Believe it or not, the Germans (or at least the Swabians, who live in the Stuttgart area) have beverage traditions other than beer and wine. One of the first purchases M. and I made after I arrived in Germany was a soda siphon bottle; I love “fizzy” water, but carrying it up the hill seemed silly when we could just produce our own in the kitchen. (Or, prior to getting the kitchen set up, in the bathroom.) When I discovered that the German apple juice (Apfelsaft) is ridiculously tasty, I immediately started mixing it with our home-produced sparkling water . I thought I was bringing a little slice of my childhood to Germany, so imagine my surprise when I discovered that juice or wine (but most commonly apple juice) mixed with sparkling water is a classic regional beverage. It’s so classic, in fact, that it has a short name: Schorle. Every restaurant menu includes it, as far as I can tell.
It’s odd how you can come to a new country prepared to embrace new traditions and find that those “new” traditions harken back to Thanksgiving dinners drinking sparkling apple cider while the grownups enjoyed champagne.
Some local traditions are, of course, more appealing than others. The other local beverage specialty — well, excluding beer and wine — is a cola/orange soda mix called “Spezi“. For people who actually enjoy the taste of cola, it’s probably not bad; for me, it falls into the “at least I can say I tried it once” category.