We drink it, we love it, and we crave for it. Alcoholic beverages are one of man’s awesome inventions. Take a look at the different kinds of alcoholic beverages around the world and witness just how much different cultures love these drinks.
A favorite of Captain Jack Sparrow’s, rum is an alcoholic drink typically distilled from cane fermented products like molasses. Interestingly, molasses, in the 17th century, was considered a useless by-product and was dumped into the ocean. Good thing they found a use for it or Jack Sparrow would have found himself asking “Why is the rum gone?”
In Korea there is a particular etiquette to drink Soju, an alcoholic drink commonly distilled from rice and other starches. You must never pour into your own cup and you can’t refill a glass before it’s empty. Distilling soju from rice was also prohibited from 1965-1999 in Korea, because of the rice shortages.
If you’re looking for a strong drink, then tuica will interest you. Tuica, a Romanian spirit is commonly made from plums and other fruits like apricots and can contain alcohol from 28% all the way to 60%. It is a drink reserved before a meal because it is said to increase appetite. Just make sure it doesn’t knock you out first.
Although somewhat similar to soju, sake which is also a rice wine differs from soju in the way it is distilled. Purportedly sake is brewed while soju is distilled. Varying from a light to an intense golden yellow, sake is served in festivals, weddings, and other events to spread good fortune. As the Japanese say, kampai!
There is definitely no shortage of fun when lambanog is involved. Lambanog (Coconut Arrak) is the Philippine’s version of Arrak which is typically produced in South East Asia. Lambanog is made from coconut and has been commercialized to incorporate different flavors like cherry, apple, and four seasons, often coming in wild colors. It is usually part of many Filipino drinking games.
Have a stomach ache? Bet you didn’t think of using gin to treat it. In the 17th century in Holland, gin was first created from Juniper berries as medicine for stomach complaints and other health issues. Even during the Thirty Years War British troops were given ‘Dutch Courage,’ gin that would warm them up during the damp battle weather. Multi-purpose it certainly is.
Distilled from the blue agave plant, tequila was first made in the city of Tequila in Mexico’s Jalisco state. There is a veil of mystery to this drink because much of the history of tequila has been lost. Myth has it that tequila was a drink of the ancient Aztecs during their sacrificial rituals. Nowadays tequila is usually served with a slice of lime and some salt, but in Mexico, it is more common to drink it pure.
Coming from the Spanish word sangre for blood, sangria definitely looks dark and scary. It is commonly made with red wine, from the influence of the romans, and other variants and then added with a mix of fruits and spices. If you’re a bit hesitant to drink this bloody liquid, sangria can also be made with white wine and this is called ‘Sangria Blanco.’
An alcoholic drink that is made from things like palms, yeast, sugar, and rice that is tuak. Tuak is a name exclusively in parts of Malaysia and Borneo, it is a sweet alcoholic drink that is consumed in an amazing range of occasions from circumcision to funerals. There are varying ways of drinking tuak, one is drinking from a tempayan or a large jar or sometimes from small bamboo containers.
This is not how Italians call their grandpa’s. Grappa is an alcoholic drink made from the discarded items of the winemaking process like grape seeds, stalks, and stems. Originally produced in Bassano del Grappa, a town in Italy’s northern Veneto region, it was used to warm the farmers in cold winter months. Sometimes Grappa is even mixed with expresso to make “Café Corretto.”
If you want more information on interesting drinks, you might want to check out these concoctions that might just tickle your fancy.
Words by Jaclyn Teng
Illustrations by Janine Teng