As much as we love the authentic food in Tirol, your experience isn’t complete without trying some of the signature beverages—from milky over fruity to bubbly! Here are seven of the best refreshments you need to know about to drink like a local.
1. Elderflower Champagne
Deeply shrouded in legend, elderberry is a remarkable shrub. It was considered a ‘good luck tree’ and has been used as a medicinal herb for centuries. Nowadays, nothing quite says summer as much as flowering elderberries, made into refreshing and delicious elderflower syrup, which is a great way to capture in a bottle the essence of summer. Another popular drink throughout Tirol is elderflower champagne. Made with the lacy, cream-colored flowers of the elderberry shrub, it is a naturally bubbly, lightly alcoholic beverage with a delicate taste. Of course, this fermented elderflower beverage isn’t technically a champagne because it doesn’t contain the grape varieties used to make authentic champagne. However, served chilled, it makes for a unique and refreshing drink on hot summer evenings..
739,000 people live in Tirol and there are currently 78,000 cows. The reason is that dairy produce is an essential part of daily diet in Tirol. In the warm summer months, cold buttermilk is a delicious and refreshing beverage – drunk pure or mixed with fresh fruit. Buttermilk is the thin, non-fat but rich tasting liquid left in a churn after making butter. Despite its name, and although it looks and tastes rich and creamy, traditional churned buttermilk is not high in fat. The watery end-product of butter making is a potent source of probiotics and other fermented foods that aid digestion and promote gut health. Drinking buttermilk is even said to provide for beautiful skin and to help with losing weight.
Since 1895, Swarovski has been headquartered in Wattens. A little bit lesser known to the world is the fact that Wattens has as well been the home of “Chabeso” lemonade producer for over 75 years. Chabeso is Tirol’s very own sweet soft drink. And now it’s becoming a cult beverage with young folks and anyone young at heart. The original recipe for Tirol’s original fizzy, sweet and sour delicious drink is still a well-kept secret. Chabeso is available in half-litre bottles either “original” or mixed with soda, “g’spritzt” in local dialect, which makes a wonderfully refreshing thirst quencher. There is even a “glow” variant for those long and cold winter days.
The popular whey fruit drink named “Lattella” was ‘invented’ more than 40 years ago in Wörgl and soon became the favourite beverage of many Austrians. Whey is the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained. It is a byproduct of the manufacture of cheese and contains all the valuable ingredients of milk, but is virtually fat-free. A Tirol success story, Lattella has been one of the first marketable whey-fruit drinks and has made Austria a nation of whey drinkers. Whey was already been known as a medicinal and beauty treatment even in ancient times.
5. Naturally Cloudy Apple Juice
The Alps’ warm days and cool summer nights create the ideal conditions for growing sweet fruit—actually this difference in temperature means everything grows a little bit sweeter than it would at warmer climes: Taste an apple in Tirol and you know these apples lead to good things. One of those things is apple juice. It’s a revered tradition in many households across Tirol to press the year’s apple harvest into a juice that has a cloudy appearance and is full of flavour. Made with crisp local apple varieties, the naturally sweet fresh pressed juice is deliciously smooth. To make it even more refreshing, Tiroleans like to mix it with soda or tap water. Naturally, organic and naturally cloudy apple juice is served at many restaurants across the country.
6. Tirola Kola
Watch out Coca Cola & Pepsi, here comes the local version of coke, called “Tirola Kola”. This fine soft drink is packaged in protective and eye-catching flint glass bottles in Brixlegg by Günter Gruber. Rooted in a strong principle of sustainability, the beverage has successfully established itself in Tirol’s catering, hotel and food retail industry. The Tirol version of coke consists of mountain spring water flavoured with spruce needle extract, Swiss pine and exotic kola nut. It tastes delicious, with a touch of the Alps.
7. Tap Water
Tirol’s diverse geological and metamorphic history results in the formation of abundant natural springs—there are more than 10,000 underground sources where pure and great tasting water springs. In Tirol, all tap water comes from the natural and ever-gushing wells from the mountains. Through nature’s own filtration process, you’re drinking clean, pure water with all the natural minerals and qualities that give our water its great taste. It is usually not necessary to treat the water as it is safe to drink our great tasting water from the tap. It’s delicious!
Photo Credits: Charly Schwarz