Agwa de Bolivia comes with an all-caps WARNING! that it's made from only the finest Bolivian coca leaves. The signature ingredient is apparently shipped "under armed guard" from Bolivia to Amsterdam where it's stripped of the psychoactive compounds that are made into cocaine, then turned into a bright green liqueur, which has recently entered the Twin Cities market.
Agwa sent the Hot Dish a product sample, and since City Pages doesn't have a random drug testing policy, we decided to break into the mini-airplane bottle and see if its buzz lived up to the hype.[jump]
U.S. importing officials have been more relaxed about the spirit than Taiwan and Germany, which have seized cases of the stuff, which still contains trace amounts of cocaine. (It would take hundreds of bottles, apparently, to experience any cocaine effect--you'd surely be killed by alcohol poisoning first.)
The bright green liqueur smells like a mix of citrus and tropical fruit--guava or lychee? But it's flavor is very different: sweet and minty, with a strong herbal/medicinal kick.
The liqueur is 60 proof, and in addition to coca leaves, it includes caffeine, ginseng, and guarana--stimulants to counteract the relaxing effect of the alcohol. We didn't notice much of a buzz, but, admittedly, we limited our sampling. It can be sipped neat or mixed into cocktails such as mojitos.
Agwa de Bolivia is available locally at Haskell's, Surdyk's, and Merwin's. It's also available online at www.shoppersvineyard.com.