By Briana Seftel
Languages, customs, and cultures may be different around the world, but one thing we all share in common is booze. Get to know nine national drinks around the world, from ouzo in Greece to amarula in South Africa!
This fortified wine hails from the town of Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia and is savored like a fine whiskey. It’s one of the oldest wines in the world, dating back to 1100 BC. Paired with a plate of tapas and you have an authentic Spanish experience.
Ireland: Irish whiskey
Ireland may be famous for Guinness, but it also has a long tradition with whiskey. In fact, the word “whiskey” comes from the Gaelic phrase “uisce betha,” meaning water of life. While Irish whiskey frequently lives in the shadow of Scotch, it remains a popular drink in Ireland and export to the United States.
South Africa: Amarula
The spirit of choice in South Africa is amarula, a cream liqueur made with the fruit of the African marula tree. The marula tree is locally referred to as “elephant tree” because elephants love eating the small green fruit.
France is gastronome heaven, especially in Normandy where Calvados is produced. The apple brandy can be traced as far back to the 8th century by Charlemagne. Many Normans drink Calvados during meals as a way to make room for the next course.
Greeks say “opa!’ and clink glasses of ouzo, an anise-flavored aperitif traditionally served with small plates (mezedes) before a meal. The drink is often mixed with water, giving it a cloudy appearance.
Colombia’s pride and joy when it comes to alcohol is aguardiente or “fire water.” Similar to Greek ouzo, aguardiente has an anise flavor but is produced with sugar cane from the Andean regions. It’s almost always drunk straight.
Peru’s national beverage is pisco, a type of brandy distilled from grapes and produced in heavy copper pot stills. Peru often goes head to head with Chile on whose pisco is best. A popular cocktail in Peru is the pisco sour made with pisco, lime juice, sugar and frothy egg whites.
Italians love wine but they also love grappa, a fragrant brandy primarily served as an after-dinner drink. Grappa is made with pomace, which consists of grape skins, seeds and stalks left over from the winemaking process.
Referred to as “black death” for the skull-embossed label, Iceland’s national drink was introduced in 1935 after the end of prohibition. The clear, unsweetened schnapps is made from fermented grain or potato mash and flavored with caraway.