A Guide to Europe's National Drinks

Staff Writer
Tour the signature spirits and beverages of 13 European countries

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Consider yourself a savvy international imbiber? Have you toasted your way through Europe, can you say "cheers" in five different languages? (Santé, slainte, salute, skål, proost.) Alright, well then let's see if you know the answer to this question: What is considered to be the national drink of France?

Those of you who were quick to buzz in with "Champagne" or "wine" might want to reconsider that all-or-nothing wager because the answer we were looking for was pastis. The anise-flavored liqueur, most notably produced by Ricard, has long been a national favorite and is particularly emblematic of Marseille where it originated.

Yes, it's true that Champagne can only officially be called as such if it is produced in the French region of the same name, but as it turns out, Monaco appears to lay claim to the bubbly as its preferred national beverage. And yes, it's also true that France is one of the most highly regarded wine-producing nations in the world and that the beverage is a major part of the country's dining culture. But that said, let us not forget that the U.S. recently surpassed the French as the world's top wine drinking nation

Admittedly, the topic of national drinks is somewhat of a subjective one — ripe for debate and likely to ruffle a few feathers. In regards to France, others still might argue that cognac deserves the title. Of course, with some countries the answer is decidedly more obvious. Russia and vodka, Scotland and Scotch, Ireland and Guinness (after all, there is little that can come between and Irishman and his Guinness, except perhaps an Irish woman).

Read on for a tour of the drinks some European countries have rallied behind and adopted as iconic to their identities.

Click for A Guide to Europe’s National Drinks Slideshow.