The Definitive Guide on Pitorro: Puerto Rico's National Drink

A Guide on Pitorro: Puerto Rico's National Drink

What is Pitorro?

Pitorro is a distilled liquor made from sugarcane that has been fermented, distilled, and aged in barrels. It's a Puerto Rican tradition to drink pitorro at Christmas time with coquito, which is also made of rum, egg yolk, and milk. The word "pitorro" means "to be pickled," so the name seems fitting for this national drink! Pitorro is on par with other popular drinks like Scotch whisky because it has a high alcohol content (sometimes as much as 80% ABV), but it's not easy to find outside of Puerto Rico.

This article will explore the history of pitorro and why it has become such an important part of Puerto Rican culture.

The History of Pitorro

Pitorro was first introduced to Puerto Rico in the 18th century. Back then, distillation techniques were limited so many people made their own fermented beverages using fruits and plants that had alcohol content naturally. When sugarcane became more widely available throughout Latin America after the slave trade, it also helped to increase the availability of distilled alcohol. Soon enough, new distillation techniques started to spread throughout the region, and with them came a wider variety of liquors that were easier for people to enjoy.

How to make pitorro?

Pitorro is usually made by soaking a kilo of sugar cane (or piloncillo) in water overnight. The next day, the soaked sugar will be strained and boiled with cinnamon sticks, cloves, vanilla pods, or other spices to create a syrup that can later be used as the base for different types of liquors like the brand.

The next step is to develop a final recipe for the liquor by adding different types of fruit, sugar levels, and other ingredients to suit one's tastes.

Pitorro has a very distinctive flavor that is unlike any other type of rum you may be familiar with. It can taste sweet but it also packs an alcoholic punch - which makes sense given that traditional pitorro recipes call for.

When to enjoy Pitorro?

Pitorro is not a drink for everyone and should be enjoyed with caution.

If you're visiting Puerto Rico, it's something that locals enjoy both at home and when they go out to socialize - but in my opinion, there are some occasions where pitorro can't really compare: like at an elegant Sunday brunch or after a nice meal.

What are the traditions behind Pitorro?

  • One of the most important traditions is that pitorro should be served in a "copita" - which is nothing more than a small glass or cup.
  • It's also customary to toast with your friends and make jokes about one another while drinking it.
  • Pitorro is often associated with the holiday of Three Kings.
  • Pitorro is traditionally served with a slice of lime, which some people say helps bring out the flavor - but it's not necessary to enjoy this drink!

The alcohol content in Pitorro makes it difficult for those who don't typically drink hard liquor or wine, so it's best to keep an eye on your consumption.

Check out work with Clandestino an Artisanal Pitorro

A Final Take on Pitorro


The Caribbean is known for its great rum, but what about pitorro? This potent and strong liquor has been around for centuries. In Puerto Rico, they say it was made from a variety of herbs mixed with spirits to create an intoxicating drink that still packs a punch today. Clandestino Pitorro honors this tradition by using high-quality ingredients in their recipes which are passed down through generations. Learn more online now!