We all have that dust-covered bottle of mystery booze lingering at the back of a cabinet – the one with the kooky animal shape perhaps, or syrupy day-glo fluid. Most of us tend to dismiss such curiosities out of hand as mere gimmicks (may we suggest a sip of Cinnabon vodka?). Yet there's a big wonderful, or at the very least interesting, world beyond the usual and safe vodka-gin-whiskey-tequila club most of us cling to. Here are a dozen of the most intriguing or exotic concoctions we've seen from across the globe that you can actually buy and try yourself.
The latest Canadian oddity to cause us to reconsider our judgement of the country altogether, Caribou is a heady brew made from a mixture of red wine, whiskey, and maple syrup. Folklore attributes the drink to Quebecois hunters who supposedly mixed caribou blood with whisky in an attempt to stay warm on frigid, winter nights. We'll stick with the wine version, thank you, warmed in lieu of cider (though apparently it's nice over ice, too). [$18 for 750ml; mondiaalliance.com]