While traveling around Europe we were amazed by how every country had such a strong alcoholic culture and traditions. Every country had their own locally brewed beers, and many had their own beloved types of alcohol and spirits typical for their region.
There are ”beer belts”, ”wine belts” and ”vodka belts”, dividing Europe into sections of where you drink what – but one thing is sure: in Europe, alcohol is everywhere, and it is very intergrated into the peoples’ traditons and customs… it is easy to learn about the difference in the effects of certain alcoholic beverages on a person.
Here are some great tasty drinks from around Europe:
Czech Beer – Czech Republic
There are so many kinds of beer in Europe that choosing one specific beer is impossible.
But the best way to find good beer is to visit the countries within the so called ”beer belt” (Belgium, Ireland, UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and a few regions of other countries).
However, although many might disagree, it’s Czech Republic that takes the prize for best beer – Czech beer is very tasty, incredibly cheap and you get some huge beer glasses.
Then of course, you HAVE to include the Irish Guinness beer 😉
Spritz – Northern Italy
When you’re in the northern regions of Italy, you will see that almost everyone in the cafes and bars during the late afternoon starts ordering a random orange colored drink.
This drink is called Spritz, and is prepared with white wine, some bitter liqueur like Aperol and a bit of sparkling water, served with ice.
In Padova (just outside of Venice) every single young person drinks it and it has become the traditional drink for the students of the University of Padua.
It originates from Venice and is based on the Austrian Spritzer.
It’s very tasty, and perfect for a hot summer day – plus, you’ll blend in with the locals 😉
Port Wine – Portugal
I could write endless posts just talking about all the tasty European wines, from the Italian Franz Haas to the French Chateau La Lagune, but if I had to choose only one type of wine, it has to be Port wine – it is one of the tastiest wines I’ve tried!
It is so different from other red wines, and is only produced in the Porto region of Portugal.
You will soon realize why all the locals buy wine carafes and drink glass after glass as the night proceeds – it’s quite thick and very sweet.
Rakia – The Balkans
Rakia originates from the 9th century in Bulgaria, and is today the national drink for the whole Balkans.
When you travel around there, you will very likely be offered a few shots by your hosts, as part of a tradition to their guests.
Rakia is a brandy made by the distillation of fermented fruits like plums and cherries, drunken before the meal (lunch and dinner) rather than afterwards.
Ouzo – Greece
This anise-flavored drink has become a symbol for Greek culture. It’s a very strong drink, even when it’s mixed with water, and should be sipped slowly.
Since it takes a little longer than usual to feel tipsy, many people drink far too much and then after a while it all comes at once and they’re suddenly feeling really drunk – that’s why most people drink it together with food and mezethes (Greek style of tapas).
Grappa – Italy
Grappa is made by distilling the skins, seeds, pulps and stems from the leftovers when making wine.
In the old days it was only made to prevent any waste from the wine making, as the people at that time were very poor.
Grappa comes from Northern Italy, and to many people there Grappa is also used as a folk remedy for toothache, rheumatism and indigestion.
Traditionally you drink it after a meal, sometimes mixed into an expresso, perhaps this custom is to make the fiery drink help digest your dinner.