Chasing Spirits

Posted: October 8, 2018 in Blog
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German Alcohol

As mentioned in an earlier entry, I recently returned from a trip to Germany. Though my prior post was made as something of a satire, the visit was wonderful, though not without some challenges. I also learned a lot. That likely goes without saying, but I will elaborate.

Sushi is generally what I consider my favorite food. One thing I wanted to do in Germany was find out if they have good sushi. We just happened to find a small sushi place very close to the hotel in Frankfurt, so in we went.

We were the only customers, and the proprietor proved friendly. He was Asian, and he spoke at least three languages very well. One of those was English, as he had studied to be a sushi chef in the U.S. This afforded us a great opportunity to communicate. He took up station behind the bar to prepare our orders, and we chatted thoroughly. The fish was excellent, but what caught my interest was when he mentioned he liked to drink “cola weissen”.

Okay. You may likely be in the throes of a similar sort of quizzical reaction I had. Weiss is a type of beer in Germany, and the drink is a half & half mixture of said beer and Coca-Cola. Yep. That’s what it is, and your reaction may now be similar to mine. I honestly thought he was maybe having a tease at our expense, due to being American, but nope. We saw the drink on most menus of any place we went. It is not only a thing in Germany, but it seems to be a popular thing.

I remained skeptical, but my friend decided to try one. I dared to try some of his. Believe it or not, it was amazingly good. The two complement each other very well. The beer mitigates the potential overbearingness of the carbonation and sweetness of the cola; the soda has a similar effect on the brew’s bitterness, adding a sweet and tanginess that goes well with it. I was stunned … for a moment, then I drank more.

This was not the only interesting experience with alcohol.

It may come as no surprise that Germans do not put ice in their drinks like we do. This equates to quite a rarity of finding iced coffee anywhere. Of course, this doesn’t stop one from pouring hot coffee over ice, but I digress. There was a great little bar/lounge in one of the hotels we stayed in Frankfurt. The bartenders were accomplished mixologists, and I enjoyed just watching them ply their craft. I also noticed an iced coffee on the menu, so I ordered it. I don’t even recall what all went into the making, but it took a bit of time and presentation, and then voila, I had an exceptional iced coffee.

But it needed more.

So I mentioned adding some liquor.

The bartender got excited and said something along the lines of “Oh, yes. Dark rum.”

Wait a minute. Dark rum … in coffee? I suggested Bailey’s, and he countered that was boring. I was running along a mental list of things I have had in coffee that were good. He was resigned to give me what I wanted, but he was pushing the dark rum. There happened to be an American woman in the bar, too, and she and I had been talking. She heartily recommended the same, so I decided to give in. What the hell? It’s a vacation, right? An adventure.

Dark rum in coffee is amazing.

I cannot consider myself an expert on Germany just because I went there for two weeks, but I suspect the Germans don’t have the same idea of “spicy” as we do here in Texas. Currywurst is fairly popular in Germany. I like curry. I like German sausage. So, I wanted to give this a try.

We found a place in Nuremberg, and once they realized we were travelers from America, they were eager to please. They gave us two orders of the wurst and samplings of all six dipping sauces for the pommes frites. The woman behind the counter explained to me several times that this plate had the less spicy, more tangy option, and that plate was very spicy, so be careful.

The flavors were good. The food was good. It was not spicy.

Later on, we were having some drinks at a small rock pub (that was actually the name), and we got to talking with the locals about the lack of spice. They agreed, and then one guy brought up Mexicano shots. This left us suitably perplexed and curious, and after a quick exchange in German with the bartender, she ran off to fetch a round for all of us. The guy who ordered tried to explain that it was a sort of pre-mixed liquor concoction that was tomato-based and very spicy. Okay, we’ll see.

The shots arrived, and we all gave a cheers and downed them. The drink tasted like a Bloody Mary, and wow it was, indeed, spicy.

All in all, a wonderful exploration of different drinks, and I wholeheartedly encourage trying any of them. Danke schön, Deutschland!

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