I hail from bourbon country and over almost a half century, I’ve cultivated a taste for the local corn drink, Weller being my favorite (especially William LaRue Weller or Weller 12 Year, when available). But I have found several drinks on the road that are worthy of mention. On the Isle of Man, O’Kell’s beer was the pint to toss back after a day of watching moto racing. While living on the southern coast of France, just outside of Marseille, I grew very fond of the local red table wine (13 degree). And while attending a Hindi language program in Uttarakhand, India, waaay up in the Himalaya, they make a rhododendron concentrate that one could mix with water to make about 2 gallons with 1 quart of the syrup. Excellent stuff. They had a whiskey they called 8PM Bourbon in Uttarkashi that would knock the socks off most of the Indian fellows (alcohol is frowned upon in this Hindu state) and they would be falling all over the place and fighting. I would just sit back and drink a highball full and be perfectly entertained. I’ve had some right nice Suntory whiskeys in Japan too.
Wow! … rhododendron concentrate … that really is intriguing … what are the effects ? I mean does it have any distinctive effects ? and is the experience comparable to other drinks ?
No, it is produces no effects. It reminds me of cranberry juice without the tart bite. Velvety.
Thats a bit disapointing … I was expecting some kind of entheogenic experience or something … but I’m still intrigued by the idea of it , somehow it sounds tasty
Kerala has toddy made of coconut palm and Goans make a local brew called Feni out of cashewnuts.
I fell in love with Vermouth while in Spain. Spanish vermouth is similar to Italian and is not like the vermouth most people are familiar with that is added to cocktails. It is generally served on the rocks and sometimes with orange peel and a splash of soda water.
I also fell in love with Puerto de las Indias Strawberry Gin while on the same trip. It has such a beautiful delicate pink color! Sadly I’ve been unable to find it here in the states.
This is such a good question!
A few options:
I’m a big fan of Mexican and Moroccan wines, particularly red, when in either of those countries. Both have layers of funk and depth added by drier soils of their growing regions, which are closer to the equator than American or European wines.
In Spain, I can’t leave without enjoying a bottle of Lopez de Heredia Rioja.
In Mexico, I would fight someone to say that Tapatio’s reposado is the world’s best tequila. And if you’re in Jalisco, where its agave is grown, mix it with a bit of agua de agrillo.
I like to drink whatever the locals are brewing.
A concoction on the island of Dominica called Dynamite. We were taken by dugout canoe to a jungle bar. A clear liquid was poured into a small glass and it was topped with the juice from local berries. Our lips went numb immediately and the effect of the drink was instant and quite different. Let’s just say the canoe ride back was a little strange. Our friends returned to Dominica and tried to find some Dynamite to no avail.
Probably not very interesting or exotic to North Americans, but I fell in love with root beer when I visited the States a few years ago. Now whenever I go there I have it everywhere I go, every day. It’s extremely hard to find in Europe, usually limited to overpriced expat shops or ordered in bulk online. I just love the stuff. My wife says I should eat a tube of toothpaste if I want to replicate the flavour…
I’ve never thought about the ubiquity of root beer before. That’s such a great story! Do you have a favorite brand? (A&W is sort of the classic go to for me.)
@Barry_Fairbrother, you definitely need to get your hands on some boozy root beer next time your in town, which has been all the rage in American bars in recent years. Not Your Father’s, out of Illinois, is my favorite.
Inspired by Barry’s salute to Root Beer, I note gleefully that when I moved to New York City I discovered Egg Creams and Cream Soda.
(And now, in NY, I currently live right next to the Brooklyn Brewery, which is decent, but of their local brews, the Sorachi Ace is my favorite.)
In more exotic samplings, I love seeing Shatomica’s shout out here to Galatoire’s in New Orleans! It was there that I discovered the Sazerac.
Also in New Orleans, I can’t point to a specific brewer, but that city, which apparently is the originator of this drink in the US, has: damn… good… coffee! (Pair it with beignets at Cafe Du Monde and you’re set for life… the goooood life.)
Am a big fan of pisco sours although I haven’t had the pleasure of trying one in Chile. Although, there is a place in NYC in Chinatown called Apotheke, which is a speakeasy hidden behind a pharmacy storefront and they have amazing pisco sours.
I am not a drinker at all, although on special occasions I can be talked into a sip of wine. This might be once a year or even less often. However, when I visited the Republic of Georgia, I got hooked into a toast more than once (Their toast sessions can go on longer than the meal, which is also quite long but worth it) . Their wine is the best I’ve ever had. There was also some sweet cinnamon kind of drink that was very tasty. Yep, going back there some day!
Totally agree about Jaliscience tequila , it definitely packs a punch. But have you tried Bacanora mezcal ? That’s a drink and a half , let me tell you.
I’m jealous haha as I would absolutely love to try the Cider from the basque country. On the subject of Northern Spain , I definitely want to try Sidra Asturiana as I have distant roots in that area of Spain and I just love cider plus the method of pouring it , hoping to try it very soon.
Naturally, we tried to recreate that pouring method at home. Not a great idea.
haha ! , yes I can imagine it takes a bit of practice