I’m always eager to try new drinks when I get to a new country or region. We’ve had cold, gritty Turkish coffee to super-sweet milk tea in Thailand. Here are a few of our favorites!
1.Masala Chai – India
Masala chai is one of my favorite things in India. Basically, it is black tea, usually Assam, mixed with milk, sweetener (sugar or honey), and lots of spices. The spices used will vary from place to place, but the basics are cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, fennel seeds, peppercorn, and cloves. It is available on the streets from Chai Wallahs, on trains, in hotels, and pretty much everywhere you go.
2. Michelada – Mexico
As our friend Bill would say, “Oh. My. God.” This is undoubtedly one of our favorite drink discoveries. We visited Mexico City in 2008 and have been making this tasty beverage for ourselves at home ever since. There are a few variations on the drink, but the traditional Michelada is beer, lime juice, and clamato. It is served in a glass, or big paper cup, with the rim salted and caked with pepper and chili powder. Doesn’t sound good? Just try it! I think you’d be surprised. Another variation leaves out the clamato and chili powder to make a sort of “beergarita”: beer, lime, salted rim. They go over well at a summer BBQ!
3. Augustiner Edelstoff – Munich, Germany
Day after day we found ourselves at the Augustiner beer hall during our week in Munich. The loud, rowdy atmosphere, good food, and great beer were irresistible. You’ve gotta love the waitress carrying three liters of beer in each hand. Our favorite brew is Edelstoff, and a liter will put you back about six euros. Clark was also a fan of the weissbiers.
4. Singapore Sling
This mixed drink is a staple in Singapore. It was invented at the Raffles hotel and can now be found served all over SE Asia. The original recipe uses gin, Cherry Heering, Bénédictine, and fresh pineapple juice. The hotel now serves up a pre-mixed version because of the high volume of orders to be filled. You’ll pay almost $30 at the Raffles, but you can get a cheaper version at almost any bar in Singapore. We also found them all over Southeast Asia, of course. It’s the perfect tropical treat, and I enjoyed a few during our two weeks in Bangkok.
5. Super Bock – Portugal
This is the national beer of Portugal and you’ll find it absolutely everywhere. It’s especially good along side the ever-popular bar snack of Lupini beans. This was our beer of choice at only one euro per liter in Lisbon’s Barrio Alto. You can’t beat that and to top it off– you can drink in the street! (Americans get very excited about that kind of thing…)
6. Pomegranate/Orange Juice – Turkey
You can’t beat sipping on a fresh-squeezed juice while wandering through the markets in Istanbul or Izmir. There are juicing stands every few feet in most major Turkish cities. You can also get the pomegranate straight-up, but we preferred to tone it down with the orange. Plus, the antioxidants in pomegranate supposedly offer a million health benefits from lowering cholesterol to slowing cancer. Just don’t buy it from the stands outside the Blue Mosque (five lira!). Head over to the Grand Bazaar for one-lira cups.
7. Chang – Thailand
The beer to drink on the beach in Thailand is Chang. Probably because it’s cheap. We enjoyed quite a few relaxing drinks while sitting at the edge of the lapping waves. After going through some tough travel days to get to the Thai islands, you’ll need a cold one! We also really enjoyed Tiger and Singha, but Chang was the cheapest, so usually our drink of choice! Someone wrote “Donot wory be hppy” on the bottle koozie pictured below, and we just had to have it as a souvenir. If you ever visit the reggae bar on Koh Lipe, please tell them we’re sorry for swiping their foam thingys.
8. Bosnian Coffee
I’m not a big coffee drinker, but Clark really enjoyed this strong drink. Bosnian Coffee is prepared by by boiling finely powdered roast coffee beans in a small copper pot. Before pouring the coffee into your little ceramic cup, skim the film and grounds from the top with your spoon. You can pour your coffee over lumps of sugar or dip your sugar into the coffee and alternate nibbling the sugar and sipping the coffee. It will mostly likely be served with a little square of Turkish Delight. I like mine with LOTS of sugar.
9. Port wine – Porto, Portugal
Going for a port-tasting is a must when visiting Porto. If you think you’ve had Port before, think again. The real stuff is incredible! There are countless little wineries along the Douro River that offer free tours and tastings. We went for a hostel outing to the Croft winery and got to taste a few varieties. The older the port, the sweeter and nuttier the flavor. We’re still waiting for a special occasion to break open the 40-year vintage we bought!
On a side note, the tour guide pouring the wine in the photo had the strangest accent. Even months after leaving Porto, I thought the port’s color came from the “hood”. What’s hood? Beats me. Clark later told me that she was in fact saying “wood”– as in wood from the casks. Oops.
10. Lassi – India
We enjoyed quite a variety of Lassis in India. My favorite flavors were banana and Makhani. A Lassi is a creamy yogurt drink sweetened with honey and fruits. The Makhani lassi is a special variety found in Jodhpur. This lassi is seasoned with saffron and blended with a tart cheese-like substance. The best one can be found at a little hole-in-the wall cafe/guest house in the main square.