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Singani, Bolivia’s national liquor, is a unique liqueur made from a special type of grape and distilled using methods similar to cognac. It is difficult to find outside of Bolivia, but entrepreneurs are using the internet to educate people about it. Singani lacks methanol and is relatively pure, creating a fragrant bouquet that is smooth and delicious. It can be enjoyed straight or in cocktails such as chuflay con lime, yungueno, or Poncho Negro. The Bolivian government has stipulated that singani must come from a clearly delineated region and be made from grapes grown at high altitudes.

Latin American tequila is as popular around the world as vodka, bourbon and scotch. Fewer people know, much less have tasted, the Bolivian liqueur called Singani. It is produced exclusively in Bolivia according to strict standards and is distilled from a special type of grape.

Singani is very difficult to get outside of Bolivia. Unless a visitor returns with a bottle, there’s almost no chance of tasting this unique drink. With the popularity of the internet, however, some entrepreneurs are starting to educate food and drink lovers around the world about this drink, which is Bolivia’s national liquor.

Both singani and cognac are distilled using the same sorts of methods. Brandy, like Bolivian liqueur, is made from a type of muscat grape that grows only at high altitudes in the Tarixa region of southern Bolivia. It is similar in taste to pisco, a brandy produced by and very popular in Chile and Peru.

While pisco was initially created by Spanish immigrants in the 1700s to replace a more expensive imported liquor known as orugo, singani was developed centuries earlier for the discerning palates of the wealthy. Episcopal missionaries ran a winery outside Potosi, where the primary industry revolved around silver mining. Missionary wine was distilled in singani for those whose wealth was based on silver.

Due to the grape used and the way the drink is made, fans can drink Singani without soda, water or any other dilution. It lacks methanol and is relatively pure, creating a fragrant bouquet that is smooth and delicious. Indeed, its superior taste has twice earned it the coveted “Best In Show” for best distilled spirit from the International Union of Oenologists of France.

Those who prefer cocktails rather than drinking a liqueur straight can enjoy a chuflay con lime, which mixes the liqueur with a lemonade-lemon lemonade. Those who like a sweeter drink can order a yungueno. This drink is sweetened with sugar and orange juice. A Poncho Negro mixes singani with cola and a lemon wedge.

The Bolivian government has stipulated that this liquor must come from a clearly delineated region in the same way that real champagne must come from the French Champagne Valley. The grapes are grown at altitudes between 1600-20m (5,250ft) and 2804.16m (9,200ft). This results in grapes that are tastier and contain a higher level of antioxidants due to the intensity of the sunlight.

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