You can drink your way through just about any destination, but why not learn how to make your favorite beverages while traveling or, better yet, how to properly consume them? In Ireland, you can learn what it takes to pour a proper pint of Guinness, and in South Africa, you can go on a wine safari (maybe you’ll spot wildlife, maybe you’ll be too inebriated…).
Read on to discover incredible drink experiences to try on your next trip.
1. Visit a Tea Estate in Darjeeling
Perhaps the most famous tea estate in India is Glenburn Tea Estate & Boutique Hotel, an intimate retreat in the Himalayas. The tea company was established in 1859, and has since expanded into a full vacation destination where travelers stay in bungalows and immerse themselves in what’s called the Tea Experience. The program, available in half- or full-day sessions, includes a visit to the tea fields and factory, where the entire production process is demonstrated. Of course, the tour ends with tastings, when visitors will discover the difference in aromas and flavors among various types of tea.
2. Brew Your Own Beer
You can drink beer in Prague … or you can brew beer in Prague. Better yet, you can make the beer in an intimate restaurant and microbrewery (the country’s smallest), U Medvidku, which dates back to the 15th century. Plan to spend a day at the brewery, as the process lasts nine hours. Afterward, you’ll be able to take home a light lager, a semi-dark beer or, if you’re bold, the strongest lager in the world (12.6 percent alcohol).
3. Visit a Working Coffee Farm
If you like coffee (heck, even if you don’t), don’t pass up a coffee tour in Costa Rica. The Classic Britt Coffee Tour, offered by Anywhere Costa Rica, takes coffee connoisseurs to a working farm where they learn about the production process, from seed to cup, before sampling coffee at a roastery. Anywhere Costa Rica also offers other coffee tours, including one that teaches travelers about the production of sugar cane and chocolate.
4. Sample Russian Vodkas
In America, we typically consume vodka in cocktails. In Russia, there’s only way to drink vodka: straight. Drink like a local with a vodka-tasting menu, offered at many bars, or visit the Museum of Russian Vodka in St. Petersburg for a more immersive experience. You’ll learn about the potent drink’s history in Russia (via an audio guide) before enjoying a selection of vodkas and appetizers.
5. Take a Wine Safari
In South Africa, travelers can embark on a wine safari — dubbed the Big Five Wine Safari — courtesy of Warwick Wine Estate. Travelers ride in traditional safari vehicles, which take them to various parts of the sprawling estate. While you won’t likely spot wildlife on this safari, you’ll definitely get up close and personal with the Big Five: Cabarnet Franc, Cabarnet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinotage and Merlot.
6. Sip Gluhwein Along the Rhine
We say Germany; most say beer. While the beer alone is worth a visit, there’s another drink that shouldn’t be missed: gluhwein. This hot beverage, a combination of wine and spices, is served at holiday markets and ski resorts in the wintertime. Don’t limit the sweet concoction to just one market though; plan a cruise along the Rhine River to sample the drink and other treats in Nuremberg, where one of the country’s oldest and biggest markets is hosted, or Cologne, where the festival’s backdrop is the Cologne Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
7. Taste Peruvian Hot Chocolate
There’s hot chocolate, and then there’s Peruvian hot chocolate — and once you’ve had the latter, you won’t want anything else. You can sample it at many restaurants, though one of the best places to try it is ChocoMuseo (yes, a museum dedicated to chocolate), which has four locations in Peru: Miraflores (Lima), Barranco (Lima), Cuzco and Ollantaytambo. You can make your own chocolate candies from bean to bar, along with the famously creamy chocolate drink. Afterward, sample more treats in the museum’s cafe.
8. Discover the Pina Colada’s Birthplace
The Caribe Hilton in San Juan says it invented the pina colada, the national drink of Puerto Rico. So does a restaurant called Barrachina, just a few miles away. Several other establishments have tried to make the same claim to fame too. The only way to determine who’s right is to visit all of the suspected locations, sample their versions and ask the bartenders for their take on the long-debated story. Just remember to write it all down or you may forget after a drink or two….
9. Pour a Proper Pint of Guinness
Every visitor to Dublin knows you can tour the Guinness Storehouse, enjoying mini-samples before a larger one that pairs well with a 360-degree view of the city at the top. But we bet you didn’t you know you can also learn how to properly pour a pint of the famously frothy beer. The brewery features a Pour Your Own Pint Bar, where visitors discover the six-step process to a perfect pour. Bonus: If you opt for the experience, you’ll avoid crowds and long waits for tables.
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–written by Amanda Geronikos Norcross