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17 Liquors Across Europe

One of the great joys of train travel in Europe is experiencing the shifts in culture as you travel from region to region, country to country, and town to town. 

 

In addition to specialized cuisines, hyper-local festivals and variations in language and dialect, popular liquors also change with every border crossing. 

 

We rounded up 17 liquors that can be found across Europe. 

 

Note: Only consume alcohol if over the legal drinking age. If you choose to imbibe, make sure to do so responsibly.  

Andrew Thompson

@andrewthompsonsa

schnapps-pears-spices

Schnapps can be found throughout Austria and Germany. Although it is a fruit brandy similar to other distilled drinks on the continent, most schnapps in Austria and Germany are made from apples, plums, pears, apricots, and cherries.

jenever-lemon-ice

Jenever, sometimes called “Dutch gin” by English speakers, is a juniper-flavoured liquor popular in the Netherlands and Belgium. The juniper was originally used to mask the taste of distilled wine, in addition to its medicinal effects. 

becherovka-small-glasses-oranges

Becherovka is a herbal bitters, with aromas of cinnamon and ginger , popular in the Czech Republic. Some drink it cold and neat, while those who want it to last longer may mix it with tonic.

rakia-pears-spices

Rakia, a popular fruit brandy, can be found across  Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. Fruit ingredients, flavours, and customs around consuming rakia vary region to region.

glass-pastis-spices

Given all the wine, champagne, cognac, and brandy on offer in France, you may be surprised to see pastis on the list. But few drinks are as quintessentially French as this anise-flavored spirit, which many dilute with water.

ouzo-greece-olives-ice

Ouzo, an aperitif known for its strong kick of anise, can be found in small villages and large cities across Greece. 

glass-unicum-hungary

Locals in Hungary may drink this herbal liquor either an aperitif or a digestif. Unicum is dark, bitter, and full of herbal flavour.

irish-whiskey-glasses

Irish whiskey can be found at distilleries and countless cozy pubs across Ireland and Northern Ireland. Many whiskey connoisseurs regard Irish whiskey to be among the best in the world.

limoncello-italy-lemons

In a country celebrated for its wines, it may come as no surprise that another famous Italian Iiquor also comes from grapes. Grappa is a grape-based brandy with varying flavours, depending on the type of grapes used. 

 

Another famous Italian liquor? Traditional limoncello, often associated with the Amalfi Coast.

vodka-small-glass

Vodka, made with rye, barley, oats, wheat, triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye) or potatoes, was originally used for medicinal purposes in Poland. Today, many varieties can be found in bars and supermarkets across the country. 

wine-view-porto-glasses

Port is a sweet red wine, produced in Portugal's Douro Valley. It can be found at dozens of distilleries, as well as at bars, restaurants, and shops throughout the country.

tunica-glass-grapes

Țuică is a Romanian spirit produced from the cereal grain rachiu. It is a fruit-based alcohol, with its strength determined by the distilling technique used to create the beverage. 

norwegian-aquavit-glasses

Denmark, Norway, and Sweden all have their own version of this flavoured spirit, typically made from potatoes. Norwegian akevitt must use Norwegian potatoes and age for at least six months in oak casks. In contrast, the Swedish and Danish versions are typically unaged and grain-based. This liquor can be found at festivals and gatherings, such as weddings and Christmas dinners. 

slivovica-grapes-glasses

Like many of its surrounding countries, Slovakia has a fruit brandy of its own. It's called Slivovica, usually made using damson plums. 

sherry-glasses-ham-bread

Spanish sherry originates from the grape regions near Jerez de la Frontera. These fortified wines vary according to the type of grape and production process used. 

raki-nuts-glasses

Many people confuse Turkey’s rakı with rakia, but this anise-flavoured drink belongs in a category of its own. Purists might choose to drink it neat, but many others add a touch of chilled water.

Absinthe

Absinthe, an anise-flavoured spirit sometimes called the "green fairy," has been made in Switzerland since the 1700s. Travellers can learn more about it at the Absinthe Museum in Môtiers in the Val de Travers, said to be the spirit's birthplace. 

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