Drinks and countries – Part Three

Cuba – rum, mojito – ¡Salud!

Rum is known a typical Cuban drink. It is the basic ingredient of cocktails like Cuba Libre, Mojito, Cubanitos etc. Most popular brand is the famous Bacardi, which takes its name from the family that started the company. Other high quality brands are Caribbean Club, Havana Club, Gran Reserva, Cagney, Matusalem, Vatarano, Mulata, Siboney. There are three types of rum: white rum, gold rum and dark rum, they are all highly popular in the country, not only as cocktail ingredients, but by themselves as well.

Mojito Recipe Ingredients:

1 teaspoon powdered sugar
Juice from 1 lime (2 ounces)
4 mint leaves
1 sprig of mint 
Havana Club white Rum (2 ounces)
2 ounces club soda

Place the mint leaves into a long mojito glass (often called a “collins” glass) and squeeze the juice from a cut lime over it. You’ll want about two ounces of lime juice, so it may not require all of the juice from a single lime.

Add the powdered sugar, then gently smash the mint into the lime juice and sugar with a muddler (a long wooden device pictured below, though you can also use the back of a fork or spoon if one isn’t available). Add ice (preferably crushed) then add the rum and stir, and top off with the club soda (you can also stir the club soda in as per your taste). Garnish with a mint sprig. Serves 1.”

pexels-photo-53300Agustin Piñero

Photo by Agustin Piñero


Turkey – raki – Şerefe!

“The nickname for Raki is lion’s milk because it is traditionally drunk with water and ice. The water clouds it to a milky white appearance hence the nickname. Raki has a subtle taste of aniseed and it can be tempting to drink the whole bottle but before you knock back glass after glass, be aware that the alcohol content is 40%.”

“The best way to drink Rakı, which is famous as the Turkish national drink, is with flat cylindrical glasses and cold (8-10 degree). One can drink it with water, straight, with soda or mineral water.

Although Rakı which is a distilled alcoholic beverage strongly aromatized with lots of anise, it can be consumed as a cocktail, but more commonly it goes best with cold hors d’oeuvres. “

pexels-photo-52065tyler hendy

Photo by Tyler Hendy

Slovenia – ganje – Na zdravje!

“A brandy derived called žganje/rakija/šnops, distilled from various fruits, is very common. Other popular spirits include a honey-sweetened brandy called medeno žganje or medica.”

Romania – Țuică – Noroc!

Țuică is a traditional Romanian spirit that contains 28–60% alcohol by volume (usually 40–45%), prepared only from plums. Other spirits that are produced from other fruit or from a cereal grain are called “rachiu” or “rachie”.

The generic term “țuică” comprises plum brandies (jinars, horincă, cocârț, tura) and other fruit brandies. A specific nomenclature was created for țuică, comprising varieties such as old, selected, superior, etc.

A simple classification of types of țuică is:

  • țuică= a generic term for an alcoholic beverage distilled from fruit
  • pălincă= double-distilled plum brandy (the term “pălincă” – for “strong țuică” – is not accepted in the official nomenclature published by ASRO)
  • horincă= double-distilled plum brandy
  • fățată= the strongest kind, double-distilled (similar to horincă and pălincă)
  • frunte= the very first țuică that comes out of the still during the distillation process; it has a unique taste and different strength than the rest.”


Croatia – slivovitsa – Živjeli!

“The local plum-infused liquor slivovitz, a type of rakia (brandy), is served after and also before meals, while other flavoured brandies include everything from honey and quince to sour cherry – not for the faint-hearted.”

Slivovitz or Slivovitsa is a fruit brandy made from Damson plums, often referred to as plum brandy. Slivovitz is produced in Central and Eastern Europe, both commercially as well as homemade.”

pexels-photo (2)6

Portugal – Ginjinha- Saúde!

“Ginja means cherry in Portuguese, so this is, naturally, a cherry liqueur. Ginjinha’s main ingredients are a mixture of cherries, aguardente, sugar and a bit of salt. Ginjinha is found predominantly in its home city of Lisbon but is also a staple tradition in Alcobaça and Óbidos.”

Also see: Drinks and countries – Part One; Drinks and countries – Part Two.

To be continued


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