Mate, the most popular drink in Argentina
Mate is an infused drink of Guarani origins, made from dried yerba mate leaves. It is very popular in countries such as Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, Brazil and Chile. It is one of the most consumed drinks in half of the world. This is not just down to the taste, but also the ritual of creating it and drinking it.
The native Guarani people in Paraguay and Argentina spent many hours each day preparing their yerba mate infusions, and the drink was sacred for them. Europeans observed that natives had unprecedented energy levels after consuming mate, therefore it came to be viewed as a drink that could fortify whoever drank it and its consumption rapidly spread.
Mate is a tonic with depurative and diuretic properties and it can be adapted to suit different tastes, as the way of consuming it varies in every country and even in every region. You can prepare unsweetened mate, which is the preferred form in the Southern Cone countries and has a more bitter taste. There is also sweetened mate, or mate with sugar, which is a favourite among those trying it for the first time. It can be prepared with sweetened milk instead of water. You can put some shredded coconut on top of the yerba. It is even possible to mix it with mint or anise. There is also the most refreshing variety which is ideal for the hottest days.
If you are going to drink mate you have to know the ritual that surrounds it, as it requires special containers for preparation and consumption. It involves a little set comprised of the main container named the mate, the tube for drinking and the kettle or flask for heating. Normally, a kit is carried with the mate leaves container and sugar.
Mate is taken at gatherings with friends or family, that is to say, with loved ones, because it is a symbol of friendship. There is mush discussion about how it should be served, namely, from left to right. It should never be tipped out as that would be a show of disrespect, and the server should always take the first drink, which is the most bitter, as a gesture of courtesy.
Fly to Argentina and enjoy the traditional taste of one of the world’s most widespread drinks.