Although many hardcore materos out there would mostly likely laugh at the idea of adding anything other than yerba to their mate, it is not at all uncommon to “pimp up” your drink with all kinds of delicious flavors. There are several reasons why you would want to add different ingredients to your yerba, but most people do it in order to weaken the natural bitter taste of the infusion.
1. Orange or lemon peels
It is no secret that mate may cause Heartburn. Some materos have the habit of adding small bits of orange or lemon peels in order to neutralize the acidity in their stomachs, while giving a “twist” to the taste of their mate. Before the peels can be added to the infusion, they must be dried first, roasted through direct fire exposure and then cut into small pieces. Only then, can they be mixed with the yerba. The main question seems to be: Is it worth the trouble?
Those who are not able to decide between yerba mate and coffee, tend to try and get the best of both worlds. The combination of coffee powder with yerba mate is an explosive drink with high levels of caffeine, making it the perfect mix to kick start your day. This mix can be prepared by adding 2 spoons of sugar and 1/2 a spoon of coffee powder to your yerba mate infusion.
3. Mate with brandy (aguardiente)
Mixing mate with booze is an old tradition, which remains very much alive in the norther regions of Argentina and southern Brazil. It is very common, especially during those typical cold winter evenings, which haunt the Pampas during the months of June and July. This mixed is prepared by first soaking the yearba with a dose of distilled alcohol, like brandy or cachaça. Water is added only after the yerba has absorbed the alcohol. A fresh dose of booze may be added from time to time. The advantage is that this mix will warm you up incredibly fast. The disadvantage is that it might be harder to swallow than a dose of kerosene.
4. Mountain herbs
Those who enjoy medicinal plants will absolutely love this one. Another popular way to pimp up your mate is to add herbs like peppermint, peperina and balm. This should give a whole new healthy and refreshing touch to your infusion, similar to wellness teas found in your local drugstore.
5. Mate with honey and kidron
If you are the type who despises the bitterness of mate, then this might just be the perfect mix for you. Just add in a spoon of honey with a few kidron leaves and you are all set to go. Again, the hardcore materos might argue that this completely takes away the essence of drinking mate and they are actually right.
This is definitely the most controversial of mixes. To prepare your milky mate mix, just add hot milk to the yerba, instead of water. This was actually very popular with the ladies in the old days. They believed that drinking milk with mate helped to boost their breast milk production.
7. Mate with beer
This is not a common mix, but it does deserve a place in our list just for being such a daring mix. According to a poll done by the Instituto Nacional de la Yerba Mate (INYM), 2% of the materos like to substitute water with beer. This is a practice that is still in its initial stages and we hope it remains that way.