Grab a seat at the bar and let Covington Travel serve up some facts about 25 of the most popular drinks around the world!
1. Argentina: Fernet
Fernet is a type of spirit called an amaro (Italian for â€śbitterâ€ť) that is made with various herbs and spices, the most important of which being saffron. Bitter and aromatic, Fernet is typically served on the rocks with Coca Cola. It can also be mixed into coffee drinks and is often served as a digestif after a meal, due to the settling combination of herbs that aid with digestion.
2. Belgium: Jenever
This juniper-flavored liquor is the predecessor to modern gin and was originally sold for medicinal purposes. Jenever is produced in two styles: oude (old) and jonge (young). Jonge has a vodka-like taste, while oude (sometimes aged in wood) is smoother, malty, and aromatic. Jenever can be served chilled, room temperature, or as a chaser with beer.
3. Brazil: Caipirinha
Sit back, relax, and sip on Brazilâ€™s national drink, the Caipirinha. The sweet, refreshing cocktail is made with cachaĂ§a (sugarcane rum), sugar and lime, and is popular in restaurants, bars, and homes throughout the country.
The current-day Caipirinha is thought to have been created from a popular recipe made with lemon, garlic, and honey, which was given to patients who had the Spanish flu. Caipirinha comes from the word â€ścaipiraâ€ť, which designates inhabitants of rural, remote areas of Brazil â€“ almost the exact equivalent of the English term â€śhillbilly!â€ť
4. Czech Republic: Becherovka
Many people say this herbal liqueur â€śtastes like Christmas” since it’s made with anise, cinnamon, and a mixture of herbs. The secret recipe, which is comprised of over 20 botanicals, was formulated in a quest to create an â€śelixir of life,â€ť and is said to be good for digestion. If you enjoy a bittersweet, complex, slightly spicy drink, give Becherovka a try!
5. China: Moutai
Chinaâ€™s national liquor is distilled from fermented sorghum, a type of cereal crop, and is often served at Chinese state dinners and to visiting heads of state (most notably to Richard Nixon in 1972). Moutai is expensive and has a strong, potent taste with a soy sauce-like fragrance that lingers after consumption.
6. Cuba: Mojito
This Cuban classic is made of white rum, sugar, lime, mint and sparkling water, and is known to have been Ernest Hemmingwayâ€™s favorite drink! The true origin of the Mojito is a topic of debate. Some say it was developed in the 1500s when famed explorer Sir Francis Drake and his crew attempted to raid Havana of its gold. Although the invasion was unsuccessful, Sir Francis Drakeâ€™s associate, Richard Drake, created a Mojito-like cocktail known as â€śEl Draqueâ€ť.
Others say the modern form of the Mojito was invented by African slaves working in the Cuban sugar cane fields in the late 19th century.
7. France: Champagne
Franceâ€™s iconic sparkling wine is produced from grapes grown in the countryâ€™s Champagne region and follows rules that require secondary fermentation of the wine to create carbonation. In the 17th century, champagne became associated with royalty, and it remains a symbol of luxury to this day.
Champagne is especially popular at celebrations, and can be sipped alone or mixed with orange juice to create a mimosa, the perfect drink for morning brunch!
8. Germany: Schnaps (Schnapps in English)
German Schnaps is not like the drink youâ€™re used to in the United States. In fact, the term â€śSchnapsâ€ť in Germany refers to any strong alcoholic beverage, especially a fruit-flavored spirit. True German Schnaps is distilled from fermented fruits, most commonly apples, pears, plums, and cherries, and it is bottled without sugar. The end result is a strong (usually 80 proof), colorless liquor with a light, fruity flavor.
9. Greece: Ouzo
Ouzo is a potent, aniseed-flavored aperitif that is widely consumed in Greece and Cyprus. It is traditionally served with a variety of appetizers called mezes, including small fresh fish, feta cheese, olives, and fries.
10. Hungary: PĂˇlinka
PĂˇlinka is a double-distilled fruit brandy made from a variety of fruits, the most common being plums, pears, apricots, apples, and cherries, with some bottles containing whole fruit inside. Hungaryâ€™s iconic drink is served slightly warm, in a tulip-shaped glass that narrows at the rim to enhance the aroma.
In 2004, the EU accepted PĂˇlinka as a Hungarian specialty. As a result, its production is limited to Hungary and four provinces of Austria that produce PĂˇlinka made from apricot.
11. Iceland: Brennivin
Made from fermented grain or mashed potatoes, Icelandâ€™s national liquor is often called â€śBlack Deathâ€ť, and literally translates to â€śburning wineâ€ť. This clear, unsweetened schnapps is Icelandâ€™s version of gin and is flavored with caraway, cumin, angelica, and other botanical ingredients. Traditionally, Brennivin is served cold in a shot glass and is the accompaniment to a unique Icelandic dish called hĂˇkarl, which consists of fermented (rotten) shark meat. Yikes!
12. Ireland: Guinness
Dating back to Dublinâ€™s late 18th Century, this popular Irish dry stout is made from water, barley, roast malt extract, hops, and brewerâ€™s yeast, and is one of the most successful beer brands in the world. A portion of the barley is roasted, contributing to the stoutâ€™s dark color and characteristic â€śburntâ€ť flavor.
Some studies have claimed that Guinness can be beneficial to the heart due to antioxidant compounds similar to those found in certain fruits and vegetables. However, excessive drinking causes a slew of health problems, so youâ€™re better off choosing a salad or fruit smoothie!
13. Italy: Grappa
This gem of the Amalfi Coast referred to by locals as â€śsunshine wineâ€ť, is a sweet smelling, grape-based pomace brandy made by distilling the leftover skins, pulp, seeds, and stems of grapes used in winemaking. This potent liquor (35-60% alcohol by volume) is typically served chilled as either a pre-meal palate cleanser or an after-dinner digĂ©stif. You can even add a shot of Grappa to your espresso to create a caffe correcto, or â€ścorrected coffeeâ€ť!
Don’t see your favorite cocktailÂ on this list? Please come back to Travel Maestro for the second half of our list of 25 International Happy Hour drinks! And if you want to go straight to the source to enjoy one of these national drinks, contact Covington Travel to help plan your trip.