What could be better than enjoying the sunset with a refreshing drink? Although the traditional anchor beer is a popular choice, there are also various country-specific alternatives depending on the region, which we would like to introduce to you. However, it doesn't always have to be alcoholic, and it is important to handle alcohol responsibly, especially when on board. Therefore, at least one crew member should remain sober to ensure that the ship is moored safely. Depending on preference, there is the option of placing a refreshing lemonade, a mooring beer or a fresh fruit juice on the cockpit table.
Croatia and Greece: A trip for all tastes
Generally speaking, people in Croatia prefer fruity flavours. The soft drink Cedevita, which has been available as a powdered drink since the 1980s and comes in various flavours, is very popular. When served with sparkling water and ice, it becomes a special evening on board, not only for the younger crew members.
YACHTING.COM TIP: At sea you need quick judgement and clear senses, you must always remember that. Did you know what the drinking culture is like in different countries? What the drink-drive limits are in popular sailing destinations, and what the penalties are for sailing under the influence? You can find the most important information in our article Drinking and boating: what are the legal limits in popular sailing destinations?
Croatia has an extensive selection of wines for those who like alcoholic beverages. In particular, the red wines of the coastal regions and islands are very popular. The vineyards of the Kvarner Bay, Dalmatia and Istria grow various types of grapes, including Merlot, Cabernet and Plavac, which are used to make red wine. Interestingly, flavonoids found in red grapes can help prevent sunburn. Nevertheless, it is important to use a good sunscreen even when drinking a glass of red wine in the evening. Apart from red wine, Croatia also has a wide range of white wines such as Malvazia and Pinot, which are very popular in the coastal regions.
Many of us know Rakija, a traditional brandy from Croatia made from various fruits. In Croatia, plum brandy, also called slivovitz, is the most common, but varieties made from apples, pears, figs or grapes are also popular. Rakija is drunk as an aperitif or digestif and is often considered a symbol of friendship and prosperity. Rakija has a high alcohol content and is usually served in small glasses to enjoy the taste and control the alcohol content.
The Croatia cruise is also ideal for beer lovers! The flavours of Croatian Pivo are similar to those of Czech beers, so you can enjoy a relaxing Ožujsko or Karlovačko Pivo on board.
Plum brandy Rakija
If you are sailing along the coasts of Greece, you should definitely treat yourself to a delicious frappé. In the hot summer months, people also like to drink cool refreshing drinks like lemonade or fruit juices. In the evening, you can also try one of the traditional Greek drinks, ouzo. Ouzo is called the national drink of the country and is served as an aperitif or digestif. It is made from aniseed, mainly in northern Greece, especially in the region around Thessaloniki. The drink has a strong alcohol content of 37.5 to 50 percent and is usually diluted with ice or water and served in small glasses. Interestingly, the name "ouzo" comes from the Turkish word "üzo", which means "taste". Although it has a Turkish origin, ouzo is a symbol of Greek culture and plays an important role in the lives of people in Greece. It is an important part of Greek cuisine and is often consumed at social events and celebrations. A glass of ouzo at sunset on board mixed with some water and ice cubes will give you a soothing refreshment.
Greek national drink Ouzo
Retsina, a white wine traditionally flavoured with resin, is also very popular in Greece. It is recommended as an accompaniment to seafood and other dishes of Greek cuisine. The wine is usually bottled, but it can also be found in plastic bags or cans, making it a convenient option for picnics or the beach.
It is also worth trying Mastiha liqueur on Chios, Mykonos or Phythagorio. The liqueur is made from the resin of the mastiha trees, which exist only on these islands and give it a unique aroma. Enjoy the unique chance to taste this liqueur near the coast of the fifth largest Greek island.
Resin on the mastiha trees, Chios
Italy and France: bitter notes and spirits
In Italy a bitter note is often mixed with the common spirits. This note is also clearly visible in non-alcoholic aperitifs, such as the very popular Crodino, which consists of herbs and fruit extracts. If it is added to the glass with some soda and ice cubes, the result is a very refreshing drink that is perfect for the evening. The Sanbitter comes in the same dark red colour as the Crodino and is the non-alcoholic version for bitter liqueurs like the Campari. Mix it with orange juice and ice cubes and you have a colourful and refreshing sundowner in no time.
Crodino with a little soda and ice cubes
YACHTING:COM TIP: Parties on board a ship can be an unforgettable experience, but you always have to take into account that you are at sea and there are certain restrictions and risks involved. How can you take these into account and still have a memorable party without compromising the safety of the crew? Read our 10 tips for keeping your crew and boat safe.
A famous drink from Italy, produced on the Amalfi Coast, Sicily and the Gulf of Naples, is Limoncello. It was traditionally used as a digestif or to make refreshing desserts. This season, however, Limoncello Spritz is becoming popular as an alternative to Aperol. By mixing it with Prosecco, adding a few ice cubes and finishing with a dash of mineral water, you get a sundowner reminiscent of a sunny day.
Other well-known and most frequently consumed spirits in Italy are:
- Grappa: Grappa is a type of brandy distilled from grape marc, the residue of grapes after winemaking. It is a traditional Italian drink and is often served as a digestif after a meal.
- Amaro: Amaro is a group of herbal liqueurs that are very popular in Italy. They are known for their bitter taste and are also drunk as an aperitif or digestif.
- Aperol: Aperol is a sweet aperitif with a bitter undertone and is used as a base for the well-known Aperol Spritz.
- Campari: Campari is a bitter aperitif that is very popular in Italy and is used as a base for cocktails like the Negroni.
- Sambuca: Sambuca is an aniseed liqueur and is served as an after-dinner digestif. It is often served with a coffee bean and lit to create an aromatic effect.
- Vermouth: Vermouth is a flavoured wine often used as an aperitif or as an ingredient in cocktails such as the Martini.
Anise liqueur Sambuca
France has a rich spirits culture and many well-known alcoholic drinks that are popular both nationally and internationally. For example, an apple brandy Calvados, which is mainly produced in Normandy. It is distilled from a mixture of apple varieties and has a characteristic apple flavour. Calvados is usually matured in wooden barrels and can vary between a mild and an intense flavour depending on how it is aged. It is served as an after-dinner digestif or used in cocktails.
Kir is an aperitif made from white wine and a dash of cassis (blackcurrant juice). The cocktail was named after the former mayor of Dijon, Félix Kir, and is particularly popular in Burgundy. The Kir has a sweet and fruity taste that makes it a popular refreshing drink before a meal. There are also variants that use other fruit juices or liqueurs instead of cassis, such as the Kir Royal, which uses champagne instead of white wine.
In France, syrups are also very popular. One example is a mint liqueur called menthe à l'eau, which is popular with young and old alike when served with water and ice. Mixing this syrup with the well-known French aniseed spirit called pastis, water and ice creates a drink called "perroquet" (parrot) in French.
French aniseed schnapps Pastis
The island of Corsica in the Mediterranean has its own special aperitif Cap Corse Rouge, a fortified wine often used in cocktails. When mixed with Prosecco and orange slices, it makes a refreshing, fruity spritz that is perfect for enjoying the evening with a view of the sea.
+ Bonus: Drinks from Scandinavia
It is not only in the south that there are special regional offerings to end the day on board. In Sweden and Finland , the cloudberry is widespread and can be used to make a unique liqueur Lakka. Mixing the liqueur with rum and apple juice results in an extraordinary taste. In Denmark, coffee and beer are particularly popular. The best-known Danish beer brands are Carlsberg, Tuborg and Faxe, but each region also has its own craft beer ("artisanal beer"). When you are on site, you can look around and find the right beer for your personal dream bay on the coast of Denmark.
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Norwegian beer Carlsberg
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