Travel & Leisure India & South Asia

STEEPED IN TRADITION

THE FRENCH HAVE their wine, the Belgians have their beer. For Italians, espresso serves as the de facto national drink—a kind of social superglue, prepared and shared according to precise rituals. In Argentina, it’s maté. And if you’ve spent any time in that country, you’ll know that it might be the world’s ultimate communal beverage. Made from the leaves and twigs of the native Ilex paraguariensis (yerba maté) plant and sipped from a hollow gourd passed around between small groups, maté is not just an infusion but a source of ceremonial kinship.

Consumed by all ages and social classes, it’s the subject of songs and poems; it has even been called the key to the nation’s soul.

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