Regardless if you’ve made your way through our first global booze tour or not, we thought we’d add a few more items (some a little stranger than those found in the last article) to the list that you can imbibe as you make your way across this amazing planet of ours — or if you’re lucky, find somewhere locally.
The alcoholic beverages a particular nation tends to favor often say a lot about the tastes and customs of the people living there. In other words, the service being provided here isn’t so much about becoming an international lush, but rather more about helping you gain some kind of multicultural experience… and if you believe that, you’ve probably already been dipping into the sauce.
If you find yourself wandering around Holland, and you get tired of all that Dutch beer (albeit really good beer), why not go in for some Dutch genever? Genever, also know as “Dutch gin,” is a great way to mix things up. Simply distill some juniper berries and you’ll soon have a concoction that, once upon a time, was marketed as a medical treatment. Who says a bit of Dutch genever isn’t good for the needs of the body, as well as the soul? There’s really only one way to find out, so drink up.
Chilean Pisco Sour
The national drink of Chile is the Pisco Sour. (It’s also really big in Peru). This cocktail is an amalgam of pisco brandy, lime, egg whites (or not, depending on tastes) and maybe some Angostura bitters. While recipes may vary from location to location, and are the subject of much debate, it’s still a delicious drink that can turn a good day in South America into a great one.
Greek Ouzo, widely popular in Greece (of course), is an aperitif given its distinctive flavor by the anise plant. When you imbibe this milky white drink, you’re downing a bit of Greek culture at the same time. Ouzo is wonderful for anyone who loves the taste of black licorice, and is also looking for the perfect beverage to accompany a host of Greek appetizers, ranging from fresh olives to fish and feta cheese.
Everyone loves honey, right? It’s the nectar of the gods, after all. If you do happen to be a fan of honey, you’ll go gaga (not Lady GaGa) for tej, which is a kind of Ethiopian mead. If you’re not quite sure what mead is (even though you’ve heard it referenced in countless Viking movies), you’re still going to enjoy it. Mead, for your edification, is a kind of fermented “honey beer.” In other words, tej is a very sweet drink.
Got a lot of horse milk on hand (who doesn’t?), and suffer from a wandering spirit as well? If that’s the case, kumis –which is a kind of fermented mare’s milk — just might be for you. This drink, a favorite of people living on the vast steppes of Central Asia, takes a little getting used to, but once you do, you’ll be drinking an alcoholic beverage that was enjoyed by the mighty nomadic warriors of old.
You can’t roam around the planet without running into a few vodkas here and there. One of the best (there are many) is U’luvka Vodka. This elegant Polish vodka comes in a swan-like clear bottle with a snaking neck. The creative bottle design aside, U’luvka Vodka has a very smooth and flowery taste, and is very easy to drink, despite the rather hefty retail price.
Vietnamese Snake Wine
If you want to boast to your friends back home about just how badass you were on your trip abroad, you’ll have to opt for a glass or two of Vietnamese snake wine, or something of a similar ilk. The concept here is pretty simple: Take a venomous snake (the booze neutralizes the venom), stick it in a bottle of some kind of rice alcohol, let it ferment for a time, and then drink up. Fun for the whole family.
If you dig schnapps, you’ll dig Iceland’s Brennivín. This Nordic liquor is just the thing to get you through a long winter. Caraway seeds and potatoes add to the flavor and potency of this exceedingly strong drink. Until recently, Brennivín was hard to come by outside of Iceland, but thanks to the miracles of the global marketplace, you can now buy this beautiful beverage in Canada and the United States. Be still, our slightly tipsy, booze-loving hearts.