Unusual Cocktails & Drinks

Did the title of this post spark your interest? I hope so because it’s a vast and fascinating subject when you begin looking at the interesting concoctions being crafted by bartenders around the world. This topic is virtually endless and I’m sure many of you could add your own experiences to this post. Please do. Add your suggestions or thoughts on some “unusual cocktails and drinks” in the comments section. I’m sure some interesting dialogue will be triggered here.

I came across this post http://www.casinotop10.net/Unusual-Cocktails-and-Drinks and it provided the inspiration for today’s topic. However I am taking a different perspective on “unusual”. The following four drinks are insanely popular in their respective countries of origin. In fact they may be the most popular drinks in those countries. However like many things internationally they are relatively unknown to most in North America if you haven’t had the chance to visit these places you likely haven’t had any of the following.

1. Ouzo – Greece



Ouzo is an Anise flavoured liquor which is insanely popular in Greece. If you haven’t been there then you likely have not had it. It is usually served on it’s own as an aperitif or is often served with appetizers in restaurants. It usually sipped slowly (or in shots by tourists) sometimes mixed with water or on ice. The closest comparison we are going to find in North America would be Sambuca. Yes, that black licorice flavour is prominent in Ouzo.
I also decided to take to Twitter to find out what the public had to say about Ouzo and was interested to find some mixed results.
“Easy Sipping Liquor.” (@bsaunders33)
“Tastes like black licorice to me.” (@paproconsulting)
“Gasoline #highoctane…sorry that’s grappa.” (@mortgageblogger)
“Gross” (@brettvdb)

2. Pisco – Chile/Peru

Pisco Sour - Peru

Pisco Sour – Peru

In 2010 I was fortunate enough to visit Chile on my honeymoon and there I experienced plenty of Pisco Sours. Peru claims exclusive right to use the name Pisco (according to Wikipedia that is) but if it’s coming from Chile don’t let the confusing label get the better of you as they have to call it “Chilean Pisco”. Though rarely aged in oak, where it will gain some amber colouring, it is most often colourless. At the core it is a grape based brandy made in much the same way as the more typical brandy’s we would find in North America. However it is a harsher flavour and thus is most often used in the cocktail “Pisco Sour.” The Pisco Sour is actually the Peruvian National Cocktail prepared with egg white, ice shavings, lime juice, simple syrup, and bitters. The Chilean version by comparison usually omits the bitters. It’s actually quite an enjoyable cocktail, especially when your consuming it in the home country.

3. Caipirinha – Brazil



This one I must admit that I have never had, but I have read about it many times before so it was top of mind when I decided to write this post. Caipirinha has been proclaimed the national cocktail of Brazil. It is usually made with Cachaca, sugar, and lime and very much resembles a Mojito without the mint. Cachaca is an alcohol that is almost identical to rum with the big difference being that rum is made with Molasses and Cachaca is made with pure sugar cane juice. Just like rum you can get aged and dark versions which have seen time in oak, but most at the lower price point which is used in the cocktail would be colourless. Of course you could theoretically make this cocktail with rum and it would be virtually identical… but it would not be Caipirinha.

4. Snow Beer – China


Snow Beer

So here is your next pub stumper when you’re at the bar with your friends. “Do you know what the #1 beer brand in the world is by sales volume?” Yes folks that’s right… SNOW BEER! Apparently the Chinese like their beer. It is commonly known as a pale ale, most closely resembling Bud Light and at 3.0%-3.9% alcohol you could probably have a ton of them. Well it appears that the Chinese do. Snow Beer brands sold 50.8 Million barrels in 2011, dwarfing sales by the worlds second most popular brand… Bud Light (45.4 Million barrels). To put that into context the Chinese drank 16.5 Billion pints of Snow in 2011. As the mass beer market shrinks year over year in North America, this continues to be the flagship moneymaker for beer powerhouse SABMiller, the makers of Peroni, Grolsch, and Miller Light. **All stats from The Drinks Business I’m sure you have more to add. What have you tried that could be considered an “unusual cocktail or drink?” Please share it with us in the comments section below.

– Mark

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