Most nations call some kind of beverage the national coolant for keeping the people from dehydration in the summer months, but it’s interesting as to actually how diverse the variety is from a relatively small continent.
Additionally, some of these drinks aren’t at all hard to make and sample, however strange they may seem.
Lemonade – Britain
Victorian recipe books record numerous (and often strange) ways of making the perfect lemonade, which was usually consumed in the garden accompanied by a reserved game of bridge – some recipes even involve leaving overnight and straining through muslin (in layman’s terms, the thin material often used to make curtains and wedding dresses alike). A general consensus reached by most is to include some of the bitter rind into the recipe somewhere along the line for taste.
Polish Rhubarb Honey – Poland
As you might have guessed from the title, this popular Polish summer drink is extremely refreshing with the sourness of the rhubarb contrasting with the sweetness of the honey all poured over ice. It tastes a little bit like cranberry juice and is probably a little bit healthier than the Lemonade because of the addition of honey.
Limoncello – Italy
Before the seasoned Starbucks fan inquires, the Frappuccino is merely a product of the vivid imaginations of corporate fat cats who wanted to find a way to keep coffee sales high in the summer and is no more Italian than the Yeti. But Limoncello, thankfully, is. It’s simply an Italian lemon liqueur made from sugar, lemons, water and pure alcohol and is frequently drunk cold after meal times to aid digestion.
Strawberry Bowle – Germany
It’s called “Bowle” because it’s served from a large glass bowl in the manner of Punch. Made with Brandy, Champagne, Dry White Wine, and Strawberries, it’s said to be quite a good mix. It should be served in a wide, flat glass with a bit of fruit in the manner of a martini. It’s deceptively light while actually very alcoholic.
La Terre Rouge– France
A simple Red French table wine, ideal for picnics and for just about anything, comes from a blend merlot, grenache, and carignan grapes from different regions of Southern France to at varying altitudes and temperatures to really give the wine some substance.
Sangria – Spain
Sangria is a wine punch consumed all over Spain during the sweltering summers. There are many different variants and recipes of the famous drink, but most include red wine, lemonade, and fruit. Many modern varieties contain shots of Bacardi or Vodka, or vast amounts of ice and 7-up to weaken it accordingly, which may be wise if some of the drinkers are a little youthful and inexperienced. It’s so popular in Spain that it can even be bought bottled, but that detracts from the fun of making it yourself and serving it with the authentic bits of fruit floating around in it.
Photo of refreshing drinks by Mickael Dietch