The Localist

Terremoto: Drinking an Earthquake

In my lifetime, I have lived through two major earthquakes; the first in 1985, and the second in 2010. During the first, I was certain that the earth was moving because a giant was walking towards the city. I remember holding my mother’s hand while staring at a big glass lamp crushing against the ceiling with a violent sway and all the living room decorations falling down and breaking into a million pieces.

When the second earthquake hit, I was sleeping (it was at 3: 30 am) and I managed to jump off the bed and hug my husband and my cat. There was not much more we could do. You can feel the earth screaming, and if you try to walk you fall down.

It sounds scary but if you ask any Chilean they will probably tell you that it’s not that bad. Earthquakes are a part of our popular culture. So much so that we have a very popular drink called “terremoto”, the Spanish word for earthquake…if you drink it, the earth shakes, or so they say (most probably your legs are what’s shaking, not the floor).

Terremoto is a mix of white wine, pineapple ice cream and a shot of strong liqueur. This last ingredient changes depending on where you drink it. They mix all the ingredients in a jug, serve it in big glasses and then, if there are any leftovers, they serve the rest in a small glass (called a “replica”, or aftershock). It’s sweet and quite dangerous, as it is very easy to drink, especially on a hot summer’s day.

The bar ‘El Hoyo’ (pictured above) is known as the birthplace of the terremoto. If you happen to be in Santiago, it is definitely worth visiting El Hoyo.

Just make sure you know your way home, and are confident you can make it there with shaky legs…




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