One of the joys of traveling is having the opportunity to experience different aspects of various cultures. One of the best ways of doing this is by sampling the local products in the areas you visit. You can enjoy regional music or dance, try new foods, or dare to sample the local libations. It can be a special experience to learn about and taste the wines, liqueurs and beers created by people who are passionate about their craft, and who likely have learned their trade from generations of local masters. Most of these drinks are made according to strict regulations and may be subject to name protection laws. For instance, for a sparkling wine to be called champagne it must be produced in the champagne region of France. Anything else is just sparkling wine. But, those sparkling wines can be equally as good and we recommend trying some if you get the chance. In Italy look for spumante and in Spain try the cava.
Other notable and potent potables that sometimes define the land and the people of a particular region include the whiskey or whisky of Ireland and Scotland, the beers from Belgium and Germany, and fruit brandies such as Calvados from the lower Normandy region of France. We can’t forget to mention ouzo from Greece, and aquavit from Norway (Mike likes the Linea Aquavit). There are so many different types of local wines, beers or spirits. Ask around and taste a few.
Here are some that we’ve tried and really enjoyed:
Sainte Baume – Liqueur de Provence – Exclusive to the southern region of France, and not easy to find outside of select cities. This chartreuse colored liqueur is nice when served chilled or over ice.
Brugse Zot – The signature brew from De Halve Maan brewery in Bruges, Belgium. This particular beeris the unfiltered version served to visitors of the brewery. It’s flavorful and refreshing.
Port at Ferreira
Port from Porto – These Portuguese wines are extremely sweet and much more potent than regular wines. They have an interesting history and are wonderful dessert wines.
Now, we couldn’t write about alcoholic beverages without mentioning something about the blended drinks that are created using alcohol. You’ve most likely heard of or even enjoyed margaritas and mojitos, but have you tried a blended frozen daiquiri? These are like Kool-Aid with a kick! They’re sweet and cold and come in a wide range of flavors. They’re very popular in south Louisiana and are available in many of the bars and restaurants throughout the region.
Do you have a favorite regional drink? Leave us a comment; we’d love to hear from you. Oh, and remember to always drink responsibly.