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I’ve said it time and time again, but it is worth repeating. Yes. Germany is the land of free flowing beer. BUT, if you are not a beer fan or just want a break from the liquid bread, there are countless, fantastic, and delicious drinks from Germany (both with and without alcohol!) that you can enjoy.
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Drinking Laws in Germany
If you are traveling to Germany with kids or teens, the rules here in Germany for drinking are much different than what you are used to in the US. Obviously, this is a conversation and decision you can agree upon within your own family but there are also plenty of German drinks for kids to love as well!
- 14 Years Old – Adolescents 14 and over may drink beer and wine if with their legal guardian/ parent
- 16 Years Old– Adolescents 16+ may drink beer or wine with or without the presence of their parent/ guardian
- 18 Years Old – Young Adults over 18 may drink any alcoholic beverage, including spirits and hard alcohol.
German Non Alcoholic Drinks
Let’s start with some non alcoholic German drinks, since a lot of the ones WITH alcohol (below) we already know a lot about. After all, Germany drinks doesn’t have to be all about the bier!
What is the most popular drink in Germany? Shockingly, it is NOT beer! It is actually carbonated, or mineral water (Mineral Wasser), or as my kids like to call it, “Bubbly water”
Know that when you go to a restaurant, if you want a water, if you do not specify “still wasser” you will most likely get carbonated, which for many non-Europeans is an acquired taste.
The other thing to know is that even if you ask for “Still” or “Ohne gas” (without gas) water or even “Tap” water, you are going to get it bottled and it will cost you more than the beer on the menu.
This is also probably one of the most popular German drinks without alcohol besides water. It is half apple juice and half mineral water and everyone LOVES it! It is refreshing, not AS sugary as straight up apple juice and is the perfect summer sipper!
Tip: In the summer, be on the look for “Rhabarberschorle” which is similar to Apfelschorle, but instead of apple juice, they use fresh Rhubarb juice! It is the perfect summer nonalcoholic drink!
While it may not be up to the standards of somewhere like Italy, I actually think that German coffee is really good! Like most European countries, you’ll find coffee offered after pretty much every meal. Whether you are in a cafe or just at a restaurant, they will most likely have an espresso machine, which means you can enjoy a creamy and delicious Cappuccino, or my favorite, a Latte Macchiato
Our kids feel like they are having a fancy coffee with the grownups when we order them a “Kinder-Cino.” This is basically just frothed milk (usually with a little chocolate on the side, too!).
While most Germans can be found sipping coffees, tea in Germany is wildly popular (more so at home rather than out and about). Have a cold? A hangover? A belly ache? There’s a tea for that!!!
Germans LOVE tea, especially fruit and herbal teas. In fact, I remember when I had my first baby in Germany and when I needed to give him some medicine at only a few months old, they said to just “put it in with his tea”…..I was like What??? I’m supposed to be giving my 2 month old TEA!?
Just head to the local grocery store and you’ll find an overflowing aisle full of tea choices if you want to see what you can brew up yourself.
I often joke that Spezi is “diabetes in a bottle”….and oh so delicious!
Spezi is a half cola and half orange soda (typically Fanta) mixture. And while this is one of the popular German drinks for kids, don’t think you can’t get one for yourself! They are especially great when made fresh!!! You might also see them listed on a German drinks menu as:
- Mezzo Mix
- Cola Mix
KiBa (Kirsch Banane)
The German Kiba Drink (half Kirch (cherry juice) and half Banane (banana juice) is an almost smoothie like drink that is perfect for German summer days! When poured correctly, half the fun is watching the colors swirl and make a beautiful design in your cup!
German Non Alcoholic Beer
Plenty of places around the world are known for their beer, but only one created the “Purity” law, which I’ll discuss below in the “Beer” section, but basically, know that it is extremely strict rules to ensure the highest quality of beer produced.
Which means that if a brewery is following the “Reinheitsgebot” law, that even their non alcohol beers are going to be top notch!
Nowadays, there are plenty of reasons for avoiding alcohol. For example, if you are driving in Germany, even one beer can be enough to land you a HUGE fine, removal or your driver’s license, or worse. Luckily, all the major German beer brands have a line of alcohol free beers as well.
While you’ll only find this delicious warm, German drink in the winter, particularly at the Christmas Markets in Germany, Kinder Punsch is often called the Non-Alcoholic Glühwein that is so popular at all the Weihnactsmarkts. It’s a collection of various fruit juices all mulled together and slowly simmered to perfection. This is obviously a hit for kids to drink in Germany, but adults guzzle it down as well!
Alcoholic Germany Beverages
Let’s start with one of the (not so surprising) famous drinks in Germany; BEER!
I would need a completely separate, full blog post dedicated just to beer to cover all of the kinds of beer available in Germany. After all, there are supposedly over 7,000 varieties of beer here!
Now, living in Bavaria, I am a bit biased when it comes to beer. I’ve been brainwashed to believe that Bavarian beer is the best beer in Germany. But, it is for good reason!
As mentioned previously, it was here in Bavaria in the 1500s that they created the “Reinheitsgebot” or “Beer Purity Law” and to this day in Bavaria, they follow the strict rules that beer can only have 3 ingredients:
And while I’d love to go into specific brands of beer to try in Germany, I’ll just start with some of the most popular beer in Germany STYLES instead.
The word “hell” in German means “light” so a Helles Bier is going to be a light (pale) colored beer but fuller tasting than a lager.
A Dunkel German Beer is actually the first beer I came to like! Apposite of a “Helles”, Dunkel means “Dark.” This dark lager has all the perfect tastes: undernotes of chocolate, caramel, and has a smooth, malty flavor.
Tip: If you are in Bavaria in the spring time, look for the seasonal “Dopplebocks” which are a dark beer with alcohol levels upwards of 12%!)
This simple beer is a lager style and is actually the National Drink of Germany. This is what you’ll find in the brands like Bitburger or Heineken.
This is one of the more popular beers in Bavaria and is an unfiltered wheat beer with yeast. The German beer, “Wiehenstephaner”, is often considered the best wheat beer in Bavaria.
- Cola Weizen: Another take on the Weissbier is a “Cola Weizen” also known as a “Diesel Bier” which is half Cola and half Weissbier
What is the Most Popular Beer in Germany? Beck’s beer is reported to be the most popular
What is the Oldest Beer In Germany? Supposedly, the Weihenstephan brewery is the oldest brewery, and therefore beer, in Germany. However, the Weltenburg brewery is claimed to be the oldest monastic brewery in the world. If you are in Bavaria, I HIGHLY recommend the Weltenburg Barock Dunkel. It is heavenly!
What is the Best Beer in Germany: Well, let’s just say that with all the choices, you are just going to have to do some taste testing and decide for yourself! (Most of my answers are from small, local breweries in Bavaria. You’ll find different beers in different regions, even within Bavaria. It is a blast to go to a local grocery store or Getränk Markt (drink shop) and look for local breweries and give them a try!)
Radler (or Alsterwasser in the North)
What do Germans drink when they want a “lower alcohol” content beer? Why a Radler, of course!
While this could go under the category of “Beers in Germany” this is one of the most popular German drinks in the summertime and deserves its own accolade!
This German lemon beer is not what you might think at first glance. The description is half beer (often a “Helles” style) and half “Lemonade.” But in Germany, “Lemonade” is actually “Sprite!” So, in all reality, this refreshing take on a beer is actually part beer part soda and makes for perfect light tasting, alcoholic drinks for summer!
While Germany wines are often quickly glossed over compared to it’s beer brethren, they should definitely be noted (and tried!), especially when in the 13 different German wine regions!
German White Wines
Germany excels at white winemaking! It has the perfect climate and soils that help make perfectly acidic and fruity flavors of white wines. The most popular German white wine is the Riesling.
If you are looking for some white German wines that are hard to find elsewhere, here are some to be on the lookout for:
- Kerner Weißer
German Red Wines
While the red wines in Germany may not be as famous as its neighbors in France or Italy, there are definitely some really great ones that you need to try on your visit! And while the climate and soil here definitely lend itself to some fabulous sweet red German wines, there are plenty of varieties to try that are local.
- Dornfelder (This is my absolute favorite German red wine! Slightly sweet and perfect for sipping!)
German Ice Wine (Eiswein)
This sweet, dessert wine is very popular here around the first freeze of the year. The grapes are frozen while still on the vine, which concentrates the sugar in the grape juice. Despite being so high in sugar, the wines themselves don’t taste overpoweringly sweet. Since you have to have just the right conditions for the grapes to freeze on the vine before rotting, Eiswein is quite a specialty drink and also makes for a great German aperitif!
Glühwein (German Mulled Wine)
You simply can’t have Christmas in Germany without Gluhwein! This amazingly delicious winter wine that is typically made with a sweeter red wine and then mulled with the perfect blend of spices just tastes like Christmas in a mug!!!
Of course, you can find Glühwein at every single Christmas Market in Germany, such as the famous Rothenburg Christmas Market, but stop into any local grocery store to pick up a bottle to bring home as well.
You might also be surprised to find that there are actually a whole range of flavors of Glühwein, such as blueberry (Heidelbeeren), cherry (Kirsche) and plenty more. There is also the “Feuerzangenbowle”, which is similar to Gluhwein but packs a bigger punch! A special “tongue bowl” holds a shot of rum and a sugar cube, which is lit on fire to create the most beautiful alcoholic drink you’ll see!
Try making some of your own with my Grandpa’s Homemade Gluhwein Recipe.
If you are looking for other unique, German alcoholic drinks for winter, look no further than the Eierlikor. No, this is not an “Egg nog” and you will either love it or hate it.
While it is a warm beverage made of egg yolks, spices, sugar, and brandy or rum, I think since it is less spiced than what I think of Eggnog, and the fact that you drink it hot is what really threw me off my game. Now, it is definitely worth trying, at least once, just be prepared for a weird mouth experience of a thick, creamy, hot substance…..(sorry for that awkward description, it was the best I could do!)
There really aren’t a ton of cocktails that are authentic to Germany and you won’t find a cocktail on all (or even most) menus. However, there are some really fantastic German alcoholic drinks out there besides beer and wine (ok, most of these actually still involve wine….) (If you are really craving a cocktail, the Brazillian Caipirinha is really popular here).
While they aren’t “cocktails,” some popular german drinks are all of the “Spritz'” that they love here, particularly in the summertime.
If you are hitting up the fest season in Germany, be on the lookout for the fruit “Bowle.” These giant jugs of punch are typically fruit-infused wines and some are topped off with a touch of bubbles with some mineral or soda water. You’ll find Bowle stands at the fest often in a long row of different fruit varieties, such as strawberry, melon, pear, apple, and so on!
This extremely popular wine spritzer is like spring time in your mouth!!! It is made with the Elderberry flower (to make into a syrup), lemon juice, white wine, and topped with some mineral water for a bit of fizz. If you are in Germany in the summer and you see this on the menu, you can’t pass it up. It’s extremely unique and well worth trying!
Another popular spritz that many Europeans love is the Aperol Spritz, which actually originated in Italy. However, you’ll find this drink everywhere in the summertime in Germany! This wine spritz uses a sparkling white wine, like prosecco or sekt, the Aperal liquor, and topped with soda water.
The Hugo Spritz actually could be the Holler Spritz’ sister. It also uses the elderflower’s syrup as a base, but instead of white wine, a sparkling wine, sich as prosecco is used. Topped with a bit of sparkling water and garnished with plenty of fresh mint, you can’t find a more refreshing alcoholic summer drink to sip as you people watch on a town square!!!
Jägermeister is possibly one of the most famous german drinks after beer. is an incredibly complex, 56 herb digestive, that is sometimes still drunk after meals in Germany and is thought to be a “medicinal drink” due to all the herbs! (Although, don’t be surprised to see small shot bottles out for sale at places like Oktoberfest!)
So there you have it. Over 20 different drinks from Germany that you just have to try on your trip (or try making from home!) Which will you sip on first??