Local drink

Argentinian Yatay Liqueur

Local drink

Argentinian Yatay Liqueur

An undiscovered Argentine beverage

 
When we think of Argentina and its alcoholic beverages, the first thought that goes through someone’s head may lead them to the superb wine produced in the Mendoza region, or maybe, to an herbal liqueur called Fernet.
Fernet, is one of the best known Italian bitters and is also produced in Argentina. When it’s mixed with Coca-Cola it becomes a favorite of the Argentinians. However, this article is about a liqueur that is less popular than Fernet. I would argue that this liqueur has quite an interesting story behind its label. This is the story about a traditional Argentinian drink. This local product involves an ancient elaboration process. This Blog is about something unique: the Yatay liqueur.

 
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Argentinian Yatay Liqueur

What is, in a few words, this Argentinian liqueur all about?

Yatay liqueur is an alcoholic beverage in which macerated palm fruit is mixed with sugar syrup and pure alcohol. The process is an ancient method that has been practiced for centuries in Argentina.

A local liqueur made out of native fruit

This Argentinian liqueur is made from the fruit that grows on the Butia Yatay palm. The plant is native to southern Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Northeastern Argentina. It is an extremely long-lived palm and forms large palm groves in its regions of origin. Many of these palm groves have disappeared due to deforestation. The largest preserved area where this palm is found is in El Palmar National Park, located in the province of Entre Ríos in Argentina, the park stretches for more than 8500 hectares. The fruit beared by this palm has a bittersweet taste, it is a very fibrous fruit with no pulp. The peculiar flavor profile of the yatay palm fruit makes it difficult to use in the preparation of food products such as sweets. However, liqueur production has taken advantage of these uncommon flavors to produce one of the most
uncommon liqueurs on the market.
 

The liqueur elaboration

There are only a few steps involved in the elaboration of this Argentinian liqueur

It is such a simple process that many Argentinians are making it for themselves at home.

  • First, the fruit is harvested around March.
  • After the harvest, the fruit of the Butia Yatay palm is left to soak in alcohol for at least a year.
  • Once it has been decided that the alcohol has taken on the desired color, aromas, and flavors needed from
    the fruit, the elaboration of the sugar syrup begins.
  • Traditionally the sugar syrup is prepared in a big cooking pot over a wood fire for approximately eleven hours. It
    is then left to stand for an entire night.
  • Next, the syrup is blended with the palm fruit soaked alcohol, and filtered.
  • That’s it! The Yatay liqueur is ready to be bottled and labeled.
  • Argentinian Yatay Liqueur
    Argentinian Yatay Liqueur

    Liqueur producers in Argentina

    We would like to say thank you to Licores Bard for providing us with all the images and videos used in this article.
    Licores Bard is located in the city of San Jose, in the east of the province of Entre Rios in Argentina, only a few miles away from Uruguay.
    Ana Laura y Olga Bard are fourth-generation Liqueur producers at Licores Bard.
    Their grandparents started making Yatay liqueur in 1908, along with other liqueur flavors. Since then, they have maintained the traditional production of their liqueurs in an artisanal and natural way. They do not use any artificial flavors, dyes, or preservatives. They make an artisanal product which never expires.
    They told us a little secret: the longer it ages, the better it becomes as the flavors become more concentrated.

    Come visit Licores Bard and see where Yatay liquor is made!

    Parque Nacional El Palmar

    The Palmar National Park is located in the central-eastern province of Entre Ríos in Argentina, on the right bank of the Uruguay River.
    This protected area was created to preserve the Yatay Palm (Butia yatay), an indigenous species that can live between 200 and 400 years. Yatay palms were originally found not only in this region but also in some areas of the Santa Fe, Corrientes, and Chaco provinces.El Palmar National Park, besides being home of the most important yatay palm groves, is a shelter to special ecosystems that have practically disappeared outside its boundaries due to the encroaching agriculture.
    In this savannah of palm trees, the abundant fauna such as capybaras, parrots, and red hawks seek refuge, food, and places to nest and thrive.The park offers a wide range of activities such as camping, trekking, cycling, canoeing, horse riding excursions, sport fishing, and birdwatching.

    More info at:
    https://www.argentina.gob.ar/parquesnacionales/elpalmar

    Argentinian Yatay Liqueur
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