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.
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.
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.
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.
Kalimotxo for two in our garden
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.
Cidre de Normand in Honfleur, France
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.
The poring of the cider, Oviedo, Spain
Calle Gascona at night, Oviedo, Spain
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, Jerez, Spain
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.
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).
Aperol Spritz in our garden
Limoncello Spritz by Lake Garda
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 copy.
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.
A glass of Ricard, with it's water mixer.
Ginjinha Sem Rival in 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
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 Valencia
our travelling toolkit
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.
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.
Vin Jaune wine in Arbois, France
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.
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.
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 Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Our Gift ideas
A few ideas for a friend
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