When visiting a foreign country, trying its local dishes and beverages is a vital part of the experience. And, if you plan to go out and visit local cafes, bars, and clubs, you should get familiar with the local drinks. Of course, you can always drink vodka, tequila, or whiskey, but isn’t it much more fun to try something new, and something that you can’t find everywhere?
While in Bosnia and Herzegovina, you will have a chance to try many local drinks that will blow your mind (both figuratively and literally). The list below will help you get familiar with the most popular local Bosnian drinks. Most of the drinks listed below are alcoholic, which, I guess, tells a lot about us Bosnians.
Rakija is a term that describes fruit-based spirits, popular in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in the rest of the Balkans. Rakija is high in alcohol content (40%-50%) and can be made from different fruits.
The most popular types of rakija are šljivovica (made with plums), loza (made with grapes), and jabukovača (made with apples). These rakija types have been produced in Bosnia and Herzegovina for centuries.
In recent years, some other types of rakija have also become popular, such as travarica (rakija infused with aromatic herbs), dunjevača (rakija made with quince fruits), and višnjevača (rakija made with cherries). You should try them all, but of course, not on the same day!
2. Hercegovačko Vino (Herzegovian Wine)
If you are visiting towns in Herzegovina, such as Mostar, Stolac, or Trebinje, make sure to try their local wines. Herzegovina has a Mediterranean climate, perfect for wine production. You can choose between red and white wine, with some of the best choices being: Vukoje žilavka, Buntić žilavka, Brkić plava greda, Marijanović 33 barrique, and Keža Blatina.
Žilavka and platina are highly-valued grape varieties indigenous to Herzegovina. Because of their high-quality, Herzegovina wines are a good match for more famous wine brands.
3. Pivo (Beer)
It is true that you can find beer everywhere, but each beer is different and you should try Bosnian beers. Beer has been produced in Bosnia since the 19th century, and the most popular brands are Nektar, Preminger, Tuzlanski pilsner, Sarajevsko pivo, and Erster.
If you like craft beers, you will be delighted to hear that craft breweries are experiencing a renaissance in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Every major city has at least one craft brewery, with many great beers, from IPA and pale ale to stout.
4. Sirup od Zove (Elderflower Syrup)
This traditional, homemade, non-alcoholic beverage is extremely popular during late spring and early summer when the elder plant produces its flowers.
Elderflowers are collected and soaked in a mixture of water, sugar, and citric acid. The syrup is then stored in glass bottles and diluted with water before drinking. It has a sweet, refreshing, and unique taste.
As well as elderflowers, some people collect rose petals and make rose syrup. It is just as delicious as elderflower syrup, and it has a beautiful, fragrant aroma.
5. Bosanska Ka(h)va (Bosnian Coffee)
Saving the best for last, let’s talk about Bosnian coffee, also called Turkish coffee. It has a bold, dark flavor and a strong aroma. Bosnian coffee is unfiltered, only tempered with a sugar cube and rahat lokum.
Bosnian coffee is more than just a beverage high in caffeine; it is a part of Bosnian culture. No matter what’s happening around them, Bosnians always find a time for a cup of coffee with friends and family. If the world ends tomorrow, the Bosnians will welcome the riders of the apocalypse with a cup of coffee in hand. Drinking coffee connects people, helps them forget about daily problems, and is a time to get up to date with the latest gossip.
However, a proper Bosnian coffee needs to be brewed in ibrik/džezva, a copper pot specifically designed for making coffee. Once the coffee is done, it is poured into a fildžan, a small porcelain cup without a handle. The sweet-toothed and sugar cubes, and everyone has a cube of rahat lokum with their fildžan.
People living in Bosnia and Herzegovina know how to enjoy small things in their lives, they know how to have fun, and how to party. Try these Bosnian drinks, and you will learn to live like a Bosnian. Get a glimpse at the Bosnian way of life when drinking a cup of Bosnian coffee. Try rakija and your body will burn, but you will feel happy and probably love everyone around you. Refresh yourself with a pint of Bosnian beer, or try the unique elderflower juice. No matter which drink you choose, you will enjoy it just as much as you’ll enjoy Bosnian food!
Related: Most Popular Bosnian Foods
Related: Most Popular Bosnian Desserts