Beverage Culture in Latvia: Signature Drinks

Beverage Culture in Latvia: Signature Drinks

Latvia, a small country located in the Baltic region of Europe, is known for its beautiful landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture. With a mix of influences from its neighboring countries, Latvia has developed its unique beverage culture, where alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks play a significant role. In this article, we will explore Latvia’s signature drinks that define their beverage culture.

1. Riga Black Balsam

Riga Black Balsam is a herbal liqueur that has been produced in Latvia since the 18th century. It is considered Latvia’s national drink and is famous for its strong and bitter taste. The drink is made by blending 24 different natural ingredients, including herbs, roots, spices, and berries, with a neutral spirit. The mixture is then aged in oak barrels for several months to enhance its flavor and aroma. Riga Black balsam is usually served as a digestif after a meal or as a cocktail mixed with other spirits or juices.

2. Kvass

Kvass is a refreshing non-alcoholic drink made from fermented rye bread. It has been a popular drink in Latvia for centuries, and many people still make it at home. The drink has a tangy and slightly sour taste, and it is usually served cold during the summer months. Kvass is also used as a base for other alcoholic cocktails in Latvia.

3. Birch Sap Wine

Birch Sap Wine is a unique Latvian alcoholic drink made from birch sap. The sap is usually harvested during the early spring and then fermented using natural yeasts. The resulting drink is light, crisp, and has a slightly sweet taste. It is a popular drink during the spring months and is often paired with Latvian traditional foods.

4. Uzavas Beer

Uzavas Beer is a craft beer brand that has been brewing beer in Latvia since 2014. The brand is known for its unique and flavorful beers that use traditional brewing techniques and locally grown ingredients. Uzavas Beer is a popular choice among Latvians, and the brand has won several awards for its quality and taste.

5. Fruit Liqueurs

Latvia is abundant with forests and fields that provide fresh fruits and berries, which are often used to make fruit liqueurs. Some popular fruit liqueurs in Latvia include raspberry, blackcurrant, cherry, and cranberry liqueurs, among others. These liqueurs are a popular choice for mixed drinks or as a dessert drink.


Q: What is the legal drinking age in Latvia?
A: The legal drinking age in Latvia is 18 years old.

Q: What are some traditional Latvian dishes to pair with the signature drinks?
A: Traditional Latvian dishes that pair well with signature drinks include smoked fish, black bread, pork dishes, and potato dishes.

Q: Can I find Latvian signature drinks outside of Latvia?
A: Yes, some Latvian signature drinks are available in specialty stores or online, but they may not be readily available in all countries.