What it is:
A juniper-flavored liquor originally made by distilling malt wine and adding juniper berries to mask the not-so-nice flavor.
Why it’s great:
Like Champagne and tequila, EU regulations state that only liquor made in Holland and Belgium (plus a few French provinces and maybe a German state or two, but whatever!) can use the name jenever. Ketel One was originally a jenever distillery, before they got much more famous for their vodka. Oh, and you do the shot of it without your hands, like a classy girl at a bar for a bachelorette party.
Germany: Any Reinheitsgebot beer
What it is: Beer made under the German Beer Purity Law, which restricted beer ingredients to water, hops, and barley until 1993.
Why it’s great: Reinheitsgebot means you’re not getting a bunch of weird crap, like fruit and seafood, in your beer and probably means you get to drink out of a glass boot.
England: Pimm’s No. 1 Cup
What it is: Gin-based spirit with fruit and spice flavors, mixed with (preferably) dry English bubbly lemonade, as well as mint, cucumber, and lemon, or sometimes other fruits like apple and orange.
Why it’s great: Because James Pimm created a “house cup” of booze for his oyster bar in London in 1840, which he later bottled and sold, before selling the rights to Frederick “Don’t Call Me Tom” Sawyer in 1865. Also, it’s been associated with Wimbledon since 1971, and, every year, they sell 80K pints worth of the cocktail. Also also, it’s pretty delicious in the Summer.
Portugal: Port Wine
What it is: Fortified wine
Why it’s great: What’s not to love about wine that’s been spiked with a brandy-like grape spirit and aged in wood or bottles? Nothing. It’s like regular wine, but boozier and sweeter. And it’s a great excuse to drink with dessert.
What it is: Distilled fruit brandy
Why it’s great: This ain’t the peppermint stuff you did shots of when you were 22 and didn’t like the taste of beer — this is classier booze that’s been in Austria since the 1700s, and it’s made with wild fruits, berries, and even pinecones. It’s also proven to warm you up in the Winter.
What it is: Distilled pomace
Why it’s great: Turns out you can literally turn garbage into gold, as grappa is what you get after you distill stems and other grape junk leftover after making wine. But grappa really wins points for being a glutton’s best friend following a huge meal. It’s helpful in aiding your digestion of, say, a metric ton of pasta. It’s also surprisingly versatile, as it can be blended with espresso.
What it is: Barrel-aged whisky
Why it’s great: Because whisky. And because drinking it makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something with your life, especially when you drink it while wearing a velveteen robe and smoking a cigar.