Chirrinchi is a kind of rum that is distilled mainly in the Colombian Caribbean. It is especially famous among the Wayuu. If you keep your eyes open or ask around while in La Guajira you will find small private Chirrinchi distilleries almost everywhere.

The process starts by mixing sugar can sugar, water, and yeast. The fermentation takes about 5-8 days. Afterwards a simple alemic distillery is used to separate the alcohol from the water. The distillation process is usually performed twice and produces an alcoholic drink with 35% alcohol.

Figure 1: Typical Wayuu distillery. The barrels are used for the fermentation process.

Many Wayuu drink the Chirrinchi pure. However, there are different traditional and modern preparation methods. For example, traditionally the indigenous put a piece of “Contramata” (see Figure 2) into their Chirrinchi bottles. An alternative to Contramata is a piece of the bark of a Brazilwood tree. It will give the drink a red color.

More modern preparations include the addition of Anise. Some Wayuu claim that Coquiche has the best taste. Coquiche is prepared by adding Coconuts and leaving it for some days. It is said the Coconut sucks-up the bad tastes of the distillation process.

Figure2: Contramata can be put into a Chirrinchi drink to improve the taste.


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