Colombiana the “Irn Bru” of Colombia

Did I tell you the tale of Colombiana? I remember being a kid and you’d go to a party, and always be really disappointed when the kid whose party it was, had parents providing store brand cola, or soda. The poor kid, Kenny from South Park if you like. No matter how you dress it up, Safeway Cola was never a real Coke, but then as I got older I remember trying my first Irn Bru (great with vodka by the way), and then there were the golden years of Tango. Oh to reminisce as someone in their early 40’s. .

To read about North Korean coke click here.

I like Irn Bru – even though I used to be a man

After enjoying Irn Bru, and then finding out it was not only made from girders but was, in fact, the national drink of a country. Thus, I became obsessed with finding out what soft drinks existed in other parts of the world.

Even though I used to be a man

Generally speaking I have found that in fact Coca-Cola, Sprite, and Fanta, are not only by far the biggest in most countries, but generally speaking even if there is a bigger local drink, Coke simply just buy them out, but every so often, rare as it might be, you find a local gem, and in Colombia found that rarity Colombiana.

To read about which countries don’t have coke click here.

What is Colombiana drink?

Colombiana is everywhere in Colombia, much more so than coke, and was founded in the early 1900’s as a Champagne Cola. A champagne Cola falls under the family of sweet sweet beverages that are common places in Latin America and the Caribbean that tend to be of orange persuasion and have a very unique taste. It was allegedly invented in Puerto Rico, from where it spread across the continent. There are a lot of great Jamaican champagne colas for example.

Oh and they also have a Cuban Irn Bru! Although I, or my colleague who introduced it to me have yet to find it again. I will though find and indeed write about Cuban Irn-Bru, but for today at least we discuss the Colombiana Drink, the Irn-Bru of Colombia.

Colombiana Drink
Hanging in Colombia

Colombiana is one of the biggest of this strain of soft drinks, and no matter where you are in Colombia, you will find it. It’s a cultural phenomenon, with them sponsoring everything from sports teams and events to, well the places you would usually expect to see coke. To give you an idea of their size Colombiana sponsor the professional football league of Colombia.

So is Colombiana actually Colombian Irn Bru?

No it really isn’t, these are both extremely unique drinks in their own right. But then so is Havana Club Rum, and Mount Gay Rum. Do you see where I am going with this? As the Thai’s would say same, same, but different. If you like one of them, you are fairly likely to like the other one. And if you were a Scot stuck in Colombia, or Colombian stuck in the cold of Scotland, then at least you’d have something vaguely like home. Irn Bru and Colombiana drink are thus a bit interchangeable.

Scottish Drinks - Irn Bru
Scottish Drinks – Irn Bru

Did Pablo Escobar and the Narcos Drink Colombiana?

I have watched Narcos and while I have no direct evidence i’m gonna go out on a limb and say yes anyway. YPT run a yearly jaunt to Colombia that you can check out here.

Can you mix the Colombiana drink with liquor?

So what does it taste like and can you mix it with liquor? (both equally important questions). It tastes great! In that, it tastes like a Colombian version of Irn-Bru if I am completely honest. If not a bit sweeter than its Scottish cousin (especially since the new laws in the UK make Irn Bru less sweet), and it’s super refreshing when served as it should be from a glass bottle.

Can you mix it with liquor? Of course! I have always been a fan of vodka-Irn-Bru, and with Colombiania it can be tied perfectly with some locally produced white rum.

Of course, there are lots of things you can try in Colombia, and Colombiana might not be number one on your list, but it should certainly make the top 5….

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