A good tipple is even better when it’s accompanied by the requisite toasting. Across the world, the traditions of countries and cultures are an indication of personality and temperament – join us as we showcase five far-flung libations (along with their traditional methods of drinking) that you can sample during some of Emerald’s finest itineraries.

 

Champagne - France

 

We’ll start with the French classic. From dinner table toasts to the hulls of ships, nothing signals extravagance and celebration quite like a bubbling glass of Champagne.

 

A drink with a long, effervescent history, Champagne’s indulgent character has impacted art, literature, music and film like no other tipple – as F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, "too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right”. We couldn’t agree more.

 

Ginjinha - Portugal

 

A truly well-kept Portuguese secret, Ginjinha is beloved in the Iberian nation and is an important part of Lisbon culture. The locals (and visitors in the know) will spend warm evenings slowly making their way from one Ginjinha joint to the next – usually no more than a hole in the wall – ordering a measure of this sweet drink. Skilled barkeeps will pour a shot of the berry liqueur, and with a flick of the wrist, drop a cherry or berry into the bottom of your shot glass.

 

For extra indulgence, order your ginjinha in a small chocolate cup, sup the fruity drink and finish with a sweet chocolatey treat.

Kvass – Russia

 

It’s not all vodka in Russia. Kvass is a summer-time beverage that’s rightly earned a reputation as the country’s other national drink. For those not so keen on the strong tastes of vodka, Kvass is much milder, flavoured with mint, strawberries and raisins for a wonderfully refreshing flavour.

 

Thought to have several health benefits, from liver-cleansing and probiotic properties, to its reduction in cancer risk, it differs from other drinks on this list: you won’t find it being glugged in beer halls, but if you’re drinking to your health, then Kvass is the way to do it.

 

Growing in popularity, Kvass can now be found in many Eastern European nations, from Romania to Serbia.

 

Pálinka – Hungary

 

To Hungarians, birthdays and weddings aren’t complete without pálinka, a brandy that can be made from plums, apricots, apples, pears, cherries and a plethora of other fruits. Indeed, such is its versatility, the Hungarians have a saying: “What can be used to make jam can be used to make pálinka”.

 

Best enjoyed out of a tulip glass in order to magnify the aromas, Hungarians have two ways to drink pálinka – a straight shot in one quick motion, or a flavour-intensifying swish around the mouth that goes under the tongue. If it’s the latter you go for, wait five to 10 minutes after drinking, then inhale from the glass – if you smell or taste a delicate fruit fragrance, then congratulations: you just passed the dry test!

 

Slivovitz – Czech Republic

 

Another fruit brandy, one beloved in the Balkans and the Czech Republic, Slivovitz may seem like something the weak of heart might want to avoid, but this plum-tinged aperitif is not one to be missed.

 

Supped with rustic Czech fare during special occasions, Slivovitz has quite the kick, but it’s one to be savoured. A robust, versatile drink that’s also used to intensify mulled wines and ciders, cakes, compotes and preserves, be sure to check out this powerful, oddly alluring tipple while you’re here.

 

To best enjoy these drinks – and make yourself popular with the locals - be sure to learn these regional toasting phrases before you sample them:

 

Drink

Saying

Pronunciation

Literally

Champagne

À votre santé

a vot-re son-tee

“to your health”

Ginjinha

Saúde

Sow-de

“to your honour”

Kvass

Na zdorovie

 

Nah zda-ROVH-yeh

“to health”

Pálinka

Pálinkás joy reggelt!

Pah-lin-ka yo re-gelt

“Good morning with Pálinka”

Slivovitz

na zdraví

 

nhaz-dra-vee

“cheers!”

 

Have these far-flung flavours put you in high spirits? Discover more European epicurean delights on our dedicated itinerary page here, or for booking information, call our helpful sales team on 0808 231 0915.


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