Need a drink after a long day’s sight-seeing? Head to the pub, and grab a cold one. But you don’t want to drink the same old stuff you have back home. How do you know what to get? Not to fret, I have done my research on every traveller’s behalf, and have made a small compilation of what to order at various drinking holes in Europe. Shout out like a local, and impress people with your expertise. Here are my top five European countries to drink:
After flights to Brussels, you order beer of course! The top Belgium beers are Duvel and Chimay, but watch out, these beers are quite strong, with a high alcohol content compared to other beers. Should you be in the mood for something a little bit lighter, go for Kriek, which is a sweet-tasting beer due to it being fermented with cherries. I have been told only girls drink this, but surely the blokes shouldn’t be embarrassed to try it. For a white beer, try Hoegaarden.
As one of the largest producers in the world, surely wine rules in France. There’s so much choice – merlot, sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, chardonnay. All of them are slightly different depending on which region they’re from. Wines from the Graves and Gaillac regions are some of the best. For something a bit unusual, there is also a peculiar anise-flavoured drink called pastis, typically associated with the south of France. Be warned though, it’s an acquired taste. If you are curious enough to try it, go for Ricard or Pastis 51.
The best thing about ordering a drink from Spanish taverns is that they almost always come with a free plate of delicious tapas. Don’t get boring old sangria. Instead, a great drink to order is Rebujito, a traditional wine and soda cocktail found traditionally in Seville. Another excellent wine-based drink is Tinto de Verano, made with red wine and soda. The Spanish tequila is also pretty good, as I found out the hard way.
Super Bock is one of the best lagers in Portugal. You can also order it mixed with lemonade, which makes a refreshing alternative. For port wine (or Vinho do Porto), pay lovely Porto a visit, the home of many grand port wine houses scattered near and around the Douro river. These port wine houses are really worth visiting, as they not only offer free tours but also free sampling of ruby, tawny, and white port. Some popular ones include Sandeman and Grahams, where they also sell vintage port. I was lucky enough to be given a tasting from a €180 vintage bottle!
Drink-lovers will love this country because alcohol is extremely cheap. After partying with some locals, I developed a taste for Fernet Citrus, which is a bitter liquor with a lemon twist. If you prefer a sweeter drink, go for Maby Slivovice, a tasty fruit-based brandy. Do keep an eye on those shots though! For a typical beer, what else but Pilsner Urquell?
I fondly recall having a really good time in every one of these places. I hope this guide has been useful, and most importantly, remember to be safe, know your limits, and happy bar-hopping! So, cheers, sante, na zdravÃ, prost, wherever you are!