Five Great Drinks And Countries That Make Them

Many countries have a beverage associated with them.  Here are five great spirits or cocktails and the countries that make them. * Sake and Japan: Although many Americans associate Japan with sushi, the growing popularity of sake in the United States is giving spicy tuna rolls some competition. Brewed from rice, sake is made in a complex fermentation process. Along with yeast, a special mold called koji transforms mashed rice into alcohol. Complex fruit flavors and a smooth taste make sake a great alternative to wine or beer at dinner.

* Aquavit and Sweden: Aquavit is one of my favorite drinks. Produced all across Scandinavia, aquavit is usually made from potatoes or grain. Typically, aquavit is flavored with caraway seeds, but it can be flavored with anything. Check out my citrus infused vodka recipe for an aquavit-style drink you can make at home.

* Sangria and Spain: As winter turns into spring, sangria will once again begin appearing on restaurant menus and at dinner parties. Originally from Spain, sangria is made with red wine, fruit, juice, spices, and sometimes a stronger spirit. While Americans mainly drink sangria in spring and summer, in some parts of Spain sangria is consumed all year. I like to offer my guests sangria as soon as the weather turns warm.

* Schnapps and Austria: But while temperatures remain below freezing, Austrian schnapps are a wonderful after dinner drink. Usually made from fruit juice, the different type of fruit used determines the overall taste, ranging from peach to cherry. With a high alcohol content and intense taste, schnapps are perfect for February sipping.

* Dark 'n' Stormy and Bermuda: To remember summer breezes on dark winter nights, try my Dark 'n' Stormy recipe. Originally from Bermuda, the drink is made of rum and ginger beer. With so many unique rums and ginger beers available in American supermarkets, it's possible to make a spectacular Dark 'n' Stormy at home.

What are your favorite drinks from around the world?