“There cannot be good living where there is not good drinking”, said Benjamin Franklin once, and rightly so! A little bit of booze in our systems and we’re on cloud nine already. Just to be sure you’re not clinging to the same old glass of cocktail you’ve had umpteen number of times in your life, here’s a list of some of the alcoholic beverages from around the world that are definitely worth a try.
SIAM SUNRAY- THAILAND
If Tom Yum soup is the best you thought Thailand could come up with, you haven’t tasted their signature cocktail yet. Siam Sunrays are the brainchild of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Thai Hotel Association (THA) who’ve made this drink out of lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaves, Thai lime and Thai bird chilli (phrik kee nuu) as all these ingredients represent the culinary culture of Thailand.
Populous Ethiopia is diverse in its culture and traditions with over 80 ethnic groups residing here, each of which have distinctive practices. However, you can always attribute ‘Bunna’ (coffee) and Tej for uniting these diverse groups (however briefly that might be) to share something in common with equal spirit. Tej is basically mead made at home, flavoured with the powdered leaves of rhamnus and is bottled in bereles (vase shaped containers).
Synonymous with the land of sun, sand and beaches- Goa, Feni (also spelled as ‘Fenny’ or ‘Fennym’) is made either out of cashew or distilled from fermented toddy. The credit for the popularity of this highly alcoholic spirit goes to the various ways in which it can be consumed; add a twist of lime, mix it in a cocktail or just drink it straightaway, Feni is not going to disappoint for sure.
Drinking Ouzo is an art, they say in Greece and never without a platter of mezedes (appetizers) by its side. The whole idea is to savor the sweet taste of this anise flavoured drink rather than just quaffing it. Some places also serve this drink as an apéritif in shot glasses.
Port wine- Portugal
One among the most iconic wines of the world, Port is basically a fortified wine to which brandy is added just before it starts to ferment. Sweet in taste, this alcoholic beverage is often served as a dessert wine and has been considered as the best liquor to pair with most of the main dishes.
Made from pomace, this drink has been accorded GI (geographical indication) status by the EU, which implies that the drink can be called ‘Grappa’ only if it has been produced in Italy. This distilled beverage comes in various flavors and is primarily consumed after meals or added to espresso to make ‘Cafe Correto’. Definitely firewater that would keep you warm on a cold winter’s night.
Though this questionable ‘green fairy’ traces its origins back to Switzerland, the due credit for its popularity goes to France. Made of anise, fennel and wormwood (a plant), Absinthe had once been outlawed in quite a large part of the western world due to the hallucinogenic properties that this drink possessed, which led to fears of people going mad after consumption. Recent studies however, repudiate these beliefs and believe this spirit to be only as harmful as any other alcohol.
The national beverage of Mongolia, Airag is a fermented dairy product made from mare’s milk. The milk is filtered through a cloth and poured into a leather sack which is constantly stirred with a wooden masher. As a gesture of hospitality, the Mongolians offer a bowl of Airag to all the visitors, which they are expected to drink.
Klanir Feigling- Germany
This vodka based fig liquer is very popular in Germany and is available in many natural flavors. As per the custom, the consumer is supposed turn the bottle upside down and tap the cap before drinking it so that bubbles are formed.
Placed your bets on the Irish Whiskey and the Mexican Tequila to be the most popular drinks? Well the South Korean Singer, Psy’s ‘best friend’ takes the cake! Soju has unquestionably been people’s favourite poison, majorly because of its efficiency in getting you high within minutes. We’re guessing, that’s what paved way for the peppy ‘Gangam Style’ maybe.
This gastronomical delight is a typical fruit brandy made of apricot, pear, plum, and cherry, and is famously known for its distinctive aroma. Formerly consumed in the form of a medicine, the locals of Hungary consider this spirit to be an effective digestif and therefore have a shot of Palinka after their meal.
Sourtoe Cocktail- Canada
The name itself is quite suggestive of what the drink is all about. A cocktail that contains amputated toe, simple, isn’t it? Oh, and be sure your lips touch the toe while having the last sip of this cocktail; a tradition followed in Dawson City since 1973 when the Yukon local Captain, Dick Stevenson found a toe preserved in a jar of alcohol and henceforth started serving the toe in a “Sourtoe Cocktail” at the Eldorado hotel bar. Not too sure if he was pretty drunk himself to come up with such a bizarre idea.
So ditch the beer every once in a while and dance away the night with the best of what these countries have to offer while you’re there.