If there’s one thing that’s understood around the world, it’s drinking. The universal language of alcohol transcends borders like nothing else can, and cultures around the globe have concocted their own local takes on the nectar of the gods.
Raise a glass to these seven local drinks around the world that are well worth the trip.
Brazil’s national cocktail is a refreshing mix of sugar, lime and cachaca, a local spirit made from sugar cane. You’ll find the caipirinha at bars and restaurants throughout the country, but be warned — the caipirinha is known for being one of Brazil’s strongest libations.
Pisco Sour, Peru
As pisco gains traction in the U.S., you might be able to hunt down a pisco sour at a bar near you — but nothing quite compares to the real thing in the bars of Peru. Bitters, lime juice, simple syrup and egg whites are mixed with the local pisco, a Peruvian brandy distilled from grapes.
Makgeolli, South Korea
Makgeolli comes in many varieties in South Korea, but the best way to introduce yourself to this traditional rice wine is with a warm serving of jeon, or Korean pancake. The mild, milky white drink is typically served in copper pots and sipped from copper bowls with seafood or green onion pancakes.
Sure, you could have bourbon at any bar across the country, but there’s nothing like heading straight to the source to fill your tumbler. Kentucky’s Bourbon County is home to distilleries by the likes of Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam, Four Roses and Wild Turkey.
One of Greece’s most popular spirits, Ouzo is a licorice-flavored alcohol distilled from the leftovers of wine-making grapes. This is an alcohol drank neat without mixers or ice, even, and at a 40 percent alcohol content, it’s not for the faint of heart. Park yourself at one of the many local ouzeries to try one of Greece’s most beloved drinks.
When absinthe was outlawed in the 20th century, the French set their sights on pastis, an anise-flavored spirit with a hefty 40-45 percent alcohol by volume content. This punch-packing libation is almost always diluted with water before serving.
Derived from the Latin phrase for “water of life,” Akvavit is a Scandinavian favorite. In Denmark, locals take shots of the caraway- and dill-spiced liquor with beers for chasers.
(Main image: mountainhiker)