• Germany's news in English

Germany's top refreshing summer drinks

The Local · 4 Aug 2015, 15:24

Published: 04 Aug 2015 15:24 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

From regional delights to national treasures, Germany has a wealth of traditions and innovations on offer when it comes to quenching your summer thirst - whether you prefer your drink with alcohol or not. Here's a few of our favourites...

Radler/Alsterwasser – while the concept isn't exactly unique to Germany, the high quality and wide variety of beer on offer makes a shandy with lemonade, cola, juice or something else a favourite pick.

The mixture has different names around Germany, with Berliners preferring “Potsdamer” or “Radler” and north Germans ordering an “Alsterwasser” - after the river Alster – mixed with Pils.

“Radler” is the most common name, and is in fact the word for “cyclist” - the people who originally popularized the mixed drink.

Bavarians might ask for a “dunkles Radler” made with dark beer, or a “Russe” made with wheat beer.

And Rhinelanders use “Radler” and “Alsterwasser” to distinguish between mixes with lemonade or orangeade, while in the Munsterland you can ask for a beer/orangeade mix known as “Wurstwasser” - sausage water – so-called because it looks like water that's been used to cook sausages.

If you're feeling particularly adventurous, you could even ask for a “Diesel” - beer mixed with cola.

Weinschorle – mixing wine with fizzy water is hardly a German-exclusive invention either. But Germans prefer using their own country's wine, such as Riesling, Blauer Portugieser, Weißherbst, Müller-Thurgau or Silvaner.

Photo by Birke via Wikimedia Commons

Wine mixes can be “sour” with carbonated water or “sweet” with lemonade. And depending on the region, you might get a different ratio of wine to mixer – with grape-loving Rhineland-Pfalz preferring to add just a dash of water to an almost-full glass of wine.

Bowle – Bowle is the Germans' way of describing a punch containing chunks of aromatic, refreshing fruit. It's usually served in a large glass punch bowl which goes by the same name.

Most German punches include juice, lemonade or sparkling wine as well as white wine, and there might be a dash of rum or other spirits added. Of course, there are always the non-alcoholic versions for kids or teetotallers too.

In the Rhineland, the chunks of fruit are known as “Möppchen” and soaked in the alcohol for a day, absorbing most of it and allowing the effects of the punch to be enjoyed without drinking a drop.

Fassbrause – Fassbrause was originally invented in Berlin in 1908 as a mixture of fruit (apples), herbs and malt to serve as an alcohol-free substitute for beer. But since then, the word has come to mean a wide range of alcohol-free products or beer mixes like Radler.

In Berlin original-style Fassbrause made by Rixdorfer or Spreequell can still be bought on tap in some bars and is known as “Sportmolle” (sport beer) in the capital's dialect. It's often also mixed with beer.

Sekt – The French love champagne, but the Germans call it Sekt and have a long tradition of producing their own. The sweet sparkling white wine was inspired by Germans returning from working in French vineyards around the turn of the 19th Century and became a booming business by the 1830s – with many of the same producers still in operation today.

There was a second wave of foundings in the 1980s after market regulations were loosened and now Germany boasts more than 1,000 producers, compared with fewer than 100 in 1985.

Germany is the world's biggest market for champagne and Sekt, with around 423 million bottles sold in the country in 2009 – one quarter of the world's entire consumption of bubbly. Of those, only 80 million were imported. So organize a garden party and start enjoying those bubbles!

Ebbelwoi/Äbbelwoi – Germany's most famous apple wine is made in the state of Hesse and is a protected geographic designation. It's often also called “Schoppen” in Hessisch. In the Eifel, Saarland and Luxembourg it's still called “Viez”, after the Roman name for the brew, “vice vinum” - the backup or replacement wine.

Eiswein – made from grapes harvested during a sharp winter frost, Eiswein is sweeter and thicker than normal wine as much of the water is frozen out. It's served chilled, making it a fine drink to enjoy during the summer, especially as an aperitif or dessert wine.

Story continues below…

Ice wines made from German Riesling grapes are particularly prized and are among the most sought-after sweet wines worldwide.

Apfelschorle – A German classic, apple juice mixed with sparkling water is often brought along as a sports drink thanks to its high mineral and sugar content that make it close to isotonic (of a similar concentration to blood).

Make sure you get the version with a high fruit content rather than a cheap one from concentrate!

Club Mate – While most visitors to Germany might associate Club Mate with Berlin's up-all-night club culture, it's actually been produced in Franconia, Bavaria since 1924.

Club Mate's (and its many competitors') high caffeine content comes from its main ingredient, Yerba Mate – a plant found in South America that has been made into tea for hundreds of years.

As well as being widely available in big-city clubs and festivals to keep music fans bouncing around the floor for hours, it's highly prized by hackers and often ordered in large quantities by enthusiastic programmers outside Germany for special events.

For the biggest of fans, there's even a more herbal “winter edition” available for a few months of the year. And for an alcoholic version, ordering a vodka-mate in bars will often see the bar staff hand you the bottle so you can quaff enough for a shot of vodka to fit inside.

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Eurowings braces as cabin crew union proclaims strike
Photo: DPA

A union representing cabin crew for Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings announced that strikes could take place at any time over the next two weeks, starting on Monday.

Mysterious German U-boat wreckage found off Scotland
Photo: ScottishPower

First World War U-boat "attacked by sea monster” thought to be found off Scottish coast.

Supermarket Edeka warns of exploding apple juice bottles
Photo: DPA

"Risk of injury" from "Gut und Günstig" sparkling apple juice bottles has forced Germany's largest supermarket to recall the product.

By wheelchair from Syria to Germany: teen's story of hope
Nujeen Mustafa. Photo: HarperCollins-William Collins Publicity/Private

She tackled the gruelling 2,000-kilometre migrant trail in a wheelchair, translating along the way for other refugees using English she learned from a US soap opera. Now this teen is living in Germany and hoping to inspire others with a newly published memoir.

Berlin Zoo to have a pair of pandas by next summer
A recently born panda pair at Vienna Zoo. Photo: DPA

The giant bamboo-eating bears will move into a brand new 5,000 square-metre enclosure in the capital's Zoologischer Garten.

Two new spider species discovered in Munich
Zoropsis spinimana. Photo: rankingranqueen / Wikimedia Commons

It's news every arachnophobe in Munich is no doubt thrilled to hear: two types of spider new to the region have been discovered in the Bavarian capital - and one of them bites!

After woman's body found in barrel, husband may walk free
Franziska S., who went missing 24 years ago. Photo: Hanover police.

A woman disappeared in Hanover 24 years ago, but no one reported her missing. Although her husband has now confessed to her murder, he still may not step foot in jail.

Two injured after army tank falls 50 metres in Alps
A Bundeswehr Puma tank. File photo: DPA

A Bundeswehr (German army) soldier has been severely injured after the tank he was riding in crashed 50 metres down an embankment after going off course in bad weather.

Teen girl stands trial for 'Isis' police stabbing in Hanover
Police guard the courthouse in Celle. Photo: DPA

A teenage girl stands trial from Thursday in Germany for stabbing a police officer, an assault allegedly "ordered" by Isis but which was not claimed by the jihadist group.

Merkel threatens Putin with more sanctions on Berlin visit
Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Chancellor Angela Merkel created a united front with French President Francois Hollande in Berlin on Thursday to denounce Russia’s “war crimes” in Syria.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd