Summer is so close! It's time to think of the ways to cool down while you travel in Europe. Here is the list of the must-try local cocktails in some of the most exciting European destinations from England to France to Italy and more.
Aperol Spritz is a traditional aperitif made of Aperol, Prosecco and soda water. Originated in Northeast Italy, this easy-to-make, delicious, and refreshing drink is now served all over the world. The cocktail came into the picture in the 1950's as an alternative to the classic Venetian white wine & soda mix and became a perfect drink for social occasions straight away.
Undoubtedly, it holds this positions to this day. Italians say they wouldn't drink anything else when in Venice. So on your next trip to Italy, make sure to reserve some time before your dinner and try the authentic Venetian Aperol Spritz.
To prepare the cocktail yourself, use the traditional recipe mixing 3 parts of Prosecco, 2 parts of Aperol, and 1 part of soda water. Start by adding ice to the glass, then the Prosecco, the Aperol, and finally, the water. Top the drink with a slice of orange. This way the Aperol will not settle in the bottom.
Most likely, you won't find an Englishman who doesn't enjoy a good G&T, introduced by the army of the British East India Company in India back in the early 19th century. Surprisingly, gin and tonic initially served as medicine to prevent and treat malaria! Well, quinine was the medicine, but its bitter taste was so bad, that even sugar and lime couldn't cover it. So, there it was - the perfect ingredient, gin (also known as 'Mothers Ruin!'), that made the medicine "bearable" for the British soldiers to take. Although later it was found that this way of quinine consumption wasn't at all effective against malaria, the British got a new cocktail recipe which as we know later successfully spread all over the world.
The traditional G&T is made with gin and tonic water, garnished with a lime wedge and served in a highball glass over the ice. However, today there are quite a few ways of setting out the favored drink, many of which have already become classic. Usually, the garnish depends on the brand of the gin used in the cocktail. For example, Hendrick's G&T is typically garnished with cucumber, while the Beefeater-based drink is served with a slice of orange to enhance the oranges used in Beefeater's botanicals.
Once you travel in the UK, make your way to the next pub and try a few G&T's to find the one for you.
To make it at home, we recommend 1:2 parts of gin and tonic water respectively. Go classic and serve it in a highball glass, or use a large Spanish-style Copa glass for a fancier feel!
Kir is probably the best known classic French cocktail. Its a beautiful, well-balanced formula that includes nothing else but white wine and a portion of Creme de Cassis (blackcurrant liqueur). The drink was first introduced by the mayor of Dijon, Felix Kir, who was a huge fan of local produce. Hence the choice of the ingredients. The original kir was based on white Burgundy, Bourgogne Aligoté, dry, acidic, and unoaked, which would be perfectly foiled by viscous and sweet Creme de Cassis. With time the "restrictions" were dismissed, and kir evolved in many variations. Now it is often made with cherry, peach, or blackberry liqueurs; plus it can be based on red wine, cider, and of course, champagne.
Kir Royale is a champagne-based kir, which is mostly served as an aperitif on special occasions or in sophisticated restaurants due to its higher cost. Try and enter any gourmet restaurant during your tour to France - Kir Royale will be the first thing the waiter will offer you or maybe even bring it right away as a complimentary treat.
The classic recipe for Kir suggests the ratio of 1/5 Crème de Cassis to 4/5 chilled dry white wine or chilled dry champagne. It is important to pour the liqueur first followed by wine or champagne. This order allows the liquids mix properly. The drink comes out as a pale blush color, refreshing, and only slightly sweet.
Picture yourself in Spain on a hot summer day. You are sitting in a small cafe watching locals going home to enjoy their daily siesta. There is an open book (maybe something by Hemingway) on your table. What else is there? I bet it is a pitcher of sangria because you can't relish a day like this without it.
The classic sangria includes Rioja red wine and sliced fruits (pineapples, nectarines, peaches, berries, or melon), sugar, and orange juice. If you are not keen on red wine, feel free to use white, add brandy, rum, flavored liqueur, or sparkling water.
Although it is not clear where it came from originally, sangria is now considered to be the most popular Spanish drink. In fact, according to the European Union Law, since 2014 only sangria made in Spain or Portugal is allowed to bear this name. Travel to Spain with us and try the real thing!
What comes first to your mind when you hear "Ireland"? Gingerheads, tap dance, St. Patrick's Day, and of course, Guinness! So loved by many worldwide, this dry stout was born in Arthur Guinness' brewery in the capital of Ireland, Dublin. Today, this beer is brewed in 50 countries and sold in over 120. Until now, Guinness remains the most popular drink among the Irish both in their home country and abroad.
Ireland is not big on fancy, elaborate cocktails, but it loves its stout. Loves it so much that the majority of cocktails prepared in Irish pubs are based on Guinness. Black Velvet (a mix of champagne and Guinness stout) is one of them.
Rumor has it that the drink was invented to mark Prince Albert's death in 1861 when the steward ordered that even champagne has to be dressed in black. To make it yourself, mix Guinness Original stout with champagne and serve in a flute. Or better travel to Ireland with us and try it in a local pub.
We could probably go on with this list forever, but the best way to discover local drinking culture and culture in general is to visit the destination, mingle with the locals, relax, and have fun. Nothing compares to a glass of sangria by the Royal Palace in Madrid, a classic G&T served in a highball glass in an old London pub, or Kir Royale before a fancy dinner in a Parisian restaurant. On our end, we will happily help you to make all this happen: check out our collection of private and small group tours to Spain, private tours to the UK, and tours to France.