Cheers! Signature Drinks Across Europe
Travelling around Europe can be thirsty work. All that sightseeing, walking cobblestone streets, lazing on warm beaches… you’ll definitely need some refreshing beverages along the way!
Sampling signature drinks from each European country you visit is also a cheeky way to get more insight into your destinations.
Here’s a quick look at some of the continent’s most iconic beverages.
A Pint of Guinness – Ireland
When in Ireland, you really should order a pint of the black stuff, otherwise known as Guinness. This is a stout ale with a strong smoky taste, and many fans say it ‘just tastes better’ when you drink it in Ireland. Visit the brewing factory in Dublin and you’ll see a Guinness waterfall!
A Jug of Pimm’s – UK
Pimm’s No 1 is a fruity, low-alcohol spirit that’s a British favourite during the warmer summer months. It’s generally mixed in a large jug with fresh seasonal fruits and lemonade, garnished with mint, then poured over ice. Extremely refreshing and easy to drink, you might hear locals saying ‘it’s Pimm’s o’clock!’ to hint they’re ready for a glass or two (or several!).
A Dram of Scotch Whisky – Scotland
After a day exploring the lochs and crags in Scotland, you’ll want to order a ‘wee dram’ of scotch. There’s a host of traditional distilleries in Scotland offering different malts and blends. Identify a locally made whisky by the spelling of the word – they drop the ‘e’ so it’s whisky, not whiskey – and it can only be labelled ‘Scotch’ if it’s been distilled and bottled in the region.
After-Dinner Limoncello – Italy
An alcoholic digestif from Italy, limoncello is a lemon liqueur that’s largely produced in the South of Italy, around the Amalfi Coast and Bay of Naples . Although lemon zest is used to create limoncello, it’s mixed with syrup to give it a sweet taste (rather than bitter). This is a great palate cleanser often served chilled after dinner.
A Bottle of Trappist Beer – Belgium
To say that Belgium is the home of beer is not an overstatement. The country has a long tradition of brewing crisp, clear ales and stouts to suit every palate. To narrow down the selection to something more specialist, keep an eye out for Trappist beers, which are brewed in monasteries.
Pop the Champagne – France
Having a glass of Champagne in the Champagne region of France is a holiday moment not to be missed. While most people refer to all sparkling wines as ‘champagne’, it’s actually only sparkling wine that has been bottled in this special area of France that can carry the name on the label. It’s best served chilled, ideally with a beautiful view of the vineyards.
A Pitcher of Sangria – Spain
The perfect way to watch the Mediterranean sunset is while enjoying a glass of sangria. An alcoholic Spanish punch, it mixes red wine, chopped fruit (usually slices of fresh orange and lemon), and a dash of brandy – all topped up with orange juice or sparkling water. Sugar can be used to sweeten as desired, and it can either be served warm or over crushed ice, making it the ideal daytime or early evening refresher.
Becherovka – Czech Republic
Often drunk after a meal, Becherovka is a liquor with a gingery or cinnamon flavour. The specific blend of herbs is a well-kept manufacturer’s secret, but it could be described as having a Christmas-like scent. It can be mixed with tonics and fresh lime juice for a longer drink, put into refreshing cocktails, or taken as a shot when served cold.
A Shot of Schnapps – Austria
Schnapps are distilled spirits with a high alcohol content, and they come in a variety of flavours. They can be fruity (peach, apple, cherry and pear are particularly tasty), dry (as in wheat schnapps), or herbal fusions (like peppermint or the well-known Jägermeister). Take a shot of schnapps before a meal as an aperitif, or when you’re rounding off a sociable evening of drinking.
Warming Gluhwein – Germany
Refreshing during the cold German winter, gluhwein is all of the flavours of Christmas warmed up and poured in a glass. It’s made from gently heating red wine with sugar, cinnamon, cloves and fresh orange. Holding on to a glass of gluhwein is the perfect way to warm up chilly fingers when out shopping at German Christmas markets.
When you’re travelling Europe, sampling a local drink at each destination is a great way to immerse yourself – tastebuds and all – into the local culture. What’s your favourite European beverage? Tell us about it on our Facebook page!