Agwa de Bolivia: para tu salud!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010 at 8:18AM
The Lady Who Lunches in Product reviews


As some of you know, I spent two weeks in South America (Peru & Ecuador) in December 2009.  I fell in love with this region's rich culture, gorgeous varying terrains, tropical climate, friendly people, and delicious cuisine (among so many other things). 

With all of the talk these days about living a more "natural life" (for example, trading in one Splenda packet for three teaspoons of real sugar despite the extra calories; choosing grass-fed beef over corn-fed; free-roaming chicken over caged; eating organic produce, etc.), I embraced many of South America's unique practices and remedies.  One, in particular, was used to lessen the effects of altitude sickness, which I suffered from in Cusco: sipping coca tea, available nearly everywhere in both Peru and Ecuador. 

What is coca tea, you ask?  By "coca," do you mean, gasp, cocaine?  Here's how our friends at Wikipedia define and describe "coca tea":

Recently, I heard about a brand new liquor called Agwa de Bolivia, which is made with the coca leaf.  Don't get the wrong idea, folks: the coca leaves used to make the product are "decocainised Bolivian Coca. The finest hand picked wild Bolivian Coca leaves are shipped to Amsterdam under armed guard where they are first decocainised before being infused with alcohol and 36 other natural herbs and botanicals to enable the maximum effect."  Apparently, if the liquor is mixed/paired with lime, it activates the alkaloids in the Agwa and gives you an "oxygen buzz," similar to the effects felt when drinking coca tea in the Andes.  Oh, and FYI, it's 30% alcohol (60 proof). 

After perusing the Agwa website, I came across some yummy-sounding recipes and am considering buying a bottle.  Have any of you tried this liquor yet?  If so, what are your thoughts?

Article originally appeared on The Lunch Belle (
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