Bottoms up! Salud! Cheers! You may not know all the different ways to toast around the world; while exploring a new country though, every traveller should know the best local options available. Every country has pub crawls which offer you a chance to taste their local beers or wines, however, very few places have tours specifically catering to their local alcohol specialities. These famous spirits are best enjoyed at their source and here is a list of some famous drinks that you need to sample from around the world.
Originating in the Charente region of France, this luxurious grape-based drink is popular all around the world. Distilled twice in copper pot stills and aged at least two years in French Oak Barrels, it matures in the same way as whiskeys and wines do. The most recommended way to have a Cognac is neat.
A traditional punch made with red wine and fruits, it is one of the most popular drinks in Spain. Enjoy a glass of this delicious drink with a side dish of paella or some local tapas.
The word beer is almost synonymous with German culture. Traditional German beer is brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot which permits only water, hops and malt as ingredients. Stretching far beyond the Pilsner, a trip to Germany is incomplete without sampling its brews.
A classy drink that has been popular across the country since the 1700s, it is made with wild fruits, berries and even pinecones. A go-to drink for the locals, it is popular, especially in the cold wintry days.
Meaning “burned liquor”, it is a clear, colourless rice, wheat or barley spirit, usually consumed neat. Restaurants without full liquor licenses in the country use it as a replacement for vodka in their cocktails. The Korean soju-brand Jinro is known to be the highest selling alcohol brand in the world.
A perfect complement to Japanese food, it is a fermented rice drink that is brewed more like beer. The taste, quality and aroma of a sake drink will depend on the fermentation process. Served in small ceramic cups or wine glasses, it best consumed at room temperature.
Often mistaken as a Thai whiskey, Mekhong is made up of 95% molasses and 5% rice. Its pleasing taste and mild flavours are best enjoyed neat or on the rocks.
Portugal: Port Wine
This dessert wine got its start in Portugal’s Duoro Valley region using local grapes and added brandy before the fermentation process. With varieties such as crusted, vintage and white to name a few, enjoy it with cheese or after a meal.
With its smooth sugary taste, this Brazilian classic made from sugarcane is perfect for cocktails. Quite like rum, it has a high alcohol content ranging from 38 to 50 per cent by volume.
South Africa: Amarula
A cream liquor made with sugar, cream and the fruit of the African marula tree, it has an alcohol content of 17% by volume. If you love Baileys, you are sure to love this rich, dessert cocktail. It’s sweet but complex taste is perfect for cocktails.
USA: Bourbon whiskey
This barrel-aged distilled is a type of American whiskey spirit made from 51% corn. Recognised by the America government in 1964 as a “distinctive product of the United States”, it is the quintessential American beverage. Enjoyed in different ways, it can be consumed in a hot toddy or straight up!
The blue agave plant is the main source of tequila’s intoxicating uniqueness. Mexico officially has the rights to the word tequila, although to claim a bottle as a tequila it needs to be bottled within the country and needs to have 51% blue agave juice. The most popular way to drink it is neat without lime and salt. Some regions also offer it with a side of sangrita- a drink made from orange juice, tomato juice and chilli.
You are bound to get thirsty after trekking to the ancient city of Machu Pichu, so a drink of Pisco is the perfect way to celebrate your journey. Made with a base liquor of pisco, egg white, bitters and lime juice, it is an irresistible alcoholic cocktail. Perfectly smooth and silky, you won’t be able to resist having more than one.
‘Curated by Neha Bhise’