Ultimate Guide to Drinking in Germany: Top Drinks and more 2023

Discover the captivating world of Germany’s vibrant drinking culture, where every sip is an experience that goes beyond the glass. Immerse yourself in a realm of exquisite flavors and aromas, as Germany unveils its top-tier reds, whites, and renowned liqueurs that have captured the hearts of connoisseurs worldwide.

Yet, the German drinking culture is so much more than just the libations it offers. It’s a tapestry of customs and rituals, an art form that celebrates the joy of connecting with loved ones over a well-crafted drink. From lively gatherings at charming beer gardens to cozy conversations in historic taverns, every moment is an opportunity to indulge in the rich traditions that have been passed down through generations.

Germany’s Relaxed Attitude Towards Drinking

Drinking in Germany is not merely a pastime; it’s a way of life. It’s about relishing the moment, immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of flavors, and embracing the warmth of companionship. So, raise your glass and embark on a captivating journey through Germany’s enchanting drinking culture.

Germany’s vibrant cultural landscape boasts a deep-rooted, almost reverential relationship with beer drinking. This integral aspect of the national ethos is not merely about the consumption of the hoppy beverage. Instead, it’s a finely tuned ballet of indulgence and restraint that forms an enduring part of Germany’s unique charm. Unlike the somewhat notorious binge-drinking habits often attributed to British tourists, the German approach to drinking is characterized by moderation, with instances of public inebriation surprisingly rare.

Germany’s relaxed drinking laws allow beer consumption from the age of 16, a stark contrast to the legal age for spirits and other potent alcoholic beverages, which stands at 18. The open social acceptance of drinking in Germany manifests itself in the common sight of locals savoring a cold beer in public spaces. Whether it’s a leisurely picnic in a park, a bustling train carriage, or a quiet bench at the end of a long workday, the ubiquitous presence of beer in the hands of Germans paints a vivid picture of the nation’s fondness for this frothy delight.

The quintessential role that beer plays in the German societal fabric is eloquently encapsulated in the term “Bierernst.” This phrase, translating to “serious beer,” speaks volumes about how the Germans intertwine their passion for beer with a sense of responsibility and decorum. The world-renowned Oktoberfest is an emphatic testament to this approach. The grand spectacle, known far and wide as the ultimate beer festival, stands as an iconic symbol of Germany’s ardor for beer drinking. While it now draws globetrotters in droves, Oktoberfest’s essence remains firmly rooted in a reverential celebration of German breweries and their rich heritage.

Planning to make Germany your home? Engaging with the nation’s distinctive drinking culture can offer invaluable insights into its authentic ethos. Even for those who may not share the same enthusiasm for beer, immersing oneself in the Oktoberfest experience or exploring traditional beer bars could prove to be an enriching cultural journey. Such experiences offer a unique window into local traditions, enabling one to truly grasp the German spirit – in more ways than one.

Oktoberfest: The World’s Grandest Bavarian Festival

The Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, stands unrivaled as the globe’s grandest homage to Bavarian culture. Annually drawing innumerable visitors from all corners of the world, this two-week-long extravaganza is a vibrant tapestry of tradition, camaraderie, and merry indulgence. Whether you’re gearing up for your inaugural Oktoberfest experience or seeking a refresher ahead of your return to the jubilant jamboree, this thorough guide is your one-stop shop. We’ve got you covered, from insider tips to essential knowledge, ensuring you extract every ounce of enjoyment from your Oktoberfest adventure.

Diving into Oktoberfest Activities

Oktoberfest is a whirlwind of experiences that cater to all tastes. Visitors have the golden opportunity to taste a vast spectrum of expertly brewed German beers. But the delights don’t stop there. The festival also boasts a mouthwatering array of traditional Bavarian cuisine, promising a culinary voyage that goes hand-in-hand with the frothy beers on offer. Amidst the clinking of steins, visitors are serenaded by live music resonating through the festival grounds, and carnival rides add an exhilarating twist to the proceedings.

One of the festival’s most anticipated moments is the ceremonious tapping of the first keg of beer, performed by none other than the Mayor of Munich. This event heralds the commencement of the lively festivities, sending waves of anticipation through the eager crowd. Regardless of whether you’re a die-hard beer aficionado or a curious traveler eager to soak in the German culture, the Oktoberfest in Munich is a cultural institution that deserves a spot on your bucket list.

The Best German Drinks You Need to Try

Alcoholic Drinks

Jägermeister, a herbal liqueur containing 56 different herbs, is a popular alcoholic beverage in Germany, second only to beer.

Many people believe that the unique blend of herbs gives Jägermeister medicinal properties, making it a complex and delicious digestif.

The recipe for Jägermeister remains a well-kept secret since its creation in 1934. This intriguing liqueur is said to contain hints of saffron, ginger, citrus, and liquorice. Although it’s often used as a mixer in various popular cocktails.

 Jägermeister can also be enjoyed on its own, especially when served ice cold.

Himbeergeist is a raspberry-based spirit that’s mainly produced in Germany and France’s Alsace region. This popular drink is made by soaking wild raspberries in alcohol, giving it a unique flavor profile that features undertones of mint and basil.

With an alcohol content of around 40% ABV, Himbeergeist packs a powerful punch that’s sure to satisfy your senses. 

While it’s perfectly enjoyable on its own, it’s also a popular choice to pour over raspberry sorbet and garnish with mint for a delicious dessert.

Killepitsch, a herbal liqueur invented in Düsseldorf in 1858, boasts a more complex and robust flavor compared to Jägermeister, which it resembles in taste.

Made of 98 different organic herbs, fruits, and berries that are aged in vintage clay pots, Killepitsch is perfect for those who enjoy intense and refined herbal liqueurs.

This potent drink can be enjoyed on its own or mixed with other ingredients in cocktails.

Famous In The World Beers

Kölsch is a highly fermented pale yellow ale beer that can be traced back to the early 1600s, and it’s exclusively brewed in Cologne.

This fully-rounded beer has fruity undertones while remaining crisp and easy to drink, making it perfect for warm weather. It’s traditionally served in a Stange glass, and you can taste three Kölsch beers during a brewery tour in Cologne to learn about their brewing culture. 

Drinking a glass of Kölsch in Cologne is a must-do for anyone looking to sample some of the world’s best beer.

Weißbier, or wheat beer, is a light-colored top-fermented beer that must contain at least 50% wheat-to-barley ratio to be considered authentic according to German regulations. 

The unique top-fermented yeast used to brew Weißbier imparts a distinct taste of banana and clove, setting it apart from other traditional German beers. Weißbier can take on different forms, with the stronger Weizen Stark Bier and darker Dunkel Weisen being the most popular. 

Weizenstarkbier is significantly more potent than the toasted-malt Dunkelweizen.

Helles is a type of light beer that originated in Bavaria in 1894 as a response to the growing popularity of lighter pilsners in the neighboring Czech Republic. 

Traditional Bavarian beers were stronger and darker than Czech pilsners, so local German breweries started experimenting with their own version of the light beer. 

Bavarian Helles typically have a firmer body and a more malt-forward taste compared to Czech pilsners, while still being smooth and refined. 

This easy-to-drink beer is widely available throughout Germany and is a great option for those looking to sample the country’s beer culture.

Interesting  Cocktails

Hugo is a light and refreshing cocktail that has gained popularity in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy since its creation in 2005.

Bartender Roland Gruber originally made the cocktail with lemon balm, but it has since been adapted to include elderflower syrup for extra sweetness.

The cocktail’s floral sweetness and relatively low alcohol content make it an inviting drink for any time of the year.

The Hugo is made from sparkling wine, elderflower syrup, and club soda, and topped with mint for a rounded finish. It’s the perfect aperitif to enjoy before a meal and was created as an alternative to the famous Aperol Spritz cocktail.

The Radler is a well-liked cocktail in Germany that puts a new spin on the nation’s favorite drink, beer. 

It is made by mixing German beer and lemonade, and the story behind its creation is that it was invented in a bar in Deisenhofen to avoid running out of beer during a cycling event.

This account of the Radler’s origin inspired the drink’s name (Radler translates to cyclist in German) and helped spread its popularity across Germany. 

Even though variations of the Radler can be found worldwide, a genuine Radler made with authentic German beer is an exceptional and unique experience.

Eierlikör is a German winter beverage that is a richer and more alcoholic version of eggnog. It is a creamy and flavorful drink that is popular during the wintertime.

Eierlikör is typically made from egg yolk, sugar, vanilla extract, rum, and whipped cream. Its taste mainly comes from the eggs and rum, unlike eggnog which is flavored primarily with dairy and spices.

This unique liqueur is widely consumed in Germany and the Netherlands and is exported to the United States and Canada by some brands.

Eierlikör is best served warm in a glass and is a perfect way to keep warm during the freezing German winters.

German Wines

Riesling, a type of aromatic wine, originates from regions in Germany that are adjacent to the Rhine River. 

It has a distinctive flavor profile that is characterized by a crisp and refreshing taste, coupled with fruity notes of apple, apricot, pear, and peach. 

Compared to regular white wines, Riesling has a higher level of acidity, which adds to its unique taste.

One way to identify an authentic Riesling is to look for its distinctive bottle shape, which is tall, slender, and elegant.

This wine has been around since the 15th century and has been enjoyed by German nobility and esteemed citizens for centuries. Today, it can be found in restaurants and shops worldwide.

Apfelwein is a unique German wine made from apples instead of grapes.

It differs from traditional cider in that it is not a sparkling sugary drink, but rather a tart, fermented drink that uses older, more bitter apples.

However, there is a sweeter variation of Apfelwein called Süßgespritzter, which is made by mixing lemonade with Apfelwein.

Apfelwein is a popular drink in the Hessen Rhein-Main winemaking region of Southern Germany, where more than 100 types of apples are grown.

Authentic Apfelwein is easily distinguishable by its tart taste and lack of carbonation.

Glühwein is one of the most popular beverages during the winter season in Germany, a type of mulled wine that is often enjoyed in social gatherings with friends and family.

Unlike traditional wines found in high-end markets or restaurants, Glühwein is a warm beverage made from mixing red wine with spices like cinnamon, cloves, anise, and sugar, and is topped off with a hint of orange peel to enhance its flavor. 

Some regions in Germany also make Glühwein with white wine and add a dash of Schnaps or rum for an added kick.

Quirky Traditions About Drinking in Germany

Germans have some interesting customs and traditions when it comes to drinking. Here are a few to keep in mind:

When clinking glasses with someone, it’s important to make eye contact. If you don’t, it’s considered bad luck and could bring seven years of bad sex.

When clinking glasses, make sure not to cross arms. While the consequences of this aren’t clear, it’s definitely something to avoid.

If you’re drinking Weizenbier, make sure to use a wide-topped glass instead of drinking straight from the bottle. This is because the yeast needs room to spread.

In Bavaria, it’s common to have hefeweizen, a malted beer, for breakfast.
For a unique twist on mulled wine, try Die Feuerzangenbowle, which involves setting a sugarloaf on fire above a bowl of mulled wine using tongs. The caramelized remnants drip down into the wine, creating a tasty combination.

In conclusion, Germany’s drinking culture is as diverse and unique as its breathtaking scenery. It’s a fascinating blend of high-quality beverages, social traditions, and brewing excellence, making Germany a must-visit destination for those seeking an unforgettable drinking experience.

Thank you for taking the time to read this article about German drinking customs and traditions. Our website has many more articles that explore German culture and traditions, so please visit us again soon for more fascinating insights into the world of Germany.