Purple Colada: A memory-flavored drink

Colada Morada is a thick sweet beverage traditionally drink for The Day of the Dead, November 2, but it’s not restricted to that only day because you can usually find it a couple of weeks before and after in all cafes and restaurants in Ecuador.

Purple Colada: A memory-flavored drink

It’s very distinctive deep purple color comes from the many red fruits, herbs, and flours it has. An ancient Andean recipe, lost in pre-Hispanic times, revived by Spanish priests and passed down through generations. In the beginning, the Incas used to mummify their dead, and in November, on the celebration of Aya Marcay Quilla, which means the “month to carry with the dead”, relatives visited the tombs of their loved ones to take out their bodies, bath them and dress in their best clothes.

Then family and deceased “walked” through the city in the middle of chants, dances, and prayers. The ritual concluded with a special meal: the making and enjoyment of “chicha morada” accompanied by edible corn figurines. They performed this ceremony to honor the memory of those who have passed away. The Spanish conquest led to bans on such ceremonies, replaced or adapted over time to Catholic celebrations by priests.

Thus, the Aya Marcay Quilla was replaced by The Day of the Dead and so the recipe was also modified with some new ingredients. Blackberry, Andean berries, purple flour, and sugar cane were incorporated into the local cuisine adding a new touch to this millenary drink.   Nowadays, the preparation of the colada Morada involves a dynamic process where the whole family gathers for its elaboration.


The essential ingredients are Andean berry, blackberry, strawberry, pineapple, “babaco”, passion fruit, “guava”, cinnamon, cloves, sweet pepper, purple flour, panela, cedar leaves, lemongrass, orange, amaranth, myrtle and ishpingo, cinnamon flowers. Being the official beverage for an ancestral representation of the life and death cycles, it doesn’t come alone. People often serve Colada Morada with “Guagua de pan,” sweet bread rolls shaped like a baby, creating a unique combination. “Guagua” means baby in Kichwa, and “pan” is bread in Spanish. They frequently fill them with chocolate or fruit jellies.


Start by sifting the purple cornmeal through a fine sieve. Soak the flour in warm water to prevent lumps from forming. In a pot, boil blackberries, Andean berries, guavas, and oranges, then liquefy them and sieve. Next, fill another pot with two liters of water, brown sugar, aromatic herbs, and pineapple peels, then boil. Next, sieve the preparation and mix it with orange and blackberry juices. Cook chopped fruits like strawberries, pineapple, and “babaco” with sugar until they turn into syrup.

In a large pot, boil all these preparations while stirring constantly to ensure the flour cooks thoroughly. This classic combo: Colada Morada + Guagua de pan, is a tradition that carries the flavors of the past not only for the ancestry of its elaboration but also for the conscious meaning of its consumption, the family gathered all together in memory of the loved ones that have already passed away. So, this holiday, savor an Ecuadorian drink and cherish memories of departed loved ones with your family.Credits: Ecuador.travel

Visit Us | Purple Colada: A memory-flavored drink | Our website

Shopping Cart