Tips for thirsty Germany-travellers

When thirsty in Germany, the ‘In-the-Know’ traveller orders beer in the north and south of the country and wine in the Palatinate region, right? Wrong. If you want to look like you are a native, you might ask for a Schorle, a Spritzer, a Radler, a Spezi or a Berliner Weisse instead. (Berliner Weisse only in the capital, of course.) All of these beverages are mixed drinks, contain fewer calories and less alcohol than their more intoxicating cousins, and are popular alternatives to straight beer and wine.

Schorle – an alternative for the thirsty

A Schorle, also called a Spritzer, is a mixed drink of half fruit juice or wine and half carbonated mineral water or soda. There are two varieties of this beverage: the Saftschorle (fruit juice) and the Weinschorle or Spritzer (Wine). The Saftschorle comes as a Suesse (sweet)or a Saure (sour) Schorle. The sweet variety is mixed with lemon soda; the sour one is combined with sparkling mineral water. The most popular Schorle in Germany is the Apfelschorle, which is made from apple juice and carbonated mineral water. The Weinschorle or Spritzer is a mixed drink consisting of wine and carbonated sparking water. Spritzer comes from the German word “spritzen,” meaning, “to squirt.”

Radler, Spezi, or Berliner Weisse as alternatives

But if neither Schorle appeals to you, there are other options. Try a Radler, a Spezi, or a Berliner Weisse. A Radler is the result of mixing beer with lemonade. A Spezi consists of Coke and Orange Fanta. And a cooling Berliner Weisse is achieved when raspberry or woodruff syrup are mixed with wheat beer. Raspberry syrup makes for a red Berliner Weisse; woodruff syrup (Waldmeister) for a green drink. Both are popular summertime beverages in Berlin and are typically served in bowl-shaped glasses. Berliner Weisse dates back to the 16th century and has about 3% alcohol. Rumor has it that Napoleon dubbed the drink the “Champagne of the North.” Now you know. If you find yourself thirsty in Germany, don’t limit yourself to beer and wine. Try their less alcoholic cousins.

Red and Green Berliner Weisse - a popular beverage for the thirsty

Red and Green Berliner Weisse a popular beverage for the thirsty



For a sneak peek at the first 20+ pages of my memoir, Walled-In: A West Berlin Girl’s Journey to Freedom, click “Download a free excerpt” on the home page of Walled-In is a story of growing up in Berlin during the Cold War.


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