If you’re like most of the world, you can’t really afford to just drop everything and go parading around Europe, drinking your way from town to town, country to country, with all of the carefree wonder in the world. Most of us can barely afford a night out on the town at home where drinks have now skyrocketed to double-digits. It’s enough to make you want nothing more than to just sit at home with your mates, drinking cheap bottles of wine over Netflix. But it doesn’t have to be that way – you can mix the two world. Mix them like a fine cocktail, in fact. So following on from Part 1 where we visited Austria, Norway and Portugal, here is Part 2 of our guide to drinking your way across Europe without even having to leave the comfort of your own home.
You have no doubt heard of limoncello, but have you actually tasted it? This 100-year-old liqueur is produced predominantly in the south of Italy, most famously around the Gulf of Naples, the Sorrentine Peninsula, and other well-known Italian destinations like Sardinia, Sicily, and the island of Capri.
Vibrant in color and powerful in taste, limoncello is traditionally made from the zest of lemons – specifically Femminello St. Teresa or Sorrento lemons. The zest is steeped in alcohol and then mixed with simple syrup, the temperature and water-to-sugar ratio of which being altered to produce liquids of varying color, clarity, viscosity, and flavor. In America, the drink is produced using Californian lemons. More and more people are taking up the making of limoncello themselves, too, as it is relatively easy to produce. It is a high-proof alcohol and is typically served chilled after dinner to help digestion, but it can nonetheless be used as a cocktail ingredient, too. It works particularly well as a summer brunch alternative to mimosas that replaces orange juice with refreshing limoncello and lemon juice, as well as a fancy way to spice up a tired cocktail like this recipe for The Paradiso (part Screwdriver and part Martini).
- 1½ oz orange vodka
- ½ oz limoncello
- ½ oz Aperol or Campari
- 1 oz fresh orange juice
- Dried cranberries for garnish
Combine ingredients into a shaker (except cranberries) with ice and shake vigorously. Pour into chilled glass before adding cranberries on either a toothpick or floating on top.
This unsweetened alcoholic drink from Turkey is anise-flavored and is often served with seafood. It fits into the same group of alcoholic drinks, such as ouzo, pastis and Sambuca, that are popular throughout the region, the Mediterranean in Greece, and in other Balkan nations. In Turkey, the most popular brands of raki are Yeni Raki and Tekirdağ. It dates back nearly 200 years and is essentially alcohol made from twice-distilled grapes, produced in a traditional copper vessel, that is then flavored with anise, which gives it its trademark taste.
Raki is typically taken straight, although some like to mix it with chilled water. Adding ice cubes to raki leads to a cloudy appearance, similar to absinthe. When ice is added and it takes on this milky appearance, it is sometimes referred to as “Lion’s Milk.” For a more elaborate cocktail, however, try the Swinging Sultan.
- 6 oz vodka
- 3 oz pure pomegranate juice
- 1½ oz Triple Sec (Cointreau can be substituted)
- 1½ oz fresh lime juice
- Raki (spritz if possible)
- Tangerine or orange twists for garnish
Combine vodka, triple sec, plus the pomegranate and lime juice into a shaker, shaking vigorously. Pour that into a martini glass before lightly adding a dash of raki – or even spritzing the top two or three times of the cocktail if you’re able to – and the peel twist.
Do you want to drink something nicknamed “The Black Death”? Of course you do! This Icelandic drink has only found its way to the American market in recent years — Katie Couric even brought some back from Iceland for Jimmy Fallon. Its bright, almost fluorescent green colour reminiscent of absinthe and its taste equatable to vodka is slowly giving it a reputation as the liqueur of the moment. Brennivín is distilled from potato mash and flavored with herbs including caraway seeds, cumin, angelica, and an assortment of others. Despite people comparing it most predominantly to vodka, it belongs to the brandy and schnapps family of drinks.
This drink is one you’re supposed to drink neat, but hopefully you’ve kept the bottle in the freezer to take some of the sting off of it. In Iceland it’s most typically had with a shark dish called hakarl, but you are more than welcome to take a shot of brennivín. If you want to experiment with a cocktail – and best bet is your party guests won’t have sampled any of them before – try the simple Katia cocktail.
- 1 oz Brennivin
- ½ oz Kahlua
- Top with Club Soda
- Splash of Lemon Juice
- Garnish with a Lemon Slice
Simply shake everything in a shaker, or poor directly into glass. Make sure it’s served with ice.