One of the best parts of travelling is seeing different variations on common customs all around the world. All kinds of table etiquette, customs and greetings; haven't we all been caught off guard by a surprise double-cheek kiss from a European friend?
But across the world, we all share one tradition in common - we all love a cheeky bedtime brew. A nice, relaxing drink in the evening is the perfect way to finish off the day - and our overseas cousins seem to agree!
So we at Mattress Online have been busy finding and road-testing the national night-time drinks of nine countries across the world. Be sure to try them out yourself and - who knows? You might find a new all-time fave!
1. Hot Toddy (Scotland)
We're sure you'll have heard of this one! A long-time staple of Grandparents everywhere, there's nothing to get you drifting off to sleep quicker than a wee dram. They are typically made with whisky, hot water and honey, as well as combinations including cloves, cinnamon and lemon. The Hot Toddy is beautifully versatile and a Scotch classic that will easily have you snoring like a set of broken bagpipes!
Disclaimer: your partner may not thank you for that.
2. Ovaltine (Switzerland)
Another one you may recognise from supermarket shelves, Ovaltine has a long and storied history. First produced in Switzerland in 1904, this malted milk powder was ideal to add to and fortify hot milk. It was particularly popular among alpine skiers and quickly spread to other parts of the world. Ovaltine was mainly marketed to young children and of course, a cocoa version was not far behind! The original malt mix still proved popular however and similar drinks such as Horlicks are still available in shops, even over one hundred years later.
3. Golden Milk (India)
An immune-boosting turmeric tea, named 'Golden Milk' for its gorgeous deep yellow colour. This Indian beverage consists of ground or pulped turmeric root mixed with milk, cinnamon and often a little bit of honey to taste. As well as being an exotic alternative to a simple hot chocolate, the health benefits of turmeric are numerous. It has been linked to bodily repair, is a natural anti-inflammatory and has even been suggested for preventative use for those at risk of liver disease or dementia. Talk about a wonder-brew!
4. Glühwein (Germany)
A beloved staple at German Christmas markets, Glühwein roughly translates to "glow wine" due to the warm, tingly feeling you have when you drink it. It is not dissimilar to mulled wine, served hot and featuring spices such as cinnamon, cloves and star anise. Glühwein tends to be on the sweeter side however, using cherry rather than grape wine and with the addition of a split vanilla pod during cooking. Due to its sweet flavour and low alcohol content, it is often served to older children as a festive treat. They must feel very grown up drinking wine with Mum and Dad!
5. Milo (Malaysia, Canada, the Caribbean)
The second malted milk drink on our list! Milo is a popular chocolate drink, available in countries ranging from Australia to Trinidad and Tobago. It is easily recognisable by its vivid green packaging, often with a footballer on the front. It enjoys multi-national popularity but it is Malaysia who currently leads in the worldwide consumption of Milo. The high fibre content of the malt makes it popular as a 'healthier' night-time drink for kids across the world. Some of the other health features Milo boasts include extra B vitamins, calcium and magnesium.
6. Hot Saké (Japan)
Although saké is drunk at restaurants and bars throughout Japan, hot saké is enjoyed by many as a winter drink. Due to Japan's conservative culture, it is rarely drunk before evening and is often used as a dinner drink or pleasant nightcap. An alcoholic drink derived from rice and going through a fermentation process not dissimilar to beer, the high yeast content of saké is often linked positively to long and deep slumber. However, like all alcoholic drinks, it may also have a tendency to inhibit REM sleep (the most restorative level of sleep) if consumed too often or in too great a quantity.
7. Chamomile Tea (Britain)
This shouldn't really be a surprise. There's nothing us Brits won't seek to fix with a good cup of tea, but caffeine-infused black teas are no good for bedtime. This is why a number of Brits are beginning to go the herbal route, with chamomile tea ranking high as a bedtime beverage. Caffeine-free and providing natural drowsiness, chamomile is so soothing it is recommended for colds, menstrual cramps and allergies too! However, certain strains are not suitable for pregnant women so it is always important to check.
8. Hot Milk - with a twist (Australia)
Now you may be thinking, how on earth is hot milk an Australian thing? Surely it's as universal as Facebook, death and taxes!
Perhaps, but the Aussies have a unique twist on this night-time staple. Mixing in a tablespoon of golden syrup, a dash of cinnamon and a couple of drops of vanilla essence will have kids clamouring for this bedtime treat! And it's just as popular with adults too!
9. Mexican Hot Chocolate (South America)
This gorgeous take on a traditional hot choc differs across countries including Brazil, Peru, Colombia and a number of others. However in the West it tends to be known as a 'Mexican Hot Chocolate'. The one thing all these drinks recipes have in common is using grated dark chocolate as opposed to cocoa powder for a truly authentic taste. Of course, the Mayans had a distinct relationship with chocolate in its many forms. It could be used to treat all manner of ailments, soothe children or cocoa beans could be made into a bitter beverage not dissimilar to coffee which was enjoyed across the social spectrum.
Mexican hot chocolate welcomes the use of sweet spices such as cinnamon, a decadent addition of cream to the hot milk, a dash of Cointreau for the adults and for the daring, chopped chillies as well! Don't knock it until you've tried it.
Well, that's it from us! Be sure to try one or all of these lovely drinks this winter and for more tips on getting a revitalising and refreshing night's sleep, check out our guide to natural sleep remedies.
Happy dozing, everybody!