Alcoholic Drinks from Cologne to Try that Aren't Kölsch

Friends toasting at the bar | © kaicho20/Pixabay
Friends toasting at the bar | © kaicho20/Pixabay
If you’re at the bar in Cologne and someone calls for shots, it’s best to know what your options are. Next to tequila, Sambuca, etc., Cologne restaurants have some more unusually flavoured liqueurs and spirits in their collection that you might like – or hate. Here are the six most popular.


It’s unlikely that you will come back from a night out in Cologne without having been passed a fluorescent green and sweet smelling shot of Flimm. The woodruff drink first made an appearance in 2008 and now is a staple drink in most of Cologne’s pubs and bars. Don’t let the colour put you off. The shot goes down quite smoothly.

Alcohol content: 17.0% vol.

Flimmtastisch #flimm #flimm

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The blackcurrant liqueur is often waved aside as a ‘girly drink’, not only because of its name – which can be translated as ‘sis’, as in short for ‘sister’ – but also because the mild and super sweet flavour makes it more popular among women. That being said, it’s widely available in bars, clubs and restaurants, and a lot of people find it quite refreshing.

Alcohol content: 15.0 % vol.


The parting of the ways comes when someone orders a round of Kettenfett (chain grease). Some love it, and others absolutely despise it. A brief look at the shot glass explains the name. The liquorice liqueur is thick, sticky and has a distinct smell. The taste is as intense as you’d expect, but those who like liquorice will appreciate the intensely sweet and salty flavour – not without grimacing though.

Alcohol content: 25.0 % vol.


A mix of tomato juice, chilli, pepper and double-distilled wheat schnapps has taken the Cologne bar scene by storm. Inspired by the success of a spicy tomato schnapps in Hamburg, two Cologne barkeepers experimented with the idea and decided to produce their version. Today their Mexikölner enjoys cult status.

Alcohol content: 15.0% vol.


It doesn’t take too long until you end up back drinking Kölsch in this city. Arguably Cologne’s most traditional drink is the German equivalent to a boilermaker and essentially two drinks. Here a glass of Kölsch followed by a shot of corn schnapps. It’s mostly served in the local breweries and corner pubs, but corn schnapps is experiencing a renaissance among younger people.

Alcohol content: beer ~ 4.8 % vol. / corn schnapps ~ 32.0 %