10 AUTHENTIC DRINKS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
When it comes to authentic drinks and food, I’m always up for scoping out what the local scene has to offer. However, authentic beverages are more my scene as until recently I have not been that much of a foodie! So, with that in mind, authentic drinks are something that I do take away from my travels to far flung locales and try and recreate the tastes at home to relive those unforgettable memories! It’s also a pretty good medicine for holiday blues!. I occasionally even purchase the main ingredients abroad to try and retain that literal sense of authentic drinks feeling when back at home!
I bring you 10 authentic drinks from around the world…
1. A BALTIC WINTER (BALZAM)
Now, we’ve all heard about the Baltic winter right?! Well, to keep the chill out, the locals in Riga have a very special tipple known as Balzam. It’s actually known as the Riga Black Balsam essence, where botanicals are infused in spirit-water and then blended with honey, caramel, natural juices and finally bottled in a clay vessel. You can purchase a version of it blended with blackcurrant but I tasted a more toned down version called the Baltic Winter. The base was the blackcurrant black balsam with mint, cranberry, mandarin and pomegranate. I’d say it reminds me of a bitter stronger mulled wine. There’s lots more on food and drink in Latvia here.
2. STRAWBERRY LEMONADE
NEW ORLEANS, USA
I’d heard of the Pink Louisiana lemonade way before I went to New Orleans (read more on my New Orleans post, it ain’t just about the Mardis Gras) and was delighted to see it on the menu at the first restaurant we entered! Pink lemonade usually consists of blended strawberries, ice, sugar and lemon in specific quantities to produce the perfect tangy come sweet mix (lots of playing around with the quantities!). The perfect thirst quencher to be enjoyed on the banks of the Mississippi in the heat of the deep south with a sax and blues in the distance breeze.
Fulfilling my dream of some Barista training in Costa Rica, I experienced the story of the coffee bean. From planting to picking, to drying and roasting and finally how to make that perfect cup of coffee. Costa Rica does produce some of the best coffee globally and believe me I had it with chocolate, without chocolate, black, with milk and every other which way possible! It’s safe to say we left with a mini shipment of our own! Lots more information on Costa Rican coffee here!
4. PISCO SOUR
My beloved Peru had me sipping Pisco Sours from the day I laid foot in the country! One of my most poignant moments was having a Pisco Sour in hand whilst riding on the Belmond Hiram train en route to Machu Picchu. Also learning how to make an authentic Pisco Sour at The Belmond Sanctuary lodge with the most amazing view of Huyana Picchu (peruse the blog post here). If you’re not familiar with a Pisco Sour, it’s basically the potent Pisco liqueur mixed with lemon and sugar topped with egg white and a dash of Angostura bitter. To this day Dr C still holds it as the cocktails of kings and it truly brings back memories of a very special country.
For me the best Caipirinha I had was at was a Iguassu falls on a rainy afternoon in the bar of the Belmond Hotel das Cataratas. The traditional Brazilian drink is refreshingly zesty containing cachaca, sugar and lime served on crushed ice. It’s perfect in the Brazilian humidity and easy to create for any occasion in your own home bar!
6. CHIANTI WINE
When in Tuscany, it’s obligatory to visit the rolling hills and Chianti vineyards, which are present in abundance! An afternoon of wine tasting, accompanied by a platter of cheese, truffle oils and hams will have you in the mood for placing one or two orders of the deep red elixir to be shipped back home. Read all about my experiences at Tuscany wine tours: Are you a Chianti convert?
Hemingway made it a national drink and to this day, you will NOT get a Mojito like you do on the streets of Old Habana and that’s a FACT! Havana club Rum is the base and if you’re in Havana, I’d thoroughly recommend visiting the museum and purchasing some of the classic Havana Club Rum, which incidentally retails at £5 a bottle out there! Great Mojitos in Havana are not greater than in the quirky, Bodeguita del Media, truly Hemingways hangout! All in the name of research, I even have a post on the best Mojito haunts in Havana!
8. SINGAPORE SLING
When in Singapore, it’s obligatory to visit the colonial home of the Singapore Sling at The Raffles Hotel. The piano playing in the background at the open courtyard in the warm Singapore breeze is the perfect place to enjoy the sling made from gin, cherry heering liqueurs, Cointreau, Benedictine, pineapple and lime juice, grenadine and a dash of bitters topped with a glacier cherry! Feel transported to the time of colonial rule and High tea with this long drink in hand.
A speciality in Valencia but originally from Central America, Horchata is made from jicaro seeds ground with rice and ground cocoa cinnamon, sesame seeds, nutmeg, tiger nuts and vanilla. It’s a cool drink best enjoyed with pastries at Horchata bars in Valencia. It makes a refreshing change from a mid-morning coffee and you can read all about it in my Valencia post.
Not particularly my drink of choice but give me some Greek cheese and olives with a shot glass of Ouzo and you won’t see me complaining too much! It usually contains anise, cardamom, cloves for flavour but does contain almost 96% alcohol ABV. The Athenians swear by it with bar snacks post work it makes for a truly authentic drinks experience. You can delve into my Athens food and drinks experience a little more here!
There you have my 10 authentic drinks from around the world. Tell me in the comments below, what are your recommendations?