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Adult Beverages in Croatia

What are your favorite adult beverages when you are in Croatia? We will be traveling in and around the country for a couple of weeks -- a week on a boat/bike tour and another week driving - Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Split, and points in between.

Can you talk about the wine served in Croatia? Have you tried Croatian wines, or do you opt for Italian or other wines? Is it "safe" to order the house wine in Croatia the way it is in Italy? (I've never had a bad house wine in Italy.)

I have heard that everyone in Croatia has their own homemade cordial. What is it called? Is there glass-raising or clinking and a traditional word or toast beforehand when drinking this or other adult beverages? Cheers? Salute? Cincin? LeChaim? Would love to know the custom.

Or do you instead have a favorite brand of beer to recommend? I would really appreciate the benefit of your experience. Thanks!

Posted by
4857 posts

Most of the wines served in Croatia are Croatian and many are loose house wines ie not bottled and served in carafes. Many restaurants make their own wines. I drink red and have never had a bad wine. The local whites that I have drunk are very dry. Foreign wines are more expensive.

Strange question; why would they serve wines that are unsafe? It's not a third world country.

I haven't come across homemade cordial.

The commonest beer is Karlovacko, although Radler is also popular which is a shandy made with either lemon or lime.

Posted by
78 posts

Sorry, I wasn't being clear when I asked whether it was "safe" to order the house wine, I meant would it be drinkable! LOL.

Jennifer, thanks for your reply. Like you, I prefer red wine. It's good to know that I can order and enjoy a carafe of house wine in Croatia.

Posted by
16866 posts

Šljivovica is the Croatian spelling of plum brandy popular in neighboring countries, as well. Don't worry, Rick's guidebooks have you covered: "When toasting with some new Croatian friends, raise your glass with a hearty “Živjeli!” (ZHEE-vyeh-lee)." Europeans like to look each other in the eye when toasting.

We have quite a few audio and video links for Croatia on this site: https://www.ricksteves.com/europe/croatia.

Posted by
12343 posts

If you like red wines, note that the grapes which produce California's Zinfandel have been identified as originating in Croatia:

https://www.wineinstitute.org/resources/winefactsheets/article99

In Italy it is called Primitivo. I cannot pronounce the Croatian name, but you might give it a try!

Also note that California's highly acclaimed winemaker Mike Grgich was born in Croatia, the son of a winemaking family. His real name is Miljenko.

Posted by
223 posts

Croatia makes excellent red wines. Look for wine made from the Plavac grape.
Can't remember the names of the beers but they were good.