Experience Germany Like a Local

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5 German Drinks to Try

5 German Drinks to Try • Germany Travel Tips • Written by Tourist is a Dirty Word

Looking at a German drink menu and only understanding a fraction of the options, you can play it safe and order a Coke, beer, or water. However, you could order ALL of that back home, so how about something different and uniquely German? Worse case scenario you'll have to get the server's attention again to order something else.

Here are 5 of my favorite German drinks you should try:

1. Schorle is a beverage where sparkling mineral water and juice are mixed, comparable to a spritzer. This is as refreshing as a soft drink on a hot day, but with less calories and sugar. The most common varieties of Schorle are Apfelschorle, apple juice mixed with sparkling water, followed by Johannisbeerschorle, red currant mixed with sparkling water. Most soda machines and supermarkets have some form of Schorle available and many restaurants list it on their menu. In case you do not see it on the menu, feel free to ask your server.

2. Radler is one of the most popular alcoholic drinks among Germans and my personal favorite, which simply is beer mixed with sparkling lemonade. Radler is available pre-mixed in a bottle or the server or bartender will make it upon ordering. Don't try mixing Fanta instead of sparkling lemonade with beer, its not comparable to Radler at all. While no one seems to know the exact origin of the word Radler, one source traces it back to being used by cycling clubs, since the translation of Radler is biker. On the menu it can also be called Alsterwasser or just Alster in Hamburg.

3. Spezi is a soft drink mix of cola, orange soda, orange juice, and lemon juice. The most popular brand names being Pepsi's Schwip Schwap or my favorite, Coca Cola's Mezzo Mix. Just like with all cola products, make sure it is chilled.

4. Apfelwein is a cider which is most popular in the Frankfurt am Main region where I grew up. It has an alcohol content of about 6% and a sour, tart apple taste. It is traditionally served in a glass with diamond-cut ridges called Geripptes. The way to order Apfelwein changes depending on how many people at your table are drinking it. To order it by the glass for one person, order a Schoppen. To order a large amount to share with the table, ask for a Bembel, a stoneware pitcher of Apfelwein. Other regional names for Apfelwein are Äppler, Ebbelwoi or Stöffsche.

5. KiBa is the coolest looking drink out of all of these and is short for Kirsch Banane. Kirsch translates to cherry, Banane means banana, and to make the drink you simply need cherry and banana juice. If you are curious and want to make the drink before you take off to Germany, make sure to chill the bottles in the fridge as it tastes best cold! Banana juice goes in the glass first until half full, then slowly add the cherry juice, which will flow to the bottom of the glass and give you a colorful, layered effect. I have also seen it listed on bar menus reversed as BaKi.

Want to tackle these German drinks at home in the States? Try these recipes:

EdWort's Apfelwein recipe

Meal Blender's recipe for homemade KiBa

What stands out? What do you most want to try? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Thank you For Reading! Denise & Sebastian | Photo by Irene Fiedler