Food & Drink

The secret local drinks you need to order in 19 countries around the world

Posted by
Dave Fawbert
Published

Travelling is one of the great joys of life. But what brings greater joy than that? Discovering something that none of your other fellow travellers will find. And then incessantly telling them how amazing it was and how much they missed out.

So, to bring you joy, online casino JohnSlots have created a graphic showing 19 obscure drinks from around the world, many with interesting backstories and rituals.

So read on and treat your tastebuds to a few of these next time you’re in the area by summoning over the barman and asking for the ‘special stuff’...

1. SWEDEN: Akvavit

What is it? A celebratory shot, often drunk after singing a song, when it is called a snapsvisa

Ingredients: A spirit (typically Brännvin) and herbal, spiced flavourings (could be caraway, cardamom, cumin, anise, fennel, lemon or orange peel and dill)

And another thing: Akvavit literally translates as ‘water of life’

2. NORWAY: Gløgg

What is it? A mulled wine, traditionally drunk around Halloween and Christmas time

Ingredients: Wine, cinnamon, ginger, orange peel, cardamom, cloves and sugar

And another thing: Gløgg is often served at special gløgg parties during the festive season, typically alongside a Norwegian-style rice pudding called risgrøt

A cloudberry, used to make lakka

3. FINLAND: Lakka

What is it? A traditional sweet Finnish liqueur with an alcohol volume of around 21%

Ingredients: Cloudberries steeped in alcohol for 2-6 months

And another thing: Lakka, or cloudberries are amber-coloured edible fruits similar to the raspberry or blackberry

4. NETHERLANDS: Jenever

What is it? The Juniper-flavoured traditional liquor of the Netherlands, which eventually gave rise to the invention of gin

Ingredients: Juniper and malt alcohol

And another thing: It’s typically drunk as a neat shot, usually as a chaser with beer

5. UK: Mead

What is it? One of the oldest alcoholic drinks in the world

Ingredients: Fermented honey and water, sometimes combined with fruits, spices, grains or hops

And another thing: Mead was drunk in the Old English poem Beowulf and was the primary heroic drink in Celtic poetry

6. GERMANY: Kräuterlikör

What is it? A digestif with a high sugar content, typically drunk neat. They range in strength from 15% to 44% ABV

Ingredients: Liqueur, herbs and spices

And another thing: Kräuterlikör dates back to medieval authors like Hildegard of Bingen who wrote of mixtures of alcohol and bitter substances used as medicine

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7. FRANCE: Suze

What is it? A bitter, floral and earth aperitif made from the gentian root which grows in the mountains of France

Ingredients: Gentian root, bitters

And another thing: In 1912, Pablo Picasso depicted a bottle of Suze in his collage Verre et bouteille de Suze

8. SOUTH KOREA: Makgeolli

What is it? A milky, light alcoholic drink

Ingredients: Rice or wheat mixed with nuruk (a Korean fermentation starter), can also be flavoured with corn, chestnuts and apples

And another thing: The first mention of this drink was in the founding story of the Goguryeo during the reign of King Dongmyeong who was born in 58 BC

9. ITALY: Amaro

What is it? An after-dinner digestif mostly drunk neat

Ingredients: Artichoke, an array of plants and herbs

And another thing: Usually served in a mini wine glass; other versions are made from black truffles, rhubarb, fennel or walnuts

10. SERBIA: Sljivovica

What is it? A spirit brewed by many Serbians in their homes and often consumed at events such as birthdays and weddings

Ingredients: Plum brandy

And another thing: It’s usually drunk neat and unchilled as it’s thought that the flavour of the plums is most noticeable at room temperature

11. DENMARK: Gammel Dansk

What is it? A bitter liqueur often consumed at breakfast, brunch, wedding anniversaries and birthdays

Ingredients: Rowan berries, anise, yellow gentian, angelica, ginger, seville orange, star anise, laurel, cinnamon, nutmeg

And another thing: The complete recipe is a secret, and its name literally translates as “Old Danish”

12. RUSSIA: Kvass

What is it? A very light (0.5-1%) alcoholic beverage – classified as a non-alcoholic drink by Russian standards

Ingredients: Fermented rye bread

And another thing: Traditional kvass was repurposed in the early 2000s as an alternative to Western soft drinks as part of an ‘anti-Cola-nisation’ campaign

13. GREECE: Tsipouro

What is it? A strong distilled spirit containing 40-45% ABV, traditionally made in Thessaly

Ingredients: Fermented grapes, often flavoured with anise

And another thing: Depending on the time of year, it’s used either as refreshment, where it is chilled in a shot glass or on ice, or as a hot beverage

14. SPAIN: Patxaran

What is it? A sweet, brown-coloured liquor with 25-30% alcohol, served as a disgestif after dinner

Ingredients: Distilled sloe berries, cinnamon or anise, coffee beans

And another thing: Typically drunk in the Navarre and Basque Country, but found all over Spain

15. MALTA: Hanini

What is it? An after-dinner digestif

Ingredients: Carob liqueur

And another thing: It was named after the HMS Hanini, owned by the Magro family, which eventually sunk after decades of service transporting herbs, carobs and cereals across various ports in the Mediterranean

16. ANDES: Chicha de Jora

What is it? A traditional beer with a thick foam, sweet note and sour, cider-like aftertaste

Ingredients: Jora corn

And another thing: Dating back to Inca times, it’s today enjoyed in small Andean villages in the Sacred Valley. It is traditional to spill the first drop of the beer on the ground, saying ‘Pachamama, Santa Tierra’ as an offering to Earth Mother (Pachamama in Quechua)

17. BALI: Brem

What is it? A sweet and acidic beer-like beverage with an ABV of 5-14%. It can be white or red depending on the proportions of white and black glutinous rice used in production

Ingredients: Fermented rice, dry-starter called ragi tape

And another thing: It has a role in temple ceremonies of Hinduism called Tetabuhan; it is used as an offering beverage for Buto Kala (Kala the Giant) in order to evoke harmony

18. INDIA: Feni

What is it? A spirit produced exclusively in Goa, India with a typical ABV of 42-45%

Ingredients: Cashew or coconut palm toddy

And another thing: In the coconut palm toddy version, a toddy tapper called a ‘rendier’ undertakes the gruelling and lengthy process of collecting juice from the bud of palm tree flowers

19. IRAN: Aragh Sagi

What is it? A type of distilled alcoholic beverage which contains at least 65% pure ethanol

Ingredients: Raisins, dates or the saccharum plant

And another thing: Traditionally produced in several Iranian cities, it was outlawed after the 1979 revolution. Today, like all alcoholic beverages, it is still illegal. Its name literally translates as “doggy distillate” after the Meikadeh company which produced it had a picture of a beagle on the bottle

(Main image: Amaro Averna, other images: iStock/Rex/OpenCage/WikiCommons)

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Dave Fawbert

ShortList.com staff writer Dave’s primary passions are pop, prose, punning and power ballads (and alliteration). A lower division football enthusiast and long-suffering cricket fan, he is one of only 110 people followed on Twitter by Chas Hodges from Chas ‘n’ Dave. Follow Dave on Twitter like Chas: @davefawbert

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