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Let's celebrate Guanacaste Day with Pujagua toast

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Published on Friday, July 21, 2023

By Melissa Pette

Happy Guanacaste Day everyone! I know, I know, that will be on Tuesday. 

Ticos'll celebrate the 199 anniversary of the annexation of the former territory of Nicoya (today Guanacaste) to Costa Rica.


It is an overwhelming feeling. Imagine the people in 1824 organizing polling to decide if they would join the territory of Nicaragua or Costa Rica. Time has shown that their final choice was a wise one.


Guanacaste people are proud to keep many of their folk traditions. And the food is not an exception. According to the Ministry of Culture, in its article, "La alimentación tradicional Costarricense" (Costa Rican folk food) Guanacaste food shows the influence of the corn culture. Many of their dishes are corn-based.


Well then, let's celebrate Guanacaste Day in the most folkloric way possible. Today I invite you to fix a deliciously soft and sweet drink, with a challenging name to pronounce by the way.


So, let's go to the kitchen!


Pujagua cocktail is also known as "Chicha" a traditional corn-based drink, very popular in Guanacaste, and many rural areas of Costa Rica. Chicha Pujagua stands out from the rest because the corn is purple.

This beverage doesn't contain alcohol (sorry about that) but the taste, fragrance and color are unique. 

The ingredients that you can easily find at any supermarket here are:


  • 3/4 kilo of dried purple corn (ideally, shelling the corn cobs). 
  • 4.5 liters of water.
  • 1 sweet pineapple.
  • 4 sour lemons.
  • 1 cup of sugar.
  • 7 cloves.
  • 1 cinnamon stick.
  • 1 green apple.

First, remove the peel from the pineapple. 

In a large saucepan pour three liters of water. Add the peel, purple corn, cloves, and cinnamon stick. Cook over high heat until boiling point. Stir for 10 minutes with a large wooden spoon.


Then, reduce the heat to low and continue stirring, cook for 50 more minutes. Turn off the heat and let it cool.


When it is cold, strain twice. The first time I used a standard strainer. The second time, use a clean cloth rag.

In another pot, add the rest of the water and the chopped pineapple. Cook for 30 minutes. Stir constantly. Then let it cool.


When this second mix is cold. Strain twice as well, just like in the previous preparation.


Join the two previously strained liquids (the one that resulted from the fruits and the one that resulted from the purple corn) and add the sugar. Mix and put in the fridge for 2 hours.


Before serving, add the lemon juice. To decorate, use a paring knife to cut thick slices. Carefully remove seeds from each slice. On each slice, cut a slit from the middle through the peel so that it will easily slide onto the rim of the glass. 

Dice one pineapple slice and green apple into evenly-sized pieces. Then combine the diced fruit on top.

Pop the pitcher in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 hour before serving, in order to let those flavors meld together. You will love it!


Have a Pura Vida Guanacaste Day!

Find more amazing step-by-step Costa Rican food recipes on 
the AM Costa Rica Food & Good Eating page. You are invited to share your favorite recipes with a horizontal photo of the dish by emailing food@amcostarica.com

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