Tradition meets innovation – we’ll drink to that! The wine presses in the Canton of Bern produce some fine vintages; it’s also where exquisite mineral waters are bottled, too. Meanwhile, ingenious brains have been busy working on innovations.
The result: drinks to suit all moods and occasions, from the spicy Ingwerer liqueur to the trendy Heuschnaps and the fruity compositions of Bänz, the region’s very own natural thirst-quencher. And all of it Made in Bern.
From a spirited idea to a cult brand: Heuschnaps – Das Original
For decades the secret formula of the legendary Hasliberger Heuschnaps lay well protected in the vaulted cellars of the Hotel Wetterhorn in the Bernese Oberland – until it was discovered a few years ago. Handed down from generation to generation this original formula is now making a comeback, delighting private mini-bars and the (intern)national gastro scene with its delightful rustic taste. This cult brand is an out-and-out winner, whether consumed neat or as a delightful long drink. In fact, our favourite is the Heu-Mojito. heuschnaps.ch (German)
Unusually sharp: Ingwerer liqueur
Since 2013, bartenders Peppe Jenzer and his friends have been producing the unusual Ingwerer liqueur, most recently in the former fire station on Victoria Street. As the name suggests, the be-verage mainly consists of ginger. It unleashes a veritable symphony of taste within the mouth – first there is sweetness, then lemon, and finally it leaves a delightfully sharp sensation on the palate. The sharpness can be varied: Those who like it mild should hold the bottle still when pouring, but everyone else should first give it a short shake. Ingwerer can be enjoyed neat as well as in a cocktail (it goes well with gin!), and it can be used to enhance a special dish. ingwerer.ch (German)
Soft as velvet: The Pinot Noir AOC "Les Palins", Alfermée
On a small plot behind the village of Le Landeron, former teacher and now winemaker, Lukas Has-ler, has been cultivating a quite special Pinot Noir. On the gentle inclination of the slope that extends from Lake Biel up to the first Jura chain, he has located a slightly clayey soil with a high lime content that lends his wines their interesting mineral undertone. Although the grapes are grown in the neighbouring canton of Neuchâtel, they are pressed in Alfermée where the wine is stored in French oak before bottling. The result is a wine as smooth as velvet. haslerwein.ch (German/French)
Ode to the Jungfrau Railway: The Swiss Highland "Century" Single Malt
It is no coincidence that beer brewers the world over also distill whisky. The processes are as simi-lar as are the ingredients. This combination is beautifully celebrated at the Ruggenbräu Brewery in Interlaken. Six years ago, the "Distillery" was built directly above the brewhouse and outfitted with a wall-sized window. Hence this traditional family, which has been brewing its beers since 1866 at the foot of the Jungfrau, launched its first Highland Single Malt in 2008. Meanwhile, this amber drink is available in several varieties – with its "Century" variety being especially desirable, and intended as a tribute to the founder of the Jungfrau Railway, Adolf Guyer-Zeller. rugenbraeu.ch (German)
As fresh as the spring: Apple-cassis juice
The cassis berries come from the Seeland, the apples from the country around Ferenbalm, and the idea from the city of Bern. From these (and other) fruit, 37-year-old Yves Bütikofer produces a fruit juice entirely without additives and preservatives. Up until now, there have been five variants of this attractive thirst quencher – all made with fruit from the immediate vicinity and available in beautiful bottles with a striking label. According to the producer, the apple-cassis variety tastes especially good when it is enriched with a small sip of vodka. baenz.ch (German)
Enough minerals to fill a mountain: Adelboden’s Alpenrose mineral water
This mineral water that gushes out from a spring in Adelboden is considered to be particularly healthy. It contains little sodium and nitrate, but plenty of calcium and magnesium. It is available in a 1.5-litre PET bottle or in an elegant glass bottle with the teasing Alpenrose on the label. Either way, the biggest advantage that Adelboden has over the Italian San Pellegrino mineral water and the British Hildon is that it does not have to travel so far in order to quench our thirst. adelbodner.ch