Two glasses of Limoncello Spritz at a bar table next to Lake Garda in Limone-sul- Garda, Italy

Memorable tipples from our travels

In Drink, Life, Our Journeys, Sense, Senses by Janis2 Comments

The sip of the drink that transports you to another world

You close your eyes take one sip of your crisp rose wine, and you’re there. Sitting on the water’s edge of a quaint, picturesque harbour along the French Riviera. Colourful little boats are bobbing up and down with the gentle swell of the sea, c'est le paradis.
So often for me, there are flavours and tastes that immediately evoke memories of trips that Gary and I have experienced together.

Janis holding a glass of pinot noir wine in Obernai, France. As is tradition in the region the wine glass has a green glass stem and a clear top.  She is overlooking the town square including the town hall displaying the French tricolore.

A Pinot Noir in the Alsace region of France

A few of these drinks we’ve re-created at home, with some success I might add. And others are best left untouched as they are just too good to meddle with.

Quick Links

One thing I have just noticed when crafting this list is that all the drinks I have chosen are alcoholic. Mmm well, let’s move on shall we.
In no particular order, here are our memorable tipples from our travels.

Calimocho or Kalimotxo

Calimocho or Kalimotxo, (if you are in the Basque region of Spain), is a delightful combination of Spanish red wine and coke.
Yes, you’ve heard me correctly red wine and coke.

Two large straight glasses of Calimocho on a distressed table outside a bar in Bilbao, Spain

Kalimotxo or Calimocho - red wine & coke in Bilbao, Spain

It may not be a blend that you would think could work together; yet, it does. Along with the two ingredients just add ice, and you have a winner. I must admit I was surprised at how enjoyable it was and quite refreshing.

Two large straight glasses of homemade Calimocho on a wicker table in our garden in Kent, Egland

Kalimotxo for two in our garden

I first tried this drink in Bilbao and on our return back to the UK, I just had to re-create it at home. In the English sunshine, it didn’t disappoint. For all the metric and imperial quantities take a peek at our Calimocho post.

A helpful guide

There are so many incredible places to discover in Spain and I love planning road trips. I often use the DK Eyewitness books, I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into searching for more.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our Spanish road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.

Normandy Cider

When I think of Normandy and its food and drink, apples usually come to mind. A couple of years ago we headed off on a road trip and toured the ‘Route de Cidre’ through the Normandy countryside.
A bottle and 2 glasses of Cidre de Normandie served at the edge of the marina of Honfleur, filled with small sailing boats.

Cidre de Normand in Honfleur, France

Stopping at some delightful villages like Beuvron-en-Auge and twisting our way amongst orchards. A memory that often springs to mind when I taste a glass of cider is sitting by the harbour in Honfleur and enjoying a delicious galette.

A useful guide

We love visiting France and each region so different from one another. I find the DK Eyewitness Guides really helpful in planning a trip and so often find interesting little snippets of info.

Take a peek at this revised Top 10 Pocket Travel Guide and see what you can discover.


Keeping to the cider theme, in the Asturias region of northern Spain, they make an art out of pouring their cider.

Our waiter in Oviedo aerating the Cidre by pouring from an outstretched arm above his head into a glass held below waist level, all the while he looks into the middle distance

The poring of the cider, Oviedo, Spain

Groups of people strolling along Calle Gascona, Oviedo, Spain at night.  The Street of Cider is lined with bars on both sides serving the local tipple

Calle Gascona at night, Oviedo, Spain

When we visited Oviedo, the whole cider experience is almost like a theatre. There’s a certain knack to aerating it while it’s being poured from a great height.

Head to Calle Gascona (Boulevard of cider), and you are spoilt for choice of which sidreria to choose from.

When the cider is being tipped into your glass, keep your distance as there will be some splashback.

It’s a great spectacle to watch, and a lot of practice has gone into perfecting it.


There can only be one city to sample Port in, and that has to be Porto. Nestled along the Douro Valley this friendly city has so much charm.
If you’re visiting on a road trip head out to the picturesque vine terraces that line the Douro and see first-hand how the Port is produced. Row after row the vineyards climb up through the hills.


A selections of ports in Porto, Portugal

Then back in Porto with the car safely parked up visit one of the many Port houses that line the Gaia side of the Douro River.

You may have a favourite producer, if not see what takes your fancy and go with it, we chose the Sandeman tour.

A reference guide

Our recent new found love is Portugal, it is such a beautiful country. While planning our trip, I used the DK Eyewitness books. I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our north to south Portuguese road trip, now you can grab the revised copy.


Sticking with fortified wine, our next tipple is Sherry. Now don’t dismiss it immediately and assume it is all like the bottle we dust off every Christmas and share with our Gran’s.
When we visited Jerez in southern Spain, we knew that we wanted to take a Sherry tour around González Byass Bodega. We certainly weren’t disappointed and were converted to the new delights and aromas of Sherry. From the light and dry Manzanilla to the sweet Christmas pudding flavour of Pedro Ximénez.

Gonzalez Byass Barrels in a warehouse in Jerez, Spain

Gonzalez Byass Barrels, Jerez, Spain

If you get a chance to visit a Sherry bar, you must head inside. We found one in Jerez the Tabanco El Pasaje, sipped on our Sherry while listening to the lovely sounds of Flamenco being played on a Spanish guitar.

A helpful guide

Ahhh the call of Andalucía, I love nothing more than planning a trip and so often I use the DK Eyewitness books. I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our southern Spanish road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.

Aperol Spritz

Ohh yes who can resist the Italian classic Aperol Spritz, certainly not me. When I think of Aperol Spritz, I’m immediately transported to Venice. Sitting on the banks of the Grand Canal overlooking the ancient Rialto Bridge.
This is such a pleasurable drink and so easy to re-create back home (obviously without the Grand Canal).

Two glasses of Aperol Spritz with a bottle of Prosecco, a bottle of Aperol, a soda syphon and a bowl of crisps in our garden

Aperol Spritz in our garden

Take a look at our Aperol Spritz post to find out the quantities and the ingredients you need to bring a little Italian sunshine to your home. Don’t forget the plain salted crisps they are a great accompaniment.

Limoncello Spritz

This sounds very much like the Aperol Spritz, and I think you can tell what the difference is. It wasn’t until we headed to Limone sul Garda that I even knew this was a thing.
Two glasses of Limoncello Spritz at a bar table next to Lake Garda in Limone-sul- Garda, Italy

Limoncello Spritz by Lake Garda

I love lemons so Limoncello Spritz is win, win for me. To create this little gem, mix 3-parts Prosecco, with 2-parts Limoncello and 1-part soda water. Add ice and a slice, and you’re there, with the view of the shimmering opal Lake Garda and the incredible mountains beyond.

A helpful guide

If your heading off on your own Italian adventure, than grab a copy of this DK Eyewitness book. I love planning road trips and these guides are so helpful. I find them extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more of the back roads.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our Italian wanderings, now you can grab the revised ccopy.


Ricard is a French pastis made from a blend of star anise and liquorice. I must admit, it’s not a drink I would choose, although Gary quite likes it. I think liquorice is best in a Sherbet Fountain (now I’m showing my age).

However, it is very popular in France, and you’ll often see locals enjoying a quick tipple. It is normally diluted with water, around 5-parts water to 1-part pastis. Although you may often see it served neat with a jug of water, and then you can add as you require.

Glass of Richard served with a jug of water for you to mix as you desire.  Once you mix the 2 clear liquids the resulting drink turns a cloudy whitish colour

A glass of Ricard, with it's water mixer.


So, it’s off to Lisbon for this little tipple, locally known as ‘Ginja’. Ginjinha is a sour cherry liqueur and the best place to try this is from one of the tiny shopfronts in Rossio Square.
Queuing for a shot of Ginjinha Sem Rival at a tiny little shop in the centre of Lisbon, Portugal

Ginjinha Sem Rival in Lisbon, Portugal

A single bottle of Ginjinha, in which you can clearly see the cherries in the bottom of the bottle, brought back from Lisbon, Portugal

Our bottle of Ginjinha brought back from Lisbon, Portugal

For around €1.40 you’ll get a brimming shot glass of this unusual liqueur. You can down it in one as some folk do, or you can savour it. However, as a treat, there is often a Ginja cherry at the bottom which has been infused in the bottle.
The Ginjinha booths are open from 10am, although I would advise holding off until a little later in the day to give it a go.

A reference guide

I love nothing more than planning a trip and so often I use the DK Eyewitness books. This Top 10 Pocket Travel Guide was invaluable to us.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our Lisbon mini-break, now you can grab the revised copy.

Agua de Valencia

Now there are no prizes for where our next drink comes from, yes, it is Valencia on the eastern shores of Spain. Agua de Valencia is truly sunshine in a glass and one I would highly recommend sharing with friends, as it is excellent served in a pitcher.
A pitcher of Agua de Valencia, and two glasses, on a table in our garden.  That includes Vodka, a Bottle of Cava, Gin & Orange Juice.

An Agua de Valencia in our garden

We enjoyed this refreshing cocktail so much we re-created it home, to sample in our English summer. Take a sip, close your eyes and you could be on the Playa de la Malvarrosa in Valencia.

Gary with a large glass of Agua de Valencia in central Valencia, Spain

Gary with a large glass of Agua de Valencia in Valencia

If you fancy giving this a try at home check out our post Agua de Valencia for the ingredients and quantities, you need.

Discover more

If you’re touring Spain on a road trip, take a look at our posts on the UNESCO sites in Spain. All of them are incredible, and so many to choose from.


Ahh, nothing brings back memories of a German Christmas market better than a steaming mug of glühwein. We’ve had some incredible times at the markets and Cologne is still our favourite.
The most popular glühwein is red (rot) although white (weiss) is also available. Often each town or city has its own version, adding different spices.

Two glasses of steaming Gluhwein in the souvenir mugs at the Christmas Markets in Cologne, Germany

Gluhwein in the souvenir mugs

If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you can also add a shot of your favourite spirit. Rum works well with the red glühwein and Calvados is pretty good with the white mulled wine.

A reference guide

I love nothing more than planning a trip and so often I use the DK Eyewitness books.  I find them  extremely informative, easy to follow and the pictures and maps tempt you into discovering more.

We used a previous version of this book to plan our Germany road trips, now you can grab the revised copy.


Wine perhaps goes without saying. Although there are so many countries producing incredible wine and often ones you wouldn’t typically be drawn to.

When travelling we always try the locally produced wine even down to the region, we are staying in. France is still a winner for vino, but have you tried vin jaune from Arbois in the Jura region of France, this is just like a sherry?
A glass of the vin jaune next to a basket of bread in Arbois, France

Vin Jaune wine in Arbois, France

Often though some countries don’t export it so much or when they do, it is difficult to source or relatively expensive. So, when we venture off on any road trip, we either stop at a vineyard or pop into a local supermarket to grab some and bring it home to the UK.
A box of wine resting on the back of our car at a winery in Putniković, Croatia

Picking up wine at Putniković, Croatia

Croatian wine is lovely along with Austrian, Canadian ice wine, Italian and Spanish, to name just a few.

In a bar in Guimaraes in northern Portugal, we were served cold red Vinho Verde in a chilled mug. We picked up a bottle from a local store for a later date.
Now in the southeast of England, we are even giving France a run for their money regarding sparkling wine.

Tempted to?

Discover the incredible flavours throughout Europe. Why not jump in a car and tour at your own pace. You can do it all on a road trip, Rental Cars cover all budgets and allow you to pick up and drop off at different destinations.
Ensure you’re safely parked up for the day before you have a taster.


Just like the wine, we will always try to sample regional beers and ales (I’m more of a Pilsner drinker myself). Gary is pretty selective, so if a bar doesn’t serve a local beer, we’re not going in.
During our years of travelling we’ve come across some that are good, some that are not so good and some that will blow your socks off. If you’re in Belgium, keep an eye on the alcohol content.

A dark Karlovačko Crno and a golden Karlovačko pilsner by the coastline in Zadar, Croatia

Cold beers by the sea, in Zadar, Croatia

Nowadays a lot of countries will brew their own beer so definitely watch out for it. We’ve found that the German’s produce great beer I personally like Kölsch from Cologne. This is served in 200ml glasses, and they will just keep marking them on your beer mat until you pop it on top of your glass and then they know you want to pay up.

A couple of Zambezi beers at the A’Zambezi River Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

A couple of Zambezi beers at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Even during our trip to Zimbabwe in 2019, we couldn’t resist trying the local brew a ‘Zambezi’. Although when we were in Zimbabwe about 20 years ago, Gary decided to try their equivalent of Guinness, that was an experience never to be repeated.

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