Not decided yet where to go for your next journey? Here are some drink ideas to inspire you.
Visiting England? Then be sure to order a Gin at least once. Once regarded as “Mother’s Ruin” in Victorian times, gin is now the buzzing scene across the UK. Scores of new artisan gin distilleries are helping to re-popularize this wonderful drink with fresh flavors. Gin Bars and tasting distilleries are the place to discover new tastes and friends The taste of regular gin is very dry, so our advice is to mix it with Tonic and don’t miss the new gin cocktails for a delicious fresh drink!
Are you a real whisky or whiskey lover? That single “e” will direct you to either Scotland or Ireland. Scotch whisky, or just Scotch, has been made in Scotland from grains or malt for over 500 years from the lowlands to the Highlands where the local water determines flavour and color. In central Edinburgh, the Scotch Whisky Center will give an introduction but a distillery visit will give you the full tasting experience.
In Ireland it is impossible to miss the “national” drink – a Guinness – you’ll see this in almost every bar. If you find yourself in Dublin be sure to visit the Guinness Storehouse where you’ll get a taste directly from the Guinness factory and learn to pull the perfect pint. This thick and smooth stout is also the base of different mixed drinks such as the Black Velvet (Guinness and Champagne), or even a Black n Black (a shot of blackcurrant with Guinness). If Guinness isn’t your cup of tea then go for Irelands oldest Ale, Smithwick’s. And don’t forget the smooth triple distilled Irish Whiskey – now crafted in distilleries spread across the island from Bushmills in the north to Tullamore in the south.
In Germany, the Oktoberfest in Munich – the world’s biggest folk festival- celebrates German music, beer and food. However, don’t let the German beer tradition obscure that other national drink – schnapps – a distilled fruit brandy. The main types of fruit used for German schnapps are apples, pears, plums, cherries and apricots. Another popular form is based on herbs and is often sweetened: Kräuterlikör (herbal liqueur). Well-known brands include Jägermeister and Underberg.
Champagne is the drink for celebrations – weddings, anniversaries and landmark birthdays are toasted in champagne and a bottle of champagne is unmissable at the dinner table for that last night of your trip. Grown only the strictly controlled Champagne region around Rheims in north-west France, a tour and tasting in the fabulous cellars of the historic champagne houses will reveal the unique nature of this fine wine. France produces billions of bottles of wine each year with styles and flavors determined by the locality so wherever you are in France you will find local growers who will be delighted to share their love of this most popular of drinks.
And don’t overlook the well-known fortified and distilled alcoholic drinks that are specific to a region such as Cognac, Pastis, Calvados, Cointreau or even Chartreuse. A huge variety for you to try something new!
Italy’s rich history and heritage make it a favorite destination for travellers. Its fabulous food traditions are blended with wine growing dating back thousands of years. There are no fewer than 350 officially recognised Italian wine varieties so you can find a local speciality in every part of this unique country. Italy is not only famous for its regional wines and cuisine but also for la vita bella. An evening should start with an aperivito – maybe a vermouth from Turin, a prosecco from Veneto or spritz from Venice. Over dinner enjoy a Valpolicella or a Chianti from the Tuscany area and maybe finish with an expresso or cappuccino and a grappa brandy.
Spain is the world’s third-largest wine producer with over a million acres of vineyards. The Ebro valley, in the northeast, is the home of Rioja while the hotter and drier south of Andalucia is famous for its sherry – fortified wine from the Jerez area around Cadiz. The politics and wars of the 18th century European powers disrupted the wine trade of Spain whose merchants were unable to sell their wines which languished in oak barrels for years developing nutty flavors and accidentally evolving into what we know as sherry today. Rioja is the traditional base for the refreshing drink of Sangria, a popular drink made with fresh fruits and served in bars, restaurants and homes across Spain and Portugal.
The World Heritage Duoro valley in Portugal has grown wines for the Roman Empire 2000 years ago and is today a popular river cruising destination. English wine merchants started shipping this fortified wine out of Oporto whose name was corrupted to give the modern name of Port wine. Today, Porto is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a wonderful heritage city for food and wine tasting tours. Along the Duoro Valley, wine tastings can be arranged the original vineyards and cellars of the port shippers such as Sandeman and Taylors.
Let your palate lead you to your next journey.
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