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An A-Z of national drinks of the world

From Korean soju to Icelandic Brennivin, here are the national drinks of the world

National drinks of the world

Posted on

24 Apr 2018

Human history is long and varied but one thing that has been constant is our love of alcohol. All around the world, countries have developed their very own tipple; from fruity cocktails in the Caribbean to stronger spirits in Europe.

When you embark on a cruise, you’ll journey from country to country looking for adventure and experiencing different cultures. Arguably, there is no better way to experience a culture than by heading to a local bar to try their favoured thirst-quencher. While some drinks have worldwide popularity, some drinks haven’t gained the international recognition they deserve and remain undiscovered local delicacies.

In order to help you prepare for your upcoming cruise, we’ve created the A to Z of national drinks of the world. From Korean soju to Icelandic Brennivin, we show you the best thing to fill your cup with around the globe:

Brennivin, Iceland

Kaffi Loki, Reykjavík

If you’re brave enough to try a snap of the Black Death, you should do it the traditional way. Head to Kaffi Loki in Reykjavík for a shot of the strong stuff with a side of Iceland’s favourite, fermented shark. If shark isn’t for you, Kaffi Loki serves traditional Icelandic open sandwiches made with their own fresh rye bread.

We chatted to the Kaffi Loki team who told us why they think Brennivin is so popular in Iceland, “Icelanders love traditional food and drinks! I think our admiration for Brennivin comes with the history of the very first production. We live on an island and in the old days, we did not have a lot to choose from. Alcohol was banned for a very long time here, so when finally, after the abolition of the prohibition on hard alcohol in the 1930s, the production started. Everybody was happy to finally have a proper drink!”

Eggnog, United States of America

Pete’s Tavern, New York

This Italian-American tavern in New York is popular for a lot of things, one of which is its rich alcoholic eggnog. The traditional and homely feel of Pete’s Tavern is perfect to dip into for some authentic American cuisine.

Open since 1864, the neighbourhood service of this classic bar keeps bringing people back to this day. Head here during your cruise to warm yourself with some eggnog done as it’s meant to be done, with a large glug of brandy.

Gin, United Kingdom

The London Gin Club, London

If you’re looking for somewhere that offers you a choice of over 350 gins, then The London Gin Club is for you. Priding themselves on having the best gin and tonics in London, this Soho bar aims to bring you the best gin drinking experience you can get.

Make sure to book a table in advance if you do want to head here as they are often full to capacity. Why not tie in your dinner plans too? The London Gin Club has a great selection of traditional homemade pies - another British classic.

Irish Whiskey, Ireland

Irish Whiskey Museum, Dublin

The Irish Whiskey Museum is an interactive museum in Dublin offering a completely unique whiskey experience. You can journey back through history and discover the tale of Irish whiskey and its rise in popularity in Ireland and around the world. The entertaining guides are experts on the drink and will teach you everything you need to know.

We spoke to the Irish Whiskey Museum team, who told us: “If you want to know everything there is to know about Irish whiskey and enjoy some good old Irish ‘craic’ along the way, then this is the experience for you. We are also totally independent, so the information we provide about individual whiskeys is our completely unbiased, genuine opinion.

“Every tour includes a tutored whiskey tasting with one of our whiskey experts. We also have a fully stocked bar where more top-shelf whiskey flights are available if you would like to continue tasting after the tour. You can also visit our off-licence if there is a particular bottle you would like to bring home.”

When we asked why Irish whiskey is so popular, the team told us: “Whiskey was invented here in Ireland, so it is ingrained in our culture and the industry has been shaped by many social and political factors over the years. We believe the word ‘whiskey’ is a derivative of the Gaelic term for the spirit Uisce Beatha, which literally translates to ‘water of life.’ So there is a lot of national pride in this unique drink.”

Ouzo, Greece

Brettos Plaka, Athens

What better way to sample ouzo than drink it in the oldest bar in Athens? Brettos Plaka is popular among locals and tourists alike and you can always be sure of a good time when visiting. The large colourful bar lights the room and illuminates the many colourful concoctions. In fact, of the 36 different colourful liquors available here, 25 of them are unique to Brettos. It doesn’t get more authentic than that!

Soju, Korea

Vinyl Street Bar, Seoul

Although finding good soju isn’t hard in Korea, there are a few places that do it differently to everywhere else. One of those places is Vinyl in Hongdae.

Hongdae is known for its urban arts and nightlife culture and if you’re looking to embrace it then Vinyl is for you. Forgoing the traditional glass, Vinyl serves soju in ziplock bags with a straw. Head in here to grab a drink on the god and walk around and enjoy the buzz of Korea.

Wine, France

La Cité Du Vin, Bordeaux

La Cité Du Vin translates literally to ‘the city of wine’ and that is what you’ll find if you head here. Much more than just a vineyard or a wine bar, La Cité Du Vin in Bordeaux is dedicated to the drinking, growing and education of wine. This immersive museum is set in a modernistic building and journeys through the history of wine, through both time and cultures. Head here to celebrate, learn and try some of the best wine.

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