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Five Most Unique Drinks From Across Europe

From the chilly Nordic countries to the sun-drenched Mediterranean, the continent’s diverse climates and traditions have given birth to drinks that are not only delicious but also steeped in cultural significance. Here are five of the most unique drinks from across Europe that you must try:

1. Becherovka (Czech Republic):

Becherovka is a herbal liqueur from the Czech Republic, renowned for its complex and aromatic flavour profile. Made from a secret blend of herbs and spices, Becherovka has a slightly bitter taste with a hint of sweetness. Originally created in the 19th century as a medicinal tonic, it is often enjoyed as a digestif. Served chilled or with tonic water, Becherovka is a versatile drink that embodies the rich herbal traditions of Central Europe.

 

2. Unicum (Hungary):

Unicum is a Hungarian herbal liqueur, known for its unique and intense flavour. Created in 1790 by József Zwack, it is made from a secret blend of over 40 herbs and spices. The drink is aged in oak casks, which imparts a rich, complex taste. Unicum is traditionally consumed as a digestif, believed to aid in digestion after meals. Its strong, bittersweet profile is not for the faint-hearted, but for those who appreciate bold flavours, Unicum is a must-try.

 

3. Retsina (Greece):

Retsina is a traditional Greek wine that has been enjoyed for over 2,000 years. What sets it apart is its distinctive flavour, which comes from the addition of pine resin during fermentation. This practice dates back to ancient times when resin was used to seal wine amphorae, preventing oxidation. The result is a white or rosé wine with a characteristic pine aroma and a crisp, slightly resinous taste. Retsina pairs wonderfully with Greek cuisine, particularly seafood and mezedes (appetizers).

 

4. Ginjinha (Portugal):

Ginjinha, or simply Ginja, is a Portuguese liqueur made from sour cherries (ginja berries), sugar, and alcohol, often infused with cinnamon. Originating in Lisbon, this sweet and tangy drink has become a beloved treat throughout Portugal. It is traditionally served in a small glass, often with a piece of the fruit at the bottom. Ginjinha can be enjoyed as a standalone drink or as part of various cocktails, and it’s particularly popular during festive occasions and celebrations.

 

5. Aquavit (Scandinavia):

Aquavit, also known as akvavit or akevitt, is a distilled spirit that has been a part of Scandinavian culture since the 15th century. Made primarily from grains or potatoes, aquavit is flavoured with a variety of herbs and spices, the most prominent being caraway or dill. The drink is typically consumed as a celebratory beverage, especially during holidays and special occasions. Aquavit’s robust and complex flavour profile, often described as earthy and spicy, makes it a unique experience for the palate.

 

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