Vegan Mofo: BEER ‘Round the World

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It’s Friday! That means it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!

While I drank my share of white wine spritzers in Europe, the beverage that has been the most constant throughout Europe and Asia is of course… beer.

 

Mid-afternoon pint in London: the best time for beer

Mid-afternoon pint in London: the best time for beer

Good ol’ beer. Fitting, considering I spent 7 years working at a brewpub. I drank Amstel in Holland, cider in London, Tiger beer in Vietnam and Lao Beer in Laos. Beer is typically the cheapest adult beverage (in some countries even more affordable than water), and readily available almost everywhere.

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I think my favorite beer drinking happened in The Netherlands, where pubs offer two sizes and offer complimentary nuts and snacky treats with every pint. Or else in Laos (where I currently am), because Beer Lao is everywhere and better than I thought it might be. Or else London, because I love cider probably a little bit more than beer. Or, well, okay. I’ve loved them all.

 

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Vegan Mofo: The Bottled Aperol Spritz

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Cheers! Welcome to Friday’s installment of It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.

 On the roster this week is the Aperol Spritz.

Aperol is a lovely bright red liqueur, a slightly sweeter version of bitter Campari. It still has that mouth-puckering polarizing love-it-or-hate-it bitterness of Campari, but is more palatable to some tastebuds. I love both, and one of my favorite Aperol cocktails is the Aperol Spritz.

 

The Aperol Spritz is a blend of sparkling wine, Aperol, a splash of soda water and a slice of orange. Perfectly refreshing on a summer day(, fall day, spring day, or winter day).

 

When I arrived in The Netherlands, I noticed that grocery stores carried 4-packs of readymade Aperol Spritz bottles. My lucky day. Lucky country. Whatever.

 Bites from Abroad

I sampled them at my friend Mireilla’s birthday potluck. While not as fresh and effervescent of a freshly prepared Aperol Spritz cocktail, these bottles still had that sparkly sweet/bitter taste that I love. If this were readily available in the States, I would definitely pick these up from time to time. In addition to being an easy summer sipper, they’re just so adorable.

bites from abroad

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The White Wine Spritzer, an Ode

 

All the ladies who enjoy white wine spritzers, put your hands up!!!

 

Oh. It’s just you middle-aged moms and me huh? Well ladies, I think we’re on to something.
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As is a well-documented fact (it will be the number one item on my Wikipedia page when I get one), I love anything with bubbles. Any beverage that is slightly effervescent or even offensively carbonated automatically heads to the front of my classroom. The number one fave is sparkling wine. Cava, Champagne, Prosecco;  if it’s bubbly and served in a flute, I’m thrilled.  But give me a mineral  water, tonic water or soda water and I’m so much more content than with boring old flat tap water. Kombucha? OK!  Beer? Sure. My greatest dream is to own a Soda Stream where I can carbonate everything I drink all the time. Bubbly coffee. Bubbly tea. Bubbly green smoothies. You name it, I’ll bubble it.

 

When I arrived in Vienna, Austria, my first stop in Eastern Europe, I noticed spritzers frequently on bar menus. Bubbly Wine. ALRIGHT.

 

Throughout the rest of my travels in Eastern Europe—Brno, Bratislava, Budapest, Novi Sad and Budva–I saw with alternating popularity white wine spritzers offered at cafes and bars. This is a trend I can get used to. If you’re still gently mocking me in your mind (fair; I have the taste bud attention span of a child), I give you my top three reason for drinking white wine spritzers while traveling:
1. Spritzers are cheap. Half soda water (or 7-Up if you’re feeling sweet) and half wine equals half the price of a glass of wine, which is already affordable in Eastern Europe  (I’ve seen glasses priced on average under $2, and generally no more than $4). At one place in Novi Sad, the waiter asked me the percentage of wine to mineral water that I wanted. Of course I said more wine than water–OF COURSE–but it’s even then it’s still wicked cheap. This is a great reason to drink spritzers when you’re backpacking through Europe and every euro counts. (Note: as this is a food, drink and travel blog, I’m clearly not going to travel through Europe and NOT drink, so hush that thought right now.)

 

2. Spritzers are ubiquitous. They  are actually listed on the menus! People drink them! It’s a real-live honest-to-goodness drink, it’s not a made up mom drink, like in the States. It’s legit. And you know what they say: When in Vienna… (or in Brno, or in Budva, etc…..)

 

3. Spritzers are safe. As a solo female traveler, I do want to be careful about how much I drink. And I do like to drink. So a watered down glass of wine? Can’t get much less alcohol than that. I’ll take three, please.

 

So next time you come traveling with me, or on your badass solo trip, think about these three great reasons for the white wine spritzer and don’t feel embarrassed ordering one. A round of spritzers for everyone!