World’s 50 most delicious drinks

CNN  — 

We travel for a lot of reasons. History. Culture. Food and drink.

And the focus here is on the drink part – the best, more refreshing liquids found in destinations around the world. With alcohol or not, here are the 50 most delicious drinks you can sip, gulp and enjoy:

50. Mango lassi, India

The coolest thing in India?

Some of India’s lucky workers have migrated into the air-conditioned confines of its call centers and IT offices. For the rest, and for travelers there, reprieve comes in the form of a cooling, sweat-beating summer drink that acts like an internal sun screen. Mango, yogurt and milk combine in creamy harmony making those sweltering afternoons almost something to look forward to.

49. Red Bull, Austria

Feels like you're getting smacked in the brain by a fizzy caffeine wave.

OK, Red Bull is an acquired taste even on a good day. But nothing else in the history of drinks and beverages has made deadlines more hittable than this energy drink. It doesn’t really help you grow wings, but when served chilled its fruit-punch flavor explodes in your face like a slap from a sugary, caffeine-marinated cod.

48. Yakult, Japan

Dairy goodness in a bottle.

Drinking a carton of bacteria is hardly one of the world’s most marketable activities, however friendly they might claim to be. But if you can get over that, a vanilla tongue soak awaits that’ll make you wish each serving was more than just 100 milliliters.

47. Guinness, Ireland

There's no such thing as just one pint of Guinness.

When you’re talking Guinness, perfection is 119.5 seconds. That’s how long it takes for a perfect pint of this ruby red (not black) nectar to be poured according to brand owner Diageo. It’s packed with iron, it’s healthy (no really) and is one of the beer world’s smoother, earthier characters.

46. Pina colada, Puerto Rico

So good, someone wrote a song about it.

Just looking at the drink brings you closer to a beach and sipping this mixture of coconut milk, pineapple juice and rum will send you directly to a hammock between palm trees in the Caribbean.

45. Cendol, Indonesia

The iconic Indonesian drink-come-dessert.

Strictly speaking this is more of a watery dessert than a drink, and is served in a bowl, but at least that way you get to take bigger gulps. The mixture of creamy coconut milk and sweet palm sugar chilled by shaved ice will is the perfect antidote to the hawkers on Kuta beach.

44. Sujeonggwa, Korea

Made from dried persimmons, cinnamon, ginger and peppercorn, sujeonggwa is essentially a liquid made of spices, boiled and steeped in a cup. The cooking and cooling processes mean it can be hours before the final spicy, sweet and tangy flavors are ready for you. The brick-red extract is fragrant and appetizing, making the hours of preparation as agonizing as the result is rewarding.

43. Fanta, Germany

Fanta is known for its bright orange color.

Created in Nazi Germany by an enterprising German Coca-Cola executive when shipments of Coca-Cola ingredients were halted during World War II, Fanta was so popular with Germans that three million cases were produced in 1943 – enough to keep the company’s German operations afloat during the war. The brand’s workhorse is Fanta Orange, a soda marketed under campaigns sunny enough to brighten away its shadowy past.

42. Shikuwasa juice, Japan

For a fruit relatively unknown in the West, the Japanese shikuwasa has a familiar look about it. In fact, its sometime name of “flat lemon” reveals that it shares several characteristics with that yellow citrus, including an acidic punch. The Okinawa native, scientifically called Citrus depressa, yields a sharp juice that’s best diluted or added to a cocktail.

41. Raksi, Nepal

Made from millet or rice, Raksi is strong on the nose and sends a burning sensation straight down your throat that resolves itself into a surprisingly smooth, velvety sensation. Nepalese drink this home brew to celebrate festivals, though we think that the prized drink itself is the reason to celebrate.

40. Coconut water, Global

One of the freshest fruit juices (look it up) on the beach.

You can eat its flesh raw or flaked and cook with its oil, but the best way to ingest the star of so many tropical scenes is to stick a straw inside and drink. Coconuts, technically a fruit, may kill more people each year than sharks, but they taste a whole lot better, too.

39. Scotch whisky, Scotland

Delicious but don't underestimate its power.

We don’t like to be snobbish, but if you’re going to drink whisky you have to do it right. Whether single malt or blend, the favored drink of such eminent names as Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher has kept men and women warm and interesting for many decades. Don’t dare taint it with ice.

38. Mojito, Cuba

Everyone's favorite minty cocktail.

It’s named after a Cuban seasoning, or an African amulet; it was invented by the Cubans, or in honor of Sir Francis Drake; it should be made fresh and simple, or you can change it up whatever your whim. All depending on who you ask. Everyone has their own take on the mojito, reportedly Ernest Hemingway’s favorite drink, so that the mix of white rum, lime, sugar, mint and soda water, can turn you into the life of the conversation, or a flailing, wailing drunk.

37. Cider, England

Cider -- best drunk in a glass, but a wellington boot will also do.

A glass of genuine farmhouse cider is about as similar to the mass-produced stuff in cans as apples are to horse manure. Steeped in cinnamon and cloves and swirling with unfiltered apple bits, a room-temperature mug of the real deal lends a warming, fragrant note to cruel winter days.

36. Martini, United States

"The only American invention as perfect as the sonnet" -- H.L. Mencken.

You could try bastardizing this sacred cocktail with various pollutants – Appletinis? Chocolate martinis? Please stop! – but nothing is ever going to change the magic that gin, vermouth and olives do to a long day.

35. Yerba Mate, South America

Made by steeping the leaves of the South American rainforest holly tree in hot water, yerba mate ranks among the traveling world’s most surprising and pleasing discoveries. Served in a hollow gourd with a metal straw, the caffeinated bevvie is so much a part of the South American scene – popular in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and southern Brazil– that drinking it there instantly turns you into a debonair local.

34. Champagne, France

Save water, drink champagne?

You may love F1 drivers for their glamorous lifestyles, but you have to hate them for wasting all that Champagne every fortnight. Champagne is the diamond of the drink world, taking its place on the podium as the beverage to have when celebrating pretty much anything. In fact, take a gulp and you could almost imagine that a thousand little diamonds are bursting on your tongue, as the crisp, light fizzy beverage gets to work.

33. Carrot Juice, Global

Carrot juice is healthy and tasty.

Healthy enough to feature in diet plans, but sweet enough to be enjoyed by kids, carrot juice is a jack of all trades. Don’t get too attached though. Drinking too much carrot juice has been known to turn the skin orange.

32. Baileys Original Irish Cream, Ireland

The benevolent wizards who make Baileys credit “38,000 of the top-bred Irish dairy cows grazing on approximately 1,500 selected Irish farms mainly on the east coast of Ireland” for producing the rich cream that makes their god-like elixir the top-selling Duty Free liqueur brand in the world. Complements everything from coffee to Cointreau.

31. Tequila, Mexico

Tequila -- one of the world's most popular spirits.

Tequila isn’t just for partying – it’s one of the world’s most popular spirits for a reason. 100% blue agave Tequila requires no accessorizing; just sip, savor and repeat.

30. Sparkling Water, Global

Carbonated spring water -- putting tap water to shame.

Tap water? What else you got on the menu tonight, monsieur, boiled hot dogs and bread crumbs? Sparkling, carbonated, fizzy, with gas … whatever you call it, the mere addition of bubbles transforms plain old H2O into a stylish “beverage,” conferring upon you instant elan. At least till you start burping it all back up.

29. Caipirinha, Brazil

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The perfect caipirinha cocktail
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Brazil’s national drink is a modern take on the Daiquiri and brings a refreshing base of lime together with a hint of Brazilian sugarcane rum. Garnish with a wedge or slice of lime, slurp, then beam like Ronaldinho after scoring a hat trick.

28. Chocolate Milkshake, United States

Thick, sweet and mouthwatering.

This artery-clogging third musketeer (after burger and fries) of the fast-food world gives a sweet ending to all family meals out. And it may not even be as fattening as you think – the amount of energy spent trying to slurp this thick sludge up the straw must burn off at least a few of those calories.

27. Thai Iced Tea, Thailand

Thailand's incredible tea.

The best tea is served in a plastic bag from street carts, and looks bright orange, but in a good way. It’s a strong, sweet caffeine kick, made from strong-brewed black tea and then mixed with condensed milk and spices. If it wasn’t any good Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants wouldn’t bother stealing the recipe.

26. Dark ‘n’ Stormy, Bermuda

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Dark 'n' Stormy: Bermuda's unofficial drink
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From the shores of Bermuda comes this mix of spiced ginger beer and dark rum, which supposedly evokes tempestuous conditions around the wreck-strewn North Atlantic island. As if not blended with enough metaphor, it’s inevitably been remixed (and canned) for the choppy waters of the modern political era.

Taking tea to a new level.

More bubble than tea, this is a tea-slash-milk-slash-fruit drink and its most famous variety includes chewy “pearls,” resembling oversized frogspawn, at the bottom that you suck up with an oversized straw. It sounds weird, but it has become a favorite drink snack among Asia’s millions of young shoppers.

24. Raki, Turkey

Dubbed “lion’s milk,” raki is a potent liquor made from grapes or figs, but when diluted with water turns milky white and becomes a much tamer, licorice-flavored aperitif. It is popular as a seafood accompaniment, alongside mezze, before dinner, after dinner, with cheese, kebabs and melon. Basically anytime, anywhere, is good time for raki.

23. Milk, Global

Funny how the human variety is the one that makes us squirm.

Where would the breakfast cereal business be without milk? The only drink millions of people deliberately mix with their food every morning, milk is also the child’s bone-strengthening beverage of choice.

22. Gatorade, United States

 In sports drinks, success is 75%.

Gatorade makes you run faster, we heard, because losers could miss out on the after-race drinks. Bad jokes aside, the sports drink originally created to replenish the water, carbs and electrolytes lost by athletes at the University of Florida has become a global success, with a 75% share of the sports drink market in the United States.

21. Eggnog, England

A creamy, alcoholic treat

Bring in the eggnog and the otherwise long and torturous family gathering where everyone wears hideous sweaters turns into a joyous Christmas dinner. Or that’s the idea, anyway. This sweetened beverage of milk and beaten eggs tastes like an alcoholic creamy egg custard. Best served warm.

20. Sex On The Beach, United States

 If this cocktail's also your pick-up line, you'll be drinking it alone.

When a young Florida barman entered a competition to sell the most cocktails, he called his peach schnapps, orange juice, cranberry juice and vodka concoction Sex on the Beach. Now he’s also responsible for the most juvenile of bar orders.

19. Es Kelapa Muda, Indonesia

This popular Indonesian drink loved by kids is essentially chilled young coconut juice with colored-syrup and coconut slices. Fresh on the taste that lasts through your whole meal, es kelapa muda is Indonesian tradition at its finest and purest.

18. White Wine, Global

White wine is a classic choice at the bar.

You know when someone pays $117,000 for a single bottle and stores it in a bulletproof case that will only open to his fingerprint, the drink you’re talking about is something special. Christian Vanneque, owner of the SIP Wine Bar in Bali, forked out for a bottle of 1811 Chateau d’Yquem earlier this year to fulfill a lifelong dream. White wine may not be the most delicious drink in the world, but it appears to attract the most ardent fans.

17. Lemonade, Egypt

Not just for summer.

Lemons, water and sugar. Doesn’t sound like much, but this summer refresher, first documented in Egyptian writings around 1,500 years ago, turns kids into happy angels and adults into happy kids. If you can ignore the five spoons of sugar in your glass, it can even be considered healthy: it’s been said to aid digestion, relieve heartburn and control diarrhea and constipation.

16. Anything From A Hotel Mini-bar, Global

The irresistible temptation of drinking without paying. At least immediately.

It’s one in the morning and you’re dying for some bottled water. Or apple juice. Or a beer. Whatever it is, when you’re willing to shell out $8 for a lousy drink in an undersized can, it damn well better be one of the most satisfying chugs you’ve ever had.

15. Sake, Japan

Nothing beats freshly made sake at a Japanese brewery.

If you fancy a laugh, watch the look on a diner’s face when they see a first-time sake drinker “shoot” a small cup of sake. Served chilled, hot or room temperature, depending on your mood or meal, sake is stronger than wine and weaker than vodka. No matter the temperature though, sake has a cool dry flavor, and like wine, flavor accents vary with quality and type.

14. Pastis, France

A glass of pastis symbolizes French chic.

Although not as exciting, or as hallucinogenic, as its reckless cousin, absinthe, which in its true form is banned from civilization, the potent licorice-like pastis has just the right dash of floral and herbal qualities to make it a signature French drink. Served with chilled spring water at a strict ratio of five-to-one, pastis tastes like mellowed liquor with an appetizing anise flavor.

13. Kool-Aid, United States

Colorful and fun -- kids can't resist.

Kool-Aid revolutionized powder mix drinks and sets the benchmark for kids in North America regarding the taste of flavored water. Its mascot, a jug, has perhaps the world’s worst slogan: “Oh yeah!” Luckily the drink tastes better.

12. Watermelon cucumber punch, Global

Take two of the world’s most refreshing fruits, throw them into a blender, add lime juice and syrup and you have the makings of what, on a sweltering day in the sun, can taste like a life-saving beverage.

11. Sangria, Spanish

The perfect Spanish cocktail.

So your parents-in-law pay you a surprise visit, and all you’ve got in the cupboard is a cheap bottle of red and some half-rotten fruits. Not to worry. The Spanish came up with sangria, a sweet, carbonated wine punch that has entertained guests from all nations. Splash some brandy over it to bring out that spicy kick.

10. Hot Chocolate With Marshmallows, United States

Cosy up with hot chocolate and marshmallows.

If pina colada equals tropical beaches, then hot chocolate with marshmallows equals extra-thick mitten socks and couch loafing inside ski resorts. This drink is your only legitimate excuse to stay indoors when in the Alps. The rich and aromatic hot chocolate also makes gloomy winter mornings worth looking forward to.

9. Gin And Tonic, England

The iconic British mixer.

Trust the Brits to make a medicine (the quinine in tonic water was used by the British East India Company to prevent malaria) more palatable by throwing in some booze. Still, we’re glad they did, as the clink-clink, glug-glug, fizzzz of a gin and tonic being poured is about as perfect an introduction to a balmy evening as it’s possible to find.

8. Red Wine, Global

One of the best ways to ingest your fruit quota each day.

What sound does a fermented grape make? None, it just lets out a little wine. And thank God for that. Or rather, thank the Georgians. The region in what is now known as Eurasia is credited with the first wine production 8,000 years ago. Thanks to them we now have such enjoyable pairings as beef and Merlot, tuna and Pinot Noir.

7. Orange Juice, United States

The drink that made "with bits" a desirable quality.

O.J. earns a spot on our list just for reminding us of our childhoods. The refreshing, tangy, wholesome drink, first mass-produced and distributed in the United States around 1915, has always reigned king over its try-hard cousins, apple, watermelon, pineapple and tomato.

6. Air Mata Kucing, Malaysia

Malaysians have figured out the golden formula for making a delicious drink – make it sweet, cold and toss in some tropical fruits. Air mata kucing, or longan drink, is exactly that. Sweetened by rock sugar and dried longan, it also comes with winter melon and a cheap price tag.

5. Tea, Global

Best served with scones and jam.

In Tibet the butter version keeps cold bodies warm and lips chap-free. In India it provides a sugary boost and a break from street chaos. In Japan it’s consumed in an elaborate ritual. In the UK it’s accorded magic potion status. Nothing seems quite so bad when you hear the words, “What you need is a nice cup of tea.” There’s no arguing with the world’s second-most widely consumed drink (after water).

4. Beer, Global

How could we live without beer?

Sure, the wheel was a great invention; so too the computer chip. But they don’t go nearly as well with pizza. Whichever trooper first had the courage to drink steeped and fermented barley had to be a bit of a loose cannon, but thanks to him or her we now have such luminary beverages as Kronenbourg 1664, Weihenstephaner Vitus (winner of World’s Best Beer) and the unforgettable Santa’s Butt Porter, all of which are, as Homer Simpson puts it, “the cause of and solution to all life’s problems!”

3. Coffee, Ethiopia

The first defense and final attack against the evil of the morning after.

There’s a reason coffee, said to have been discovered in Ethiopia, is one of the world’s most traded commodities – Monday mornings happen to all of us. This little green bean arguably deserves more than one entry in this list, but for all the various modes of ingestion – latte, cappuccino, mocha, American — you only need to know one thing to start your day off well – there’s more where it came from.

2. Coca-Cola, United States

Coke it is!

Invented by a pharmacist as a remedy to headaches in 1886, the world’s most popular carbonated soft drink is like the American dream in a can – from nothing, 85 eight-ounce cans of Coke were consumed globally per capita in 2008 – more than any other soda. The drink has gone through various manifestations, including Diet, Cherry, Lemon and Zero, but it’s the original, with a brain-freezing, nasal-passage-penetrating kick that keeps ‘em coming back for more.

1. Water, Global

No one crawling through a desert ever hallucinated wine, right?

It’s great for washing cars, and when it falls from the sky it’s a perfect excuse to stay home and watch a war movie. But as the base of every other drink on this list, of every food in the world and indeed of all life, nothing beats a glass of pure, unsullied water for its thirst-quenching, revitalizing, life-giving properties. Especially when it comes in a shapely glass bottle with a fancy label and hefty price tag. The best part, you can make it even better on a hot day by just adding more water, frozen.

Editor’s note: This article was previously published in 2011. It was reformatted and republished in 2018.