These sips will instantly transport you to a dream destination, from Oregon’s lush wine country to the cobblestone streets of Brussels.
One taste, and you may even be inspired to take a trip.
What It Is: More than 40 herbs and spices are aged in large oak casks to create Hungary’s national spirit, which starts off bitter and finishes sweet.
Why This: A movie could be made about the history of this digestive liqueur. The original distillery was bombed during World War II, and its replacement was seized by the country’s post-war communist regime. It’s now back in the founding family’s hands; you can learn more at the Budapest distillery and museum.
What It Is: The ripe berries of a common myrtle tree are picked and transformed into this somewhat syrupy, red-hued liqueur.
Why This: You can’t walk far on the island without a glimpse of one of these trees. Most locals make the liqueur at home and sip it ice-cold after dinner, but bottlings are also available for purchase.
What It Is: This sweet cordial is what you get after you layer Japanese plum (ume) and rock sugar in a jar, fill it with shochu (distilled grain liquor similar to Korean soju), store it somewhere cool and dark, and shake it occasionally for least five months and up to two years.
Why This: Many Japanese people will tell you that their grandmothers and mothers made this. Mixed with hot water, it was used to stave off colds. These days, it’s easy to buy brands like Choya.
What It Is: These sour sippers are the result of spontaneous fermentation. The beer can be further modified to create different varieties including kriek (fermented again with sour Morello cherries) and gueuze (young and old lambics bottled together for second fermentation).
Why This: Located in Brussels’s Senne Valley, the family-owned Cantillon Brewery has made these funky beers the same way since 1900. Today, it
offers visitors an inside look at the process.
Why This: Field calls it “France in a glass.” Sip the drink at the place it was created, which reopened last summer after a top-to-bottom renovation.
What It Is: Recipes for this frothy drink vary, but most include evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, cream of coconut, white rum and cinnamon. (Some use egg yolks.) It’s served chilled with cinnamon on top.
Why This: Sharing a pitcher among family and friends is a holiday-season ritual, but it’s a worthy way to celebrate year-round.
What It Is: This sweet, fortified wine has been made in the Douro Valley since the 17th century. There are several versions, including this type that’s aged for two to three years in barrel before being bottled and further matured.
Why This: A Port vintage is declared in years with perfect conditions for high-quality wines that have long-term aging potential (like 100-plus years), so this is a real collector’s item. Notable wineries include Fonseca, Quinta do Noval and Poças Junior.
What It Is: Juice from sugarcane cultivated in the Pesé valley is distilled multiple times to create this high-proof liquor, considered the national drink of Panama. Locals sip it on ice or in cocktails.
Why This: It’s tied into the country’s history. Don Jose Varela Blanco founded Panama’s first sugar mill in the town of Pesé. Today, his descendants run the distillery that first made Seco Herrerano.
What It Is: The origins of this tiki cocktail—dark rum, Campari, pineapple juice, lime juice and simple syrup—are murky, but it was likely a welcome drink at the original Kuala Lumpur Hilton’s Aviary Bar in 1978.
Why This: Today, iterations of the drink are easy to find at locations around town, including the current Hilton’s lobby-level Chambers Bar.
What It Is: Winemaker David Lett pioneered the grape in the Willamette Valley in 1965. The wines are often earthy, with fruity hints of black cherry.
Why This: Conditions are similar to Burgundy, so it’s the next best thing if you can’t make it to France. Oregon has put its own distinct stamp on the variety, however, making wines with a distinctly New World flavor.