Chicha is a South American beer that dates back prior to the Inca empire.It is commonly called chicha dejora to distinguish it from its non-alcoholic counterpart chicha morada and is a traditional offering to arriving guests as well as the chosen drink during rituals and religious festivals.
History tells of the Inca being mass producers of the beverage and preparation mills have been found at the ruins of Machu Picchu. Women of the Inca empire were taught brewing techniques in Aqlla Wasi (femine schools).
Most often made from purple corn,traditional preparation mainly consists of boiling corn in water with pineapples and allowing it time to cool,then adding sugar,cinnamon,and cloves for spice and extra flavor. A number of variations do exist. Chicha made from manioc root,maize,grapes,apples,and other fruit is acceptable. Althuogh it is still a popular beverage throughout South America,traditional brew techniques are rare and only exist in a small number of towns and villages. It is believed that chicha may have medicinal and therapeutic properties. It is said that proper consumption may help to reduce blood pressure and it may act as an antiflamatory agent for the prostate.
In the month of September,the indigenous village of Otavalo hosts a chicha sampling festival called Yamor.