These ten must-try spirits from around the world contain something for everyone, from time-honored traditions to current artisan blends. This list is likely to please whether you’re a whiskey specialist, a gin enthusiast, or simply someone trying to extend their alcohol taste. This journey of the world’s finest spirits will satisfy any drinker, from Scotland’s famous Scotch whiskey to the bracing Dutch Genever. So grab a glass and a bottle of your favorite alcohol and join us on this international adventure!
Mezcal is a distilled spirit made from the agave plant and is primarily produced in Oaxaca, Mexico. Unlike its cousin, tequila, which is only made from the blue agave plant, mezcal can be made from a variety of agave plants, giving it a more complex and smoky flavor. Mezcal is traditionally consumed neat or in a cocktail, and its distinct flavor makes it a must-try spirit for anyone who loves tequila or enjoys smoky flavors.
Cachaça is a distilled spirit made from sugarcane and is primarily produced in Brazil. It’s the key ingredient in Brazil’s national cocktail, the Caipirinha, and is also enjoyed neat or on the rocks. Cachaça has a unique flavor profile, ranging from grassy and herbaceous to fruity and floral, and is a must-try spirit for anyone who enjoys rum or tropical flavors.
Baijiu is a distilled spirit made from fermented grains and is primarily produced in China. It’s the most widely consumed spirit in the world, and its unique flavor profile can range from fruity and floral to earthy and savory. Baijiu is typically consumed in small shots, and its high alcohol content (usually around 40-60%) makes it a potent drink. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to try a spirit that’s popular in China, baijiu is a must-try.
Absinthe is a distilled spirit made from wormwood, anise, and other botanicals, and is primarily produced in France. It’s often associated with artists and bohemians and has a reputation for being a powerful hallucinogen (which is actually a myth). Absinthe has a distinct licorice flavor and is traditionally consumed by dripping cold water over a sugar cube and diluting it. If you’re looking for a unique spirit with a rich cultural history, absinthe is a must-try.
Pisco, Peru and Chile
Pisco is a distilled spirit made from grapes and is primarily produced in Peru and Chile. It’s the key ingredient in the classic cocktail, the Pisco Sour, and has a bright, fruity flavor profile. Pisco can be made from a variety of grapes, including the aromatic Quebranta grape, which gives it a distinct floral aroma. If you’re looking for a spirit that’s versatile and perfect for cocktail mixing, Pisco is a must-try.
Raki is a distilled spirit made from grapes and aniseed and is primarily produced in Turkey. It’s the national drink of Turkey and is traditionally consumed with meze, small plates of food similar to tapas. Raki has a strong anise flavor and is typically diluted with water, which turns the clear spirit a milky white color. If you’re looking for a spirit that’s popular in the Middle East and has a unique flavor profile, Raki is a must-try.
Shochu is a distilled spirit made from a variety of ingredients, including rice, barley, sweet potatoes, and buckwheat, and is primarily produced in Japan. It’s a versatile spirit that can be consumed neat, on the rocks, or mixed in cocktails. Shochu has a subtle flavor profile and lower alcohol content than many other spirits, making it a great choice for those who enjoy a more mild taste.
Rakia, Balkan Peninsula
Rakia is a distilled spirit made from fruit, usually plums or grapes, and is popular throughout the Balkan Peninsula, including countries such as Bulgaria, Serbia, and Croatia. Rakia has a strong fruity flavor and is typically consumed in small shots. It’s also used as a traditional medicine for various ailments and is believed to have healing properties. If you’re looking for a spirit with a strong cultural history and fruity flavor, Rakia is a must-try.
Grappa is a distilled spirit made from grape pomace, the leftover skins, seeds, and stems from the wine-making process, and is primarily produced in Italy. It has a strong, fruity flavor and is typically consumed after a meal as a digestif. Grappa is a great choice for anyone who loves wine and wants to try a spirit made from the same grapes.
Akvavit is a distilled spirit made from grain or potatoes and flavored with herbs, typically caraway or dill, and is popular throughout Scandinavia. It has a strong herbal flavor and is typically consumed in small shots or mixed in cocktails. Akvavit is also used in traditional Scandinavian celebrations and is believed to have healing properties. If you’re looking for a spirit with a unique herbal flavor and strong cultural ties, Akvavit is a must-try.
There are many must-try spirits from around the world with unique flavor profiles and cultural histories. From smoky mezcal to fruity Rakia, there is a spirit out there for every taste preference. So why not step outside your comfort zone and try something new? You may just discover a new favorite spirit.