The Exotic World of Latin Sodas

If you're only drinking traditional Coca-Cola or Sprite at your barbecue, you're missing out. Come along as we introduce you to some of the most popular Latin American fizzy drinks you should be drinking this summer. You'll be surprised at their unique and unusual flavors; plus, your palate will appreciate a little change for the exótico.

Malta (Flicker Photo)MALTA: Known as the "children's beer" throughout the Caribbean, malta is a non-alcoholic brew, similar in color and carbonation to its harder counterpart. It's very sweet in taste with some brands containing up to 45 grams of sugar per serving, but be in the lookout for "Malta Light" with significantly fewer calories. It's also rich in vitamin B, making it a favorite among old-school mamás who would mix malta with a raw egg to make ponche, a concoction thought to fatten up skinny kids.

Jupiña (Flicker Photo)Jupiña (Flicker Photo)

: A soda made with pineapple juice or jugo de piña (thus the name) is a drink brought to the states by Cuban immigrants. Its bright sweetness lends itself perfectly to accompany salty sandwiches like the popular cubano sandwich.

Inca Kola (Flicker Photo)Inca Kola (Flicker Photo)

South America's answer to Coca Cola was created in Peru in 1935, and it has been a real competition to the American soft drink giant ever since. While the uninitiated may have a hard time with its somewhat "bubblegum" flavor, Inca Kola's main ingredient, lemon verbena, gives it a hint of citrus. And, many Peruvians swear that ceviche tastes better with an Inca Kola fría.

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Colombiana (Flicker Photo)Colombiana (Flicker Photo)

To call it just another cream soda would be a disservice to this grand Colombian of soft drinks. While the flavor fits closer to cola champagne, we love that it has a beer-like tartness that counterbalances its sweetness nicely. It's the perfect soda to have with an asado or any grilled meat. Or if you'd rather have a more adult beverage, mix it with beer and rum to make Refajo Colombiano, a popular Colombian cocktail.

Coco Rico (Flicker Photo)Coco Rico (Flicker Photo)

Before coconut water became the newest trend in healthy beverages, Puerto Rico led the market turning it into a soda with Coco Rico. Boricuas swear its delicate and lightly sweet flavor is the perfect companion to a tasty roast pork or lechón asado.

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