Switzerland has almost as many winter drinks as it has snow-covered mountains.
Even though the Swiss might not have a reputation for drinking a lot, a rich drinking tradition continues throughout the land at the heart of Europe. After all, one of the world's most famous spirits, absinthe, originated in French speaking Switzerland.
Swiss farmers make spirits with every possible fruit (and even hay) on their farms. You can find coffee spiked with all sorts of Schnaps in almost every restaurant. If you live outside Switzerland you might not know that the Swiss make some truly excellent wine. That's because nearly all of their wine is consumed within Switzerland – less than 3 percent makes it out of the country!
To update your knowledge of Swiss drinks, we have collected a few winter warmers for you to try. Whether you drink them for après-ski, or you skip the skiing altogether, these warm, spirited concoctions are bound to warm your belly. So let's raise a glass and drink like the Swiss.
Proscht! Santé! Salute!
Flämmli Winter Drink
This is a boozy coffee, set aflame! A poorly orchestrated one might split your cup clean in half.
Here's how to avoid this: Make an espresso, add 2 tbsp sugar or 2 sugar cubes. Do not stir! Drink the espresso, but make sure you leave the sugar at the bottom of the cup. Add a shot of Williams.
Take a bit of booze out with your spoon – and light it on fire! Tip the booze back into the cup, it will still burn. Use the spoon to lift the sugar into the flame to let it caramelize. Put out the flame with the saucer or your flat palm. Let cool, then enjoy!
Mix one part coffee and one part Zwetschgen schnaps. Add a generous amount of whipped cream – and enjoy!
Mix two parts Zwetschgen schnaps with one part rosehip tea. Add a sugar cube and your Holdrio is good to go!
Mix one part coffee, abricotine, träsch (spirit distilled from apples and pears), and Zwetschgen schnaps each.
It is in Basel where Hypokras, festive spiced wine, is most beloved today. The locals love it so much, they will even temporarily pour Hypokras from the Dreizackbrunnen fountain on New Year's Day! With a glass in one hand and a Basler Läckerli in the other, it is the perfect way to start the year off right.
Gather the following ingredients and place them in a large pot. Warm it up over medium heat, but avoid to boil it.
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 50 g sugar
- 3 cloves
- 3 slices of ginger
- 2 lemons, sliced
- 1 cup of black tea
- 3 oranges, sliced
- A bottle of white wine
- A bottle of red wine
This is a wonderful alternative for children who can't drink the heady and alcoholic Glühwein oft he Christmas season – though you can always use boozy cider if the occasion demands.
You will need these ingredients:
- 2 oranges
- 1 lemon
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- A nub of ginger, peeled and sliced
- 4 cloves
- 2 star anise
- 1 vanilla bean, sliced open
- 1 liter of Süssmost (clear apple juice)
With a vegetable peeler, peel off a few thin sections of rind. Juice the lemon and the oranges and add them to the pot. Add the rest of the ingredients. Warm over medium heat, but avoid boiling. Serve warm.
Nocino is a bittersweet liqueur made from green walnuts. It is particularly enjoyed in Ticino, although it is not unique to that region. Stunningly, there is a possibility that Nocino has been produced in Ticino monasteries since the 1500's!
Add the following to a mug, then fill it up with hot water or tea:
- 1 part Nocino
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Juice of half a lemon
For nearly 100 Swiss winter drink recipes, consider the book "Drink like the Swiss":
Drink like the Swiss (berglibooks.ch)
English, 96 pages
Dimitri loves discovering new trends and covers architecture, design, start-ups and tourism.
Latest posts by Dimitri Burkhard (see all)
- Hotel Atlantis by Giardino is an urban retreat in Zürich - February 11, 2019
- Truly stunning: the most unique hotels in Switzerland! - February 8, 2019
- 7 Swiss winter drinks you need to try (recipes inside!) - February 6, 2019