The Austrian region Tyrol is most famous for its winter sports and ski resorts in winter and its hiking and cycling trails in summer. The idyllic mountain sights and landscapes of thick forest and ‘Almenland’, the traditional summer farms where cattle and sheep are kept in meadows above the tree line. However there’s a third type of tourism possible in these mountainous lands: alcohol tourism. And we’re not just talking about the large pints of beer the Austrians like to knock back, often from early in the morning.
Tyrol actually has a lot more to offer when it comes to alcoholic beverages. The region has some very decent beers and wines, but everyone knows that a Tyroler party is not complete without at least some sort of schnaps. We selected seven types, so be sure to try them whenever you’re around.
The most common distilled drink you will find in Tyrol is called Obstler. The word Obst is German for fruit. So yes you guessed it: Obstler can be made from any kind of fruit possible. Pear, apple, cherry, plum, apricot, peach, raspberry, blackcurrant are all popular ingredients for Obstler. One could play a ‘try-them-all-in-one-night-game’, but that could be a risky game for the unexperienced drinker.
Maybe even more than the classic Edelweiss flower, the gentian is a symbol of the Tyroler mountains. Most kinds are small and very blue, but there’s also a large yellow type. The roots of this plant are not only the favorite food of Murmeltieren (marmots), but can also be used to distill liquor. Since the plant is protected in the wild, there are special fields planted just to make Gentian schnapps. Gentians are also known to be an antidote to various poisons.
This drink, that also goes by the name Zirbenschnaps is made from fresh cones from the Zirbe tree, in English also known as the Swiss stone pine or Austrian stone pine. The drink is extremely refreshing, as you are basically drinking a part of forest after the rain mixed with a decent amount of alcohol. Guaranteed to make you feel quite Christmassy.
This drink named after a weed called Meisterwurz (masterwort in English) is said to cure all physical discomfort. That’s probably the reason why a plant that can easily be found on the side of the road was given a honorable name like ‘master root’. For hundreds of years Meisterwurz has been used as a medicine against asthma and epileptic attacks. And even if you don’t believe in it’s healing powers, it can’t hurt to try, since it’s a pretty tasty drink too.
Unlike most clear distilled drinks Krautinger is not made from potatoes or grain, but white beet or turnip. The spirit is a product from the Wildschönau region ever since emperess Maria Theresia gave poor local farmers the exclusive rights to production halfway the 18th century. Locals claim Krautinger is an effective medicine for those who suffer from a stomach ache.
The berries known as Vogelbeere (literally bird berries in German) or rowan in English are not meant for eating. The taste is too bitter and most stomachs don’t react well on them. However, when turned into a spirit, the case is completely different. True, it does require a distinguished taste, but once you get the hang of this drink, you’ll want nothing else. Like many of the other drinks in this post Vogelbeerschnaps is believed to have healing powers, especially when someone has the flu or a cold. Unfortunately Vogelbeerschnaps isn’t cheap as it takes 50 kilograms of berries to produce a single liter.
Our seventh and final drink is also praised as a medicine. Waldmeister can be used to cure headaches, tummy aches and skin problems. The drink is named after the Waldmeister plant, which is known as sweetscented bedstraw in English. You are not likely to find Waldmeister in most Tyroler bars, however the drink is quite popular among home distillers.
If you liked this post, check out: 10 Alcoholic drinks to replace the pills in your medicine cabinet
4 thoughts on “7 boozy treats you must try in Tyrol”
You have to appreciate a guy who always gets his drink. A few I’d not heard of but love a fiery Schnapps.
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Yeah, some can be difficult to get your hands on. But Meisterwurz and homemade Zirbeler for example are pretty common in most places.
Strangely, my first thought was, ‘Which would Krampus drink?’
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Probably all of them. And lots of all of course! 😉