In front of an emoliente cart, a little Peru warms itself. There is the office worker, preparing for his eternal eight-hour shift, the student who is arriving late to class, the college kid who woke up studying, and the mother who is sharing a disposable cup with her young son.
They are gathered around shiny containers that never stop emitting steam.
And, never the less, if we do a quick survey of our acquaintances, one might make a strange face if we asked him if he likes emoliente, or when was the last time he drank one. Emoliente, elixir of life, seems to have a marketing problem. And that’s a shame.
Keeping in mind those who make a strange face when they hear of emoliente, businessmen, chefs and, especially, aficionados of this drink decided to change the image of this incredibly comforting mix, of unknown origins(some stories suggest it dates back to the colonial era, but there is nothing official) and show it off.
In doing so, they hope and dream that one day there is an international chain that sells the concoction, and that it won’t be rare to see a French person walking down New York’s Fifth Avenue with a steaming cup of emoliente.
Flavio Mundaca is a business administrator and a fan of emoliente since he was a child, when he drank it in Chincha’s plaza. He likes to think that this drink is unifiying, as it brings together different people in one spot, and also healthy (“it eliminates toxins, energizes in a certain way, and is incredibly comforting,” he says).
Therefore, after working in Japan for fifteen years, he decided that he needed to rebrand emoliente and, especially, guarantee its quality to the consumer. He decided to name his business Siete Mezclas (Seven mixes), because the number seemed mysterious, and he consulted with chefs (Renalto Peralta and Jimena Larrea) until he achieved the perfect mix of emoliente, which is now prepared especially for his business in a plant in Lima Norte.
This mix is a base for surprising creations, like fruit combos (to satisfy the tastes of young consumers), which include sanky, tamarind, cape gooseberry and passion fruit.
There is also the calientito, which is an emoliente with pisco, and the emoliente snowcone in the summer. These are sold in the company’s location at the Central Station of the Metropolitano, as well as at carts that go to different events.
Flavio’s big dream is that the Peruvian flavor becomes well known around the world, and he is plotting the idea of a global emoliente franchise.
The new fashionable street in Miraflores is called Manuel Bonilla. In just two blocks, bars, design stores and café fight to attract attention of passers-by looking for something new and different.
Among them is a new place that is already attracting fans, called La Emolientería Bar.
The project was born from the restless minds of Miguel Aguije and Tito Bonicelli, who were looking to offer the goodness of emoliente to a young crowd that did not go to the carts on the street corner.
However, they did not limit their offerings to the traditional recipe, and they have offered combinations like emoliente with pisco, or emoliente burbuja (like bubble tea), as well as cocktails to warm the cold nights and frozen spirits.
In addition to drinks, there are snacks and sandwiches to enjoy while listening to trova, indie or electronic music (depending on the invited artist), watching movies (there are film cycles), or admiring the art on the walls.
Inspired by the colors and styles of a traditional Peruvian market, the restaurant Kamcha seeks to rescue the flavors with which we grew up, but also to give them a more sophisticated image. As a result, as chef/owner Rosa Paredes de Mares commented, they have decided to create an exclusive emoliente bar. There, you will find the classic with linseed, horsetail, barley and lemon verbena, the gourmet, with fruit, and chapuy combas, a strong and tasty creation of the house that consists of emoliente, fruit and pisco.
Rosa, a clinical laboratory technician by trade, who decided to swap the test tubes for the pots, reveals the secret for a good emoliente: preparing it the same day, using toasted barley and adding herbs at the end, to avoid them (like the lemon verbena) losing their flavor or (in the case of horse’s tail) turning bitter.
She is such a fan of emoliente that she herself is in charge of recommending to the diners that they try the drink, whether it’s the traditional recipe, to bring back childhood memories, or the one mixed with pisco, to warm and enliven these cold days.