Munich is known for its beer. But what if you don’t like beer or you’re not allowed to drink beer? (in Germany, “alcohol-free” beer still contains usually around 0,02 % alcohol (up to 0,5 %). Munich has also a strong tradition with one specific non-alcoholic-beverage that is nearly unknown outside of Germany and Austria: The “Spezi”. Read on to know what Spezi is…
The term “Spezi” (“ʃpezɪ”)
In bavarian language the term “Spezi” can be translated to “friend”, “bro”, “homie”, “lad”, “buddy”, “pal”, “mate” or something like this. Since the 1960s it is also a term for a specific lemonade. Since then, in bavaria and especially in Munich a “Spezi-culture” has been established.
What kind of lemonade is “Spezi”?
In a word, spezi is a mixture between orange-lemonade and cola. Until today, there are dozens of Spezi-lemonades available. Some of them are allowed to use the brand name “Spezi”, others aren’t and therefore call it “Cola-Mix”. In Bavaria, many small breweries produce their own “Cola-Mix”. Spezi is very common as a soft drink in Bavaria and therefore the word is used as a generic term for cola-mix-drinks. The original “Spezi” is produced by Riegele brewery of Augsburg since the 1970s.
Also the mixture differs between the many producers. While the original Spezi from Riegele brewery contains orange juice, tangerine oil, essence from orange blossoms, sugar, cola-flavour and caffeine, other producers use orange lemonade, orange flavour, artifical sweeteners or a mixture between artifical sweeteners and sugar.
In Munich, if you ask the young and trendy citizens, only one Spezi is the best – the one produced by Paulaner brewery. It’s simply called “Paulaner Spezi”. The brewery is allowed to use the brand name, but the used ingredients differ to the original Spezi of Riegele brewery. You can say in Munich, Paulaner Spezi is seriously cult. The brewery doesn’t advertise it’s Spezi or tries to have a fancy bottle. The Spezi is filled into the same brown bottle as the beer of the Paulaner brewery.
Until 2010 in beergardens the only considerable soft drink apart from water, was Spezi. But then a new trend came to beergardens: Rhabarbersaftschorle (rhubarb juice mixed with water). Especially women favour this drink, as it’s less sweet and drinking juice feels more natural ;-). So today we have a harmonic and peaceful coexistence of these two soft drinks in beergardens.
So if you are in Munich also try the different sorts of Spezi. You won’t regret it!