We all like booze, or at least most of us like it! Whether you like it or not, alcoholic beverages make an important part of a country’s culture and even history. The simple fact you are allowed, or not, to drink them on the streets, or to drink them at all, is a a picture of the society you live in. We made a list of 10 traditional liqueurs by country that you should totally try when traveling!
1 – South Africa – Amarula
From Phalabrowa in Limpopo Province, this drink is creamy and fully natural, made out of marula, a fruit that grows in the region. You might have heard of it if you watched the 1974 documentary “Animal are beautiful people”. This drink is packed with vitamine C, so make sure you try it to be healthy.
2 – Belarus – Krambambula
“France is famous for its cognac and champagne. Spain is famous for its wines. Germany for its beer. Russia for its vodka. Scotland is well-known for its great whisky, Mexico for tequila, Japan for saki. What is Belarus famous for? FOR KRAMBAMBULA!!! Krambambula is the national beverage of the Belarusians!”. This is how BELPI, the national beverage company, announces its drink. However it mostly has a vodka and honey base, it can be mixed with other liqueurs or even with red wine!
3 – Iceland – Brennivín
This Icelandic drink falls on the schnapps category, most common on the nordic countries, Germany and Austria. But Brennivín can also be considered an Akvavit, a kind of scandinavian denomination for herbal flavoured liqueurs, in this case, it is spiced with caraway fruits, cumin, angelica, mixed with fermented mash potatoes. Be aware, natives call it “Black Death”!
4 – Japan – Shōchū
Just like sake, the original Shōchū is known to be distilled from rice, still you can find other variations as the ones distilled from sweet potatoes or other grains. This beverage is stronger than sake, but weaker than whisky or vodka, averaging 25% of alcohol. One of the peculiar things about this Japanese drink is that it requires high quality water, as its use dramatically changes the taste.
5 – Portugal – Ginginha
This sour cherry liqueur is mostly common in the south of Portugal, but appreciated all over the country. Made out of sour cherries, it is usually served with a slice o fruit and is ordered by asking ginginha “with them” (the girls) or without fruit “without them”. It is commonly served on small chocolate shot cups.
6 – Dominican Republic – Mamajuana
To prepare this drink, roots and twigs are soaked in rum or red wine, or even on both for 3 days. After the roots get soaked you take them out and…refill again with the same drinks and honey to give it a sweeter taste. This beverage is also known for its medicinal purposes, cleaning up your system and relieving you from pain or sickness, the stronger it is….the better it takes care of you!
7 – China – Maotai
A kind of “baijiu”, a distilled beverage from grains, Maotai is the most well known Chinese drink. It is often offered during state dinners or other ceremonies. However the original state owned company is the most famous, there are some other producers that use the same methodologies, variations are focused on the thickness of the liquid and on the level of alcohol that varies from 40 to 60%.
8 – Brasil -Chachaça
This is one of the world’s most enjoyed drink, not by itself, but on the widely known cocktail, caipirinha. It is mixed with crushed ice, lots of fruits and even more dark sugar. But if you want to try the original, the Brazilian law and the International Bartenders Association only accepts the name caipirinha for cachaça mixed with lime!
9 – Cambodia – Sombai
Produced in the famous city of Siem Reap, Sombai translates from Khmer to english as “rice please”, this drink is made out of distilled rice mixed with local fruits and herbs. But more than a drink, this is a full experience for tourists visiting the region as the bottles are hand painted and you can even visit their laboratory or take part in a workshop.
10 – Estonia – Vana Tallinn
This is a great mix of flavours and even cultures! This Estonian drink is made out of rum with some Jamaican rum, fruits and herbs giving it a sweet taste. The most amazing are the combinations you can make: sparkling Russian wine, milk or even kefir! You also have differences on the level of alcohol, being the coffee cream version the lightest with 16% and it goes up to 40%.
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