We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Canelazo?

By C. Mitchell
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
DelightedCooking is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At DelightedCooking, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Canelazo is a hot alcoholic beverage that originated in Ecuador and is popular throughout Central and South America. There are a number of ways of preparing the drink, but its primary ingredients include cinnamon, sugar, and fruit juice, topped off with a strong alcohol derived from sugar cane. Canelazo is most popular in the colder winter months and is often incorporated into traditional Ecuadorian, Peruvian, and Colombian Christmas celebrations.

Ecuadorians are believed to have begun making the drink centuries ago in the Andes. The drink's warmth and potency made it an attractive accompaniment to many winter nights — benefits that are still celebrated in modern times. There is no single canelazo recipe, as cooks have always been free to experiment with different flavors, proportions, and variations. Most iterations follow a similar pattern, however.

Cooks typically make the drink by boiling sugar in fruit juice, traditionally naranjilla juice. The naranjilla is a South American fruit in the nightshade family that resembles a pale tomato, but tastes a lot like a citrus. It is common practice to add a cinnamon stick, and sometimes also cloves, to the juice as it boils.

Once the sugar is incorporated, the drinks are splashed with warm aguardiente, a local liquor, and served in tumblers or mugs. The word aguardiente is a generic term for distilled alcohol with a high alcohol-by-volume percentage. For canelazo, the aguardiente required is derived from cane juice, often spiced during fermentation. It tastes vaguely of licorice to many people. Home fermentation is popular, but the liquor can be purchased commercially in many outlets, as well.

The beverage is most popular during the winter, and is frequently served to guests and visitors as a means of warming up after a journey. It is served alongside Christmas foods in many Andean celebrations. Children typically partake, as well, often by sampling the drink just before the alcohol is added. In some cities, canelazo may also be served by street vendors. This is most popular in the weeks between Christmas and Epiphany.

Although native to the Andean region, canelazo is popular in many communities. It can sometimes be hard to find all canelazo ingredients outside of South America, however. The naranjilla, for instance, is hard to grow in many places, and does not export well. Aguardiente, if not made at home, can also be difficult to locate outside of South America.

Cooks hoping to recreate the general taste and feel of the mixed drinks often rely on substitutions. Citrus juice, particularly orange or lime, is a common addition. Orange juice often resembles the sweet, smooth flavor of the naranjilla, while lime imitates its bite.

Light rum is the most common aguardiente substitute, in large part because it, too, is distilled from sugar cane. Rum is widely available in most parts of the world. The taste is different, but complementary.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon989577 — On Mar 12, 2015

Thank you so much! I was making this for a Spanish project and needed to write a short description of it. This was incredibly helpful. Once again, thank you!

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

DelightedCooking, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.