Helsinki

Drink Like a Local in Helsinki

20 Nov 2019
Only children, pregnant women and sick people in Finland do not drink! All joking aside, Finns are renowned for their fondness for drinking. They do love alcohol as Finland is a northern and cold country with long and dark winters and their alcoholic drinks are some of the most unique in the world. But it does not mean that the Finnish people drink like sponges. They just have a special relationship with alcohol and restrict their heavy drinking to holidays and weekends.

Despite that special relationship, Finns and tourists alike can only buy alcoholic beverages at Alko, the national alcoholic beverage retailing monopoly. Alko is the only store in Finland that sells spirits, wine and beer over 5.5% ABV (almost all Alko stores in the Finnish capital are open from Monday to Friday from 9 AM until 8 PM and from 9 AM until 6 PM on Saturdays.) The only exception is alcohol that can be sold at licensed bars and restaurants and light beer and cider that can be sold at supermarkets and grocery stores. But do not let this put you off trying the drinks that are most cherished amongst locals.

Some of the best alcoholic beverages you should try when in Helsinki include: Koskenkorva Viina or Kossu (the most popular type of vodka amongst the clear spirits in Finland), Salmiakki Koskenkorva (a vodka cocktail made with Turkish pepper salty licorice and Koskenkorva Viina), Finlandia Vodka (one of the most popular alcoholic drinks in the country), Sima (a sparkling mead-like drink), and Lakka (a cloudberry liqueur). Just take a gulp and you will feel the burning sensation straight down your throat resolving itself into a surprisingly smooth sensation!

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