Signature Drinks – Get the Right Drinks when you Travel to Europe
One of the best ways to get to know a country is to eat the local food and to drink the local drinks. Whether you decide to paint the town red, or simply enjoy a drink with your meal, you can be sure to have the most authentic experience when you travel to Europe if you’re armed with the knowledge of the best local drinks!
Spain – Sangria
Now a popular drink all over the world, sangria originally hails from Spain. The drink gets its name from the Spanish word for blood, “sangre,” due to its color. Sangria is traditionally made from red wine (although white wine is sometimes used) mixed with cut up fruits such as apples, oranges, berries, or lemons.
Italy – Grappa
As a grape based pomace brandy, grappa is a seriously strong (35 – 60% alcohol) drink. The distillation of this ancient drink dates back to the first century AD!
Greece – Ouzo
Normally served before a meal, this classic Greek ouzo is a dry anise flavored beverage. Even if you haven’t tried it yourself, you’ve probably seen it in just about every Greek movie!
Croatia – Rakia
Made from a variety of distilled fruits throughout the Balkans, the Croatian version of this brandy is typically made from grapes. Different regions in Croatia prepare and serve their rakia differently. In the summer, Croatians like to steep nuts in their rakia and leave it on their porches in the sun.
France – Pastis
Normally diluted with water before drinking, this anise flavored beverage is served with a pitcher of water so the drinkers can dilute it to their taste. Although it is popular throughout France, it is generally associated with Marseille and the southern region.
Austria – Schnapps
In Germany, “schnapps” can refer to any strong alcoholic drink, but it is usually a fruit-flavored spirit. For an authentic Austrian beverage, make sure to try Marillenschnaps (apricot brandy).
Scotland – Whisky
Note that we spelled it “whisky” and not “whiskey.” The spelling varies around the world, but Scotch whisky is always spelled without an e. It is made from fermented grain mash, and there are dozens of ways to make it, but Scotch whisky is always distilled for at least three years.
Czech Republic – Becherovka
Produced in Karlovy Vary, Becherovka is known for its ginger and cinnamon flavor, but contains a variety of other herbs and spices. It is said that only two people in the world know the production process from start to finish!
Portugal – Port Wine
Also known as vinho do porto, this sweet red wine is usually a dessert wine and is made exclusively from grapes from the Douro Valley. “Port style” wines are made all over the world, but for the real thing, you need to travel to Europe and get the stuff from Northern Portugal.
Hungary – Unicum
This herbal liqueur or bitters is drunk both as a digestif and apéritif. It is aged in oak casks, and contains more than 40 herbs. It has been prodiced by the Zwack family for generations and is regarded as one of the national drinks of Hungary.
Now you’re ready to travel to Europe! Which drink do you plan to try first?