Cool German Drinks – The Suburban Times
Finally, summer seems to have decided to appear – just in time with the summer solstice. And, of course, after a winter and spring that lasted a seeming eternity, the abrupt change in weather leaves us breathless for what we just left behind: cool and wet. Not necessarily outside, but inside. As an ethnic German I grew up with quite a few great options, some of which you might like to try over the next hopefully warm summer months.
Let me guess what comes to mind first when I ask you to name a German cold drink. Beer – right? I will play though it would probably be my last choice as a refreshing drink on a hot summer day (nights can be different). But I haven’t finished placing a slice of lemon in a glass of Hefeweizen. One of my favorites is what is known in the English-speaking world as a cooler and what a German would call – depending on the region – a Radler (“cyclist”) or an Alsterwasser, a mixture of equal amounts of beer and lemon soda. If you prefer to mix it with Coke, it becomes a so-called Diesel. Mix raspberry or sweet woodruff syrup with beer, and it becomes a “Weiße mit Schuss” (white beer with a shot). Basically, the sky is the limit. Some people even like banana juice in their Weizen beer. Personally, I wouldn’t go that far!
What is less known here in the United States is that Germany has very good wine regions that produce excellent red and white wines. A Schorle sour wine is a blend of wine with sparkling mineral water; mixed with lemon soda it becomes a syrupy Schorle. It works with red or white wine; it is similar to a Spritzer, but always freshly blended and generally cannot be purchased bottled or canned.
The term “Schorle” also applies to any mixture of fruit juice and soda. On its own, it’s an incredibly versatile mixer when you also think of long drinks for a 4th of July party. One day my husband gave me a soda maker, exactly the one I had in Germany. The fun thing is you never run out of bubbles because our (filtered) tap water is great tasting here at Lakewood. And it saves you from lugging heavy bottles home from the store or throwing away empty ones. A very ecological way to have your “sodas” without sodium at home.
Iced coffee is probably the classiest non-alcoholic classic among German cold drinks. Place a generous scoop or two of vanilla ice cream in a tall glass, fill with lightly sweetened cold black coffee, top with whipped cream (if you can help it, use the real deal), a wafer and some grated chocolate – delicious! Of course, it’s kind of a meal – so you’ll find it fine instead of having a traditional coffee and cake.
As a child, of course, none of these choices were made for me. Not even Schorles juice because of the amount of sugar juices usually contain. Even today, I mix juices with four parts sparkling water! Back then it was warm or cooled herbal teas for me – rosehip or peppermint. Later I discovered other herbal blends and fennel cold tea.
So if you want to try something out of the ordinary, why not opt for some of these cool German drinks this summer?! You might experiment with blends yourself – and find that you’ve created your own new favorite!