Rebellious and resolute, Lithuania was the first country to declare its independence from the Soviet Union in 1990. Now a part of the European Union, there is a deep sense of the past and heartfelt hope for the future. Lithuania is fast becoming a vibrant country and one of eastern Europe’s hot spots. Artists and nature-lovers mingle happily. And when it comes to alcohol, it’s one of the few places on Earth where you can find mead in abundance, beer with serious attitude and spirits with magical qualities.
WHERE WE WENT
- Stumbras — Located in the town of Kaunus about 65 miles from the capital city of Vilnius, Stumbras is the oldest and largest distillery in Lithuania. Take a tour and see how the make various vodkas, brandies, liqueurs and bitters. 999 (Three Nines or Trejos Devynerios) is considered the signature bitter of all the Lithuanian bitters. It’s a mysterious blend of herbs, roots, fruits and bark. Drink it fast! Mak! Mak! Mak!
- The Velo Bar — Want a way to see the city, get some exercise and drink all at the same time? Then the Velo Bar may be your new best friend. This pedal-powered bar can be yours (and eight to fourteen of your friends) for a two hour trip. It comes with a driver, five mugs of beer for each person, snacks and, of course, a dancing waitress.
- In Vino — In Vino is one of the most popular drinking venues in Vilnius. They may not serve Lithuanian beer or wine or spririts, but you can partake in a local custom. A Kalashnikov shot is a caffeine, sugar, acid lemon rush…with vokda. 7 Ausros Vartu Gatve, Vilnius 01013
- Avilys – Heighten your understanding of Pagan beer gods at Avilys, the capital city’s only brewery complete with Pagan statues, a restaurant and a full bar. Try the Avilio Alus Sviesusis, a basic, non-filtered and unpasteurized light-colored beer. Or for something more complex, the Medaus has the taste of honey without the sweetness. The Korio Alus Tamsusis is a dark beer infused with ginseng giving it a hearty, earthy flavor with a nice bite. 5 Gedimino Prospektas, Vilnius, 01013
- Marceliukes Kletis — Marceliukes Kletis is a traditional Lithuanian restaurant and bar. The old tavern is a great place to sample different kind of meads. Borciu is a specialty mead made sweet with the flavors of juniper berries and hops. Suktinis is a 100 proof mead that has been mixed with pure alcohol. It is aged and flavored with herbs, spices, nuts and berries. If you want the true Lithuanian experience, don’t leave without an arm wrestling competition with Vytenis, the owner of Marceliukes Kletis who has never been beat. 35 Tuskulenu, Vilnius, 09208
- Stikliu Alude — In the heart of Old Town Vilnius, Stikliu Alude is a restaurant and bar serving national dishes and drinks on two floors. The upstairs is kind of fancy. Head downstairs to the bar for a more casual, laid back atmosphere and try the strongest mead out there. Zalgiris is 150 proof, distilled and flavored with a blend of medicinal herbs and spices. 7 Gaono, Vilnius, 01131
- Snekutis – No Lithuanian drinking excursion is complete without a visit to the Bohemian neighborhood of Uzupis. Baras Snekutis, translated as “crazy bar”, is owned by Aurimas, who is also pretty crazy himself. Snekutis serves traditional Lithuanian bar food like fried garlic bread and chick peas with bacon. They also have a selection of beer on draft, mostly brought in from Northern Lithuania, and bottled beer. Stacias beer tastes strong because, at 12% alcohol, it is strong. 7 Polocko Gatve, Vilnius, 01025
- Lithuania is spread over an area of approximately 65,300 sq km (25,212 sq miles) and is about the same size as West Virginia.
- The colors of the Lithuanian flag are yellow (for the sun), green (the land) and red (for the blood of the people.
- The most popular foods in Lithuania are cepelinai (potato and meat dish), vėdarai (intestines stuffed with potatoes) or potato pancakes.
- According to traditions, twelve different dishes should be served on Christmas Eve in Lithuania because Jesus had twelve apostles.
- Easter Granny brings eggs for children on Easter. Bunnies help her paint the eggs.
Shot of Vodka
Cover shot glass filled with vodka with lemon slice. Sprinkle half the slice with sugar and the other half with coffee grounds. Drink the shot and then eat the entire lemon slice.
How to Toast in Lithuania
Please Sir, I Want Some More
Learn more about traveling to Lithuania here!