuadorian Holiday beverages, there can be no other than the Canelazo.

What is a Canelazo?

A canelazo is usually prepared with spices like cinnamon and cloves, and of course aguardiente.

This drink is traditional during the colder period of rainy season in the Andes, and it’s very popular way to warm up in the cold nights around the Holidays.

For many, the canelazo is a pretext to get social, meet and talk with relatives and friends, and enjoy the holiday time together.

People enjoy both the canelazo made with alcohol and just the hot drink without liquor, it depends on how you want to drink it.

The origins of canelazo are unknown, but it has been consumed in the Andes for a very long time without interruption.

The traditional way to prepare Canelazo

Something to keep in mind is that Ecuadorian aguardiente  is different from the Colombian one because it is not aniseed.

The aguardiente normally used for canelazo is known as punta (shot) or puro (pure).

Both kinds of liquors are made from sugarcane juice with different fruit flavors.

If you cannot find Ecuadorian spirits, I recommend using the Brazilian cachaca or white rum, which have the most similar flavor.

Canelazo and Naranjillazo

There are many different variations of the canelazo, depending on the area.

One of the most popular variations is naranjillazo.

It is prepared like the canelazo, but the water is replaced with naranjilla juice.

The naranjilla, known as lulo in Colombia and it looks very similar to sharon but taste different, is an acid flavor fruit.

It looks like a small orange and is used in the preparation of juices, cocktails, ice cream, desserts and meat dishes.

If you find it difficult to find fresh you can use the pulp or concentrate naranjilla or lulo.

It can be found in most stores that sell Latin products.

With or without alcohol, the way you prefer it!

Both canelazo as naranjillazo are delicious, but also are a bit treacherous when made with alcohol.

And they should be drunk with precaution.

Since they are sweet flavored and the alcohol is very smooth they can result in a good hangover.

The amount of alcohol used usually varies according to the preparer.

You can make them stronger if you wish, or use less alcohol.

Both drinks are also very delicious without alcohol.

If you don’t consume alcohol, just do them without the spirits and you have a delicious hot drink, perfect for the season!



6 cups water
8 sticks of cinnamon
6 cloves
1 cup brown sugar
Aguardiente (white rum) to taste
1 medium lime, thinly sliced



4 cups water
2 cups concentrate naranjilla, previously frozen
1 ¼ cup sugar and grated panela
8 sticks of cinnamon
4 cloves
2 all spice
Aguardiente (white rum) to taste

Here a guide to the amount of liquor – you can customize the drinks according to your taste or how cold it is:

For a light canelazo, add to each canelazo 1 oz glass of liquor.
For medium canelazo, add to each cup of canelazo 1.5 ounces of liquor.
For a strong canelazo, add to each cup of canelazo 2 ounces of liquor.


1. Combine all ingredients except the alcohol and lime, in a medium saucepan.
2. Bring them to a boil, then reduce the heat and let them simmer in a covered pot for 10-15 minutes.

3. Stir in the liquor.

4. Slice the lime in thin slices and decorate each glas or cup with one slice and a stick of cinnamon.
5. Serve immediately.

Tip: You can also use Passion fruit juice instead of naranjilla, it will give a bit different taste but equally exquisite!

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