Travel may be a little tricky these days, but you can still traverse the globe with these delicious drink recipes to try at home. 

Today's cocktail hails from The Andes – Canelazo.

What is it?

On those chilly Andean nights, locals keep warm over steaming cups of Canelazo, a citrusy, cinnamon-scented rum drink sold in highland towns. It’s the perfect pick-me-up when temperatures plummet. 


No one knows the exact origins of this Andean-style hot toddy. For locals in Quito, Bogotá and northern Peru, Canelazo has always been consumed and is an intrinsic part of highland culture. At Christmas and during festivals, street vendors sell cups of Canelazo from steaming cauldrons along the streets. It’s perfect for warming up when out watching parades or fireworks over cold mountain towns.

You'll Need (Serves 4)

24fl oz (720ml) water 
16–24oz (400–600g) brown sugar 
juice of 2 limes 
6–8 cinnamon sticks 
1 tsp cloves 
8oz (240ml) juice (orange, naranjillo or passion fruit) 
4–8fl oz (120–240ml) aguardiente 


Step 1: Put the water, sugar, lime juice, cinnamon sticks and cloves together in a large saucepan. 
Step 2: Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. 
Step 3: Remove from heat and add the juice and aguardiente. 
Step 4: Put back on the stovetop and heat until warm and steaming. 
Step 5: Enjoy!

Tasting notes

True to its name Canelazo (which comes from the Spanish word canela, meaning cinnamon) has a strong aroma of cinnamon. This is perhaps the first thing you note as you draw a hot cup of freshly-poured Canelazo to your lips.

Then you take a sip, and the sweetness of citrus (naranjillo, orange or passion fruit juice is used as a base) blends with the piquancy of cinnamon; then the kick arrives, courtesy of aguardiente (a clear, sugar cane-distilled rum), all of which combines for maximum refreshment during a frigid evening in a place like Quito’s La Ronda district. On weekend nights, as live music spills out of colonial buildings along the frosty, cobblestone streets, the Canelazo vendor is everyone’s best friend. 

For additional cocktail recipes, check out our Destination Drinks page  

This article was originally published in May 2020 and updated in November 2020. 

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This article was first published May 2020 and updated November 2020

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