U.K. / Ireland – whisky – Cheers!
„Whisky is Scotland’s national drink. The art of whisky distilling has been perfected in Scotland for generations. Distillers take pure water from Scotland’s crystal-clear streams and plump, golden barley from the fields and transform them into a precious spirit, which is then poured into oak casks and tucked away in warehouses to mature. Most whiskies wait for decades till they’re perfect – a long sleep before their moment to shine.“
„Whisky is made via distillation of fermented grain and first records of that process was found in the archeological digs of millennia BC Babylon and Mesopotamia. Initially used for creation of perfumes and aromas, distillation 2nd slowly spread across the ancient civilizations where it received numerous adaptations and improvements, finally finding its home behind the walls of the European Christian monasteries.”
Germany – Schnäpse (schnapps) , beer – Prost!
„You may be surprised to learn that Germany has more than 1,200 breweries. And more than 5,000 German brands. German beer is famous throughout the world. The famous “Purity Law” of 1516 has been recognised by the European Parliament, through which the German recipe is protected as a “traditional German foodstuff”.
„The original schnapps, translated from German to “a mouthful,” was first made in Germany and is still consumed there regularly, as well as in Austria, Denmark and Switzerland. Today, schnapps (which is technically considered a fruit brandy) is usually drunk neat (without ice or any other mixers) in Northern Europe.“
Czech Republic – becherovka, beer – Na zdravi!
„The Czech most popular drink is of course beer. Czech people are proud of their beer and drink it with great pleasure not only in pubs, beer halls or restaurants but also at home. Drinking and purchasing alcohol is allowed from the age of 18, and is permitted also in public places such as streets, trains, etc.
Becherovka is a herbal liquor from Karlovy Vary, traditionally made out of several secret plants. It is said to be good for digestion and to have medicinal properties.“
Russia – vodka – На здоровье!
„Drinking vodka in Russia is a different custom than in North America or Europe. To drink vodka in the right way, you need to have zakusky (Russian for the meal you eat with alcohol – mainly vodka). This can consist of anything from simple loaves of bread to full spreads of delicious appetizers. The most common are sour or fresh cucumbers, herring, soup, and meat. If you are dining with locals who are serving soup or herring or potatoes be prepared for a generous amount of vodka to be provided. The convention is to say a toast, za zdoroviye (“for good health”) is the most common, drink the shot (or half) and follow with a bite of the food. Zakusk(a/y)(singular/plural), will be something salty, dried, or fatty. This is so that the vodka is either absorbed by the food or repelled by the fat.“
France – wine, champagne – Santé!
„France is currently the second-largest wine-producing country on Earth (after Italy), creating more than six billion bottles, on average, each year. The relatively unprestigious Languedoc-Roussillon pumps out the biggest quantities, mostly for domestic consumption, but map out the regions by reputation and suddenly (and arguably) Bordeaux moves up to No. 1, followed by Burgundy.“
„Champagne is a sparkling wine produced from the Champagne region grape grown in France following rules that demand, among other things, secondary fermentation of the wine in the bottle to create carbonation, specific vineyard practices, sourcing of grapes exclusively from specific parcels in the Champagne appellation and specific pressing regimes unique to the region. Some use the term Champagne as a generic term for sparkling wine, but in most countries, it is illegal to officially label any product Champagne unless it both comes from the Champagne region and is produced under the rules of the appellation.“
Spain – sangria, calimocho – ¡Salud!
„The Calimocho, or Kalimotxo, is another cocktail made with Spanish wine however this is not as upmarket as either tinto de verano or sangría. Calimocho is made from mixing cheap red wine with cola – a drink which is made throughout the world but is particularly popular in Spain.“
„Sangria is a perfect drink to make at home for yourself, your friends and your family. It is the perfect drink to enjoy on a hot summer’s day and is great with tapas. The following recipe is just a quick guideline as to how to make the drink and the basic ingredients, however you can always change the ingredients to suit your tastes.
- 1 litre of red wine – traditional recipes say a wine from La Rioja but you can use what you like
- 3 peaches
- ½ lemon
- 2 oranges
- ½ glass of lemon juice
- 50g of sugar
- 1 glass of fresh orange juice
- 1 spiral of lemon peel
- Peel the peaches, slice in half and then remove the stone from the middle. Cut into fine slices.
- Peel the oranges and slice into thin slices. Repeat with the lemon.
- Place these fruit slices in a container with the sugar and brandy. Allow this mixture to marinade for up to 3 hours.
- Put the mixture into a large glass jug. Then add the red wine, orange and lemon juice.
- Add the lemon peel spiral to the jug and leave to cool in the refrigerator.
- Serve the drink very cold with ice.“
Also see: Drinks and countries – Part One!
To be continued …