Maraschino and Other Popular Drinks in Dalmatia
There’s nothing better than to spend a morning in a bar with an open terrace, sipping coffee, enjoying the sun, killing time in a completely relaxed mode. One of the first things visitors notice about Croatians is that they like their bars. It doesn’t mean that they are hopeless drunkards, but rather that they like to spend time in carefree chit-chat over a drink (or two). When on holiday in Dalmatia, embrace the ‘eat, drink and be merry’ motto and the great time is guaranteed. Here are some of the most popular drinks in Zadar and Croatia in general.
Maraschino is a type of sweet and aromatic liqueur made of marasca cherries, grown in Dalmatia. It’s one of the world-famous Croatian products with tradition dating back to the 16th century, when the pharmacists of the Dominican monastery in Zadar started producing a herbal liqueur which they perfected with time with marasca cherry as the main ingredient, hence the name. The ‘king of the liqueurs’, as it is often referred to, used to be the favourite drink at the royal courts throughout Europe and it was enjoyed by many historical figures and authors such as Ernest Hemingway, Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, to name but a few. The 32% of alcohol content may be too much for those with a low tolerance to alcohol, but they can always try a sip of a cocktail or taste a piece of cake that contain Maraschino, just to get the idea. Since it originates from the Zadar region, it’s an excellent souvenir and an absolute must-try.
In good spirits
Maraschino is by no means the only great liquid souvenir to take home with. Maraska, the company that produces the famous liqueur, also has a variety of non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks, another excellent option being medica, or honey-based rakija, where rakija refers to one of the most popular brandy-like drinks in Croatia and neighbouring countries. It’s exceptionally easy to come across homemade rakijas which are particularly strong, so be careful when downing shots with your hosts - you might get hammered, big time and quickly. Rakija comes with a variety of flavours with different names reflecting the main ingredient: šljivovica contains plum (Cro.šljiva), travarica herbs (Cro. trave), etc.
2 be(ers) or wine
Croatian wine, less renowned in the world than its Mediterranean counterparts but by no means worse, is an excellent choice to accompany typical Dalmatian dishes. Just like rakija, it’s easy to find homemade wine of different quality, but if it’s not to your liking, you can always ask for some water to make it milder. After all, Croatians love to mix their wine: gemišt (white wine with sparkling water), bambus (red wine with Coke) and bevanda (red wine with water), the latter being among the most favourite Dalmatian drinks. But, on a hot summer afternoon there’s nothing better than to sit in the shade counting the waves as they hit the shore with a glass of cool beer. If you want to go safe, you can get a variety of international beers, but why not do as the Croatians do and opt for a Croatian one, such as the popular Žuja (a nickname for Ožujsko) or Karlovačko…
Toast to …
you and your vivacious holiday! Holiday is a great time to fully relax, when you can be buzzed any day whether it’s because the place bedazzles you or the drinks are irresistible, and nurse your hangover or infatuation in the fresh air of the open terrace. So, cheers! Or even better, živjeli (‘zheev-yeh-lee’)!