Unusual drinks Germans think are absolutely normal

10 unusual drinks Germans think are absolutely normal

Apfelschorle

Sparkling water added to apple juice, or any other juice: All Germans know this as the "Schorle." It's a popular and widespread drink in the country, yet any translators' discussion forum will show there's not even an established term to describe it when abroad. You might say apple spritzer in the US, but you're better off calling it "apple juice mixed with sparkling water" to make things clear.

10 unusual drinks Germans think are absolutely normal

Berliner Weisse mit Schuss

Germany is the country of the Beer Purity Law, so you'd expect all Germans to be purists with their brew. Yet the Berliner Weisse, a cloudy, sour white beer with around three percent alcohol by volume, is traditionally served mixed with syrup — either raspberry ("Himbeer") or woodruff ("Waldmeister") — giving it a bright red or green color. The mix is now even available in bottles.

10 unusual drinks Germans think are absolutely normal

Radler

Beer-based mixed drinks are popular in Germany. A beer mixed with a lemon-lime soda is called a "Radler," which is also the word for a cyclist. Many bike riders prefer this beverage to a beer when they take a break on their Sunday afternoon bicycle tour. Different English-speaking countries know this mix as a shandy, but you'll probably get puzzled looks if you try to order one in the US.

10 unusual drinks Germans think are absolutely normal

Bananenweizen

This combination is definitely not as common as the Radler, but you won't get an "are you crazy?" reaction if you order it in Germany: Bananenweizen is made by topping a wheat beer with banana juice.

10 unusual drinks Germans think are absolutely normal

Diesel

The Urban Dictionary defines a diesel beer as a real "hardcore beer." In Germany, it's rather the name of another mix that sweetens a beer and lowers its alcohol percentage: half of it is cola. Depending on the region, other names for the coke-beer mix include Colabier, Mazout, Kalter Kaffee (cold coffee), Moorwasser (moor water), Schmutziges (dirty) or Krefelder (inhabitant of the city Krefeld).

10 unusual drinks Germans think are absolutely normal

Spezi

While we're on the case of cola, Germans will all agree on the name of this classic soft drink: the Spezi. It's a mix of cola and orange soda that appeared on the market shortly after World War II. While the brewery Brauhaus Riegele in Augsburg owns the "Spezi" trademark, hoping to monopolize the use of the name, Spezi has nevertheless remained the generic term to design any cola-orange mix.

10 unusual drinks Germans think are absolutely normal

Club-Mate

It became the iconic drink of Berlin clubbers and computer hackers over the last decades, but the caffeinated carbonated beverage was invented in 1924 by a Bavarian beverage producer. It was called Sekt-Bronte until the Loscher Brewery acquired the license in 1994 and started marketing it as Club-Mate. The caffeine comes from yerba mate, a plant traditionally used in South America for tea.

10 unusual drinks Germans think are absolutely normal

KiBa

KiBa? It's not uncommon to see the drink listed on a restaurant menu, but you won't find its definition in a German dictionary. Still, most people in the country will know that it's a mix of cherry ("Kirsche") and banana ("Banane") juice. Germans love to create abbreviations using the first syllable of each word.

10 unusual drinks Germans think are absolutely normal

Sauerkraut juice

The liquid that is removed from sauerkraut — fermented cabbage — and processed into a juice form is known as an ancient miracle cure. Even though it is not a massively popular drink among Germans, it is inexplicably available in all types of stores, not only in organic markets, but also in health and beauty retailers and discounter chains.

10 unusual drinks Germans think are absolutely normal

Muckefuck

It's the fantastic name of a coffee substitute made from barley malt. Different theories circulate to explain the origins of the word. One claimed that it derived from the French "mocca faux" (fake mocca) — but that has been meanwhile rejected. Another explanation comes from the Rhenish dialect, where "Mucken" means brown dusty earth and "fuck" is lazy. The term is also used for very weak coffee.

Apfelschorle? Every child in Germany knows what it is, but translators and lifestyle bloggers are challenged when trying to explain that to the rest of the world. Here's more on the drinks Germans take for granted.

"What the Heck is Apfelschorle? And Here's How to Make It" is the title of an article written by a US blogger. He is not the only one who has attempted to unravel the mystery of this "delightful concoction," as the author enthusiastically describes it.

Admittedly, such lifestyle blogs have a tendency to make a big juicy story out of things almost too simple to write about. There's no big secret behind the drink all Germans know: An Apfelschorle is apple juice mixed with sparkling mineral water.

While the apple variation is the most common, a Schorle — or spritzer if you want an English term (although even translators struggle to agree on an official term in English) — can be made by adding sparkling water to any juice.

People are obviously free to mix their beverages the way they want at home, but for commercial versions, Germany has special regulations on how to label fruit and soft drinks, determined by the "Fruchtsaft- und Erfrischungsgetränkeverordnung," also officially abbreviated as "FrSaftErfrischGetrV" — more on Germany's spectacular art of the abbreviation another time.

Culture | 09.05.2018

Read more: Tasty or disgusting? Sculptures of raw meat and other weird German foods

Mineral water enthusiasts

Whether mixed with juice or pure, mineral water is extremely popular in Germany.

Even though the country's tap water is one of the safest and best-tasting in Europe, many Germans prefer the bottled version. While some people believe in the health benefits of its minerals, others simply enjoy the taste of sparkling water — of which there are two types: strongly carbonated, known as "classic," or that with reduced carbon dioxide, "medium." Water without fizz has a recognizable name in German: "stilles Wasser" or still water.

Read more: Survival guide to German supermarkets

Germans love their bottled water

Every inhabitant of the country drinks an average 150.5 liters of mineral water per year, according to a 2018 report by the association Deutscher Mineralbrunnen e.V. It however only became a widespread habit fairly recently; in 1970, that average was only 12.5 liters per person.

A law determining standards for mineral water throughout Europe was introduced in 1980. Since it wasn't as strict as previous regulations in Germany, it allowed new providers to hit the market. With countless brands of bottled water to choose from, mineral water was no longer a luxury product.

Related Subjects

By the beginning of the 2000s, lighter plastic bottles were also introduced and German discount supermarket chains starting selling their bottled water for a few cents a pop, accounting for another boom in popularity.

The deposit ("Pfand") on the bottle is actually more expensive than the water itself. That's why queueing at the reverse vending machine ("Pfandautomat") to return empty bottles for a refund became another widespread German hobby.