Drinks in Iceland are (almost) as varied as the landscapes. There are local spirits, yoghurt-y drinks, and the all-important festive favourites. Although forms of prohibition existed until 1989, most types of alcohol are now widely available all over the country in state-run liquor stores. However, alcohol can be expensive in Iceland so it can be more economical to stock up at the duty-free shop at Keflavik Airport.
Alcoholic and non-alcoholic, here's a list of drinks to keep an eye out for in Iceland.
If you’re feeling brave, try the local brew, brennivin – a potent, traditional caraway-flavoured schnapps nicknamed ‘black death’. It's a signature spirit of Iceland and has been drunk in the region since at least the 17th century when Danish merchants started importing it in large quantities. It can be mixed with cola, coffee or in a cocktail, but the ideal (and best) way to experience Brennevin is chilled, straight-up in a small shot glass. Skal!
2. Skyr drykkur
Not only is skyr (Icelandic yogurt) one of the must-try things to eat in Iceland, but it also comes in drink form! This yoghurt-like speciality is stocked in convenience stores across the country, and the drykkur, or drink (as well as regular skyr), can be purchased plain or in a series of fruit flavours, including blueberry, mango & passionfruit, and apple & raspberry.
A quite recent addition to Icelandic drinks lists, Reyka is a brand of vodka that uses water drawn from a lava field to create a pure and unique distillation. The rock naturally filters the water, creating some of the purest water on earth. It's perfect in a cocktail, or drinking it by itself is always an option as it's so smooth.
Beer was outlawed in Iceland all the way up until the late 1980s, but it's now available in bars and liquor stores throughout Iceland. Find a pack of the classic Viking Gold or refreshing Einstock White Ale at one of the government-run liquor stores dotted around the country or pick up a supply at Keflavik Airport, duty-free, which will save you a fair bit of money.
5. Malt og Appelsin
This concoction, combining two of Iceland's most well-known soft drinks, is a popular drink to enjoy at Christmas. The sweet soda malt and sparkling orange drink Appelsin are paired to make a fizzy, chocolate-brown refreshment. It sometimes comes pre-mixed, called Jolabland, and although only very slightly alcoholic, it's a sugar overload to lift the spirits during the country's darkest and coldest season.
Last but not least, we have water. While it may not seem exciting, Iceland's tap water is some of the purest in the world as it's sourced from deep underground in wells under the earth's surface. We recommend packing a reusable bottle so you can drink some of the famously pure water as you travel.
Read more about water in Iceland
Click to read what to eat in Iceland
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