The most popular hard liquor of choice for new arrivals, Lithuanian vodka—degtinė—is excellent, and is best enjoyed in small shots straight from the freezer. For the more adventurous, try trauktinė, a generic word for a spirit (usually degtinė) that’s been infused with various fruit, berries, herbs and spices. When in Vilnius, it’s appropriate to drink starka, a deliciously sweet trauktinė known in Poland and Lithuania since the 15th century and a one-time favourite of the nobility. Traditionally made from rye vodka that’s been fortified with apple leaves and lime blossom, traditionally starka was made at home after the birth of a boy and buried inside an oak barrel until the child grew up and got married. If you haven’t got that long to wait, find it available in most shops and bars around the city. Finally, there’s samagonas, known to the Russians as samagon and strictly illegal. Although we don’t recommend that anyone breaks the law in Lithuania, it does taste extraordinary and can be drunk in vast quantities without the risk of a hangover after waking from the coma-like state it’s known to induce.