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.
This white wine from Greece looks like any other table wine but a mere sip quickly proves that wrong. Described by many as having flavors of turpentine, retsina is distinguished from regular white wine by the use of pine resin to seal the barrels it's aged in. On top of that, Aleppo Pine pieces are added to the wine during fermentation to create its distinct and exotic flavor – to be fair, better quality versions are said to have more hints of evergreen tree and lemon. Retsina is one of the most traditional wines in Greece and is produced in various locations including Boeotia, Attica, and Euboea as well as in parts of southern Cyprus. [$8 for 750ml; greek-wine-cellars.com]