Germany has many different favorite summer drink combinations to quench the strongest of thirsts during the warmest months of the year, some have become year rounders while others are regional favorites.
Probably the most popular of the summer coolers containing alcohol is Fruchtbowle, which is simply that, a fruit bowl, from wherever in Germany it comes. A colorful bowl of punch made from sliced ripe fruit, and not only attractive but delicious.
A typical fruit punch recipe uses two pounds of fruit to four bottles of wine, two of which should be sparkling. The more neutral the flavor of the fruit then the more neutral the wine should be.
Early in the season the punch is made with prepared strawberries, which fit to Rosé perfectly, and this changes as the other fruits become available.
Peaches and pineapple are a great combination in a fruit punch.
Sugar is added to taste, to that quantity of fruit about 1 cup usually, lots of bruised mint leaves, (bruising herbs releases their flavor and aroma), together with small pieces of lemon or lime, the mixture is covered with vodka or schnapps, (a strong, clear, lightly fruit flavored brandy), stirred through and then marinated, preferably overnight.
Ice cubes can be made with small pieces of fruit frozen in the tray with a little water.
Just before serving this fruit and alcohol combination is added to a large ice filled bowl, topped up with the four bottles of cold, not too dry, wines.....and enjoyed.
Schottische Limonade is also popular on warm days and a real thirst quencher, but, although it is literally translated as "Scottish Lemonade", it has neither any connection with Scotland nor is it a lemonade, which is a lemon flavored carbonated drink, but basically a herb and fruit tea.
For that you need:
2 pints of mint tea. Brewed with bruised and chopped fresh mint and allowed to cool.
2 pints of fruit juice. Apple juice, black currant, or cherry for example.
Strain the tea and mix with the chosen fruit juice.
Serve chilled with ice cubes made from fruit juice and a slice of lemon.
While one part Elderflower Cordial with two parts sparkling mineral water and lots of ice, is a staple 'any time of the day' summer drink in many German homes.
And Spezi is a cult drink among the young. It can be bought ready made under various brand names, but most prefer to make their own Spezi as it is a one to one mix of Coke and carbonated orange drink, orange soda for example, always served chilled and with or without the addition of ice cubes. A 'healthier' variation is made from coke mixed 1:1 with pure orange juice.
Some 'grown-ups' add a shot of vodka and a slice of lemon to the mix.
Of course there is also a Coke or Spezi Float, an ice cream drink. A scoop of ice, usually vanilla but it can be any flavor, in a glass which is then topped up with whatever coke variety is either a favorite or just available, swizzled with a spoon to make a frothy topping and drunk through a straw.
Beer mixed with lemonade, Radler, called "bike-rider" because it was supposedly invented for cyclists in Bavaria, is very refreshing on a hot summer day, and is to be found throughout the country now, while the Cologne area has Koelsch-Cola which is half the local beer, Kölsch, and half Coca-Cola.
Fruit or wine Schorle or Spritzers are to be found in every cafe and bar as well as at home, and are probably the most popular of the refreshing 'every day' drinks during the summer.
Wine recipes for red or white wine spritzers, are 1:1 combinations of:
Wine with mineral water, which is a "Weinschorle"
Wine with soda, is "suesse Weinschorle"
and wine with cola, "Cola-Schoppen".
While a fruit spritzer, "Saftschorle" or "Fruchtsaftschorle", uses a higher proportion of carbonated mineral water but it is "to taste", and the most popular is the one made with pure apple juice, an icy "Apfelschorle", which not only cools but fizzes with flavor. Although Rhabarbersaftschorle, with Rhubarb juice, is increasingly trendy.
It is possible to buy all types of Schorle ready mixed, but they are very easy to make and the taste and quality is much better. In fact one set of tests on various brands of apple spritzer resulted in low ratings for virtually all of them, and for one the comment was that its aroma resembled shampoo with an apple fragrance.
Just some of the refreshing drinks that are enjoyed every summer throughout Germany, everywhere from the back porch and beach to the beer garden, and which are worth trying anywhere in the world.
PROST !..........and enjoy your excursion into the world of Germany's favorite summer drinks
Photo credits: Fruit punch Politikaner, and Apfelschorle via alchetron