The Spirit(s) of the World Cup
Every country has their favourite, a national beverage known the world over as synonymous with that region. Some of them are well known around the world. But the lesser countries too have their own special concoctions, that we just haven’t heard of before, or didn't really know the place of origin. We take a look at a tidbit of trivia about the favourite drinks of each of the teams competing in this year’s World Cup.
Brazil - Caipirinha de Cachaça is the quasi-official cocktail of Brazil. Combining a rum-like liquor made from sugarcane juice, with lime, crushed ice and sugar for a truly refreshing treat!
Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina - Rakia, a distilled liquor made from plums is a popular drink in these countries. In Croatia, a herbal infused variety is served with dried figs before a meal.
Mexico - The quintessential ritual of lime and salt is an alien concept in Mexico, the home of tequila.. They prefer their tequila neat, sipped and savored, not as a shot.
Cameroon - A clear millet based beer known as bilbil is home-brewed and consumed all over Cameroon.
Spain - Kalimoxto is a drink very popular among the youth. Made of wine and cola, it has quickly become an iconic drink among young Spaniards everywhere.
Netherlands and Belgium- Genièvre or Dutch Gin is the national drink of both Holland and Belgium. This juniper flavoured alcohol is traditionally served neat, and the glass is always filled to the brim.
Chile - Pisco is a colorless or yellowish-to-amber colored grape brandy produced in winemaking regions of Chile. Pisco sour is a popular cocktail, with sugar, lime, and sometimes egg whites.
Australia - Australians consume 530 million litres of wine annually. The best part, wine is not taxed as alcohol and is subsidised through taxpayer-funded rebates!
Colombia, Ecuador and Uruguay - One of those rare alcoholic beverages consumed hot, canelazo consists of sugarcane alcohol with cinnamon water, and sometimes fruit juice too.Sounds delicious!
Greece - Ouzo is an clear anise-flavoured aperitif, consumed in Greece. It turns milky white or pale blue, when water or ice is added!
Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Ghana - Bangui is a palm wine, popular all around Ivory Coast.. It has a milky white appearance and a distinctive bitter-sweet taste. A similar concoction produced in Ghana is known as Nsafufuo, and Ogogoro in Nigeria.
Japan - Sake is commonly known as a rice wine, but the brewing process used is more akin to beer. Like in Korea, it is considered good manners to pour each other’s drinks.
Costa Rica and Honduras - Guaro is a clear, slightly sweet alcohol, very popular in Central America. It is sometimes called “soft vodka” or aguardiente which translates to “fire water”.
England - When we think of England and alcohol, the first thing that comes to mind is James Bond and his Vesper martini, 4 parts gin to 1 part vodka. Shaken, not stirred.
Italy - Grappa is a famous brandy from Italy. It is made from the skins, pulp, seeds, and stems of grapes (the pomace) leftover after the wine-making process.
Switzerland - Absinthe originated in Switzerland in the 18th century, and was extremely popular among the artists and writers, till it was banned for almost a century up to the 1990’s. This ban did nothing but enhance absinthe’s bad-ass reputation.
France - A near-blind Benedictine monk named Dom Pierre Perignon, whose name is now revered in champagne-drinking circles, exclaimed, "Come quickly.. I'm tasting stars!" when he had his first sip of the sparkling, bubbly, beautiful beverage.
Argentina - Fernet is a liquorice flavoured alcohol, very popular in Argentina, where over 25 million litres are consumed annually. Commonly mixed with cola or soda, it is sometimes drunk neat too.
Germany - Jägermeister is a German liqueur made with 56 herbs and spices, and contrary to a popular urban legend, does not contain deer or stag blood!
Portugal - Port wine gets its name from Porto in Portugal. It is a popular dessert wine, and is actually a mixture of wine and brandy, i.e. a fortified wine.
USA - Bourbon is the official spirit of the United States. About 90% of the world’s bourbon is still made in Kentucky!
Russia - If the thought of drinking vodka straight up makes you grimace, you probably haven’t gotten your hands on the good stuff. Russians drink vodka in small sips, without mixers, interspersed with small bites of food.
Korea - Soju is a clear rice wine native to Korea. Tradition dictates that while drinking soju, you should never fill your own glass, or top it up before it’s completely empty.
Iran and Algeria - Two countries participating in this World Cup, where alcohol is banned.
There you have it. An understanding of drinking and drinking traditions of every country in the World Cup. Now go ahead, support your team in the best way possible, indulge in a few of their favourite drinks and remember to Live Responsibly!
Article by: Viren Fernandes
Images Courtesy: buzzle.com