Drinking & Nightlife
The traditional Estonian toast of terviseks translates as ‘your health’ (it’s much easier to remember if you think ‘topsy-turvy sex’). Beer is the favourite tipple in Estonia and the local product is very much in evidence. The biggest brands are Saku and A Le Coq, which come in a range of brews. In recent years the craft beer revolution that's overtaken the world has found fertile ground in Estonia, with dozens of microbreweries producing tasty drops, many with a surprisingly high alcohol percentage (Põhjala's brews are well worth looking out for). On Saaremaa and Hiiumaa you’ll also find homemade beer, which is flatter than lager but still the perfect refreshment on a hot day. In winter Estonians drink mulled wine, the antidote to cold wintry nights.
Estonia’s ties to Russia have led to vodka’s enduring popularity. Viru Valge is the best brand, and it comes in a range of flavours, which some Estonians mix with fruit juices (try the vanilla-flavoured vodka mixed with apple juice).
Vana Tallinn is in a class of its own. No one quite knows what the syrupy liqueur is made from, but it’s sweet and strong and has a pleasant aftertaste. It’s best served neat, in coffee, over ice with milk, over ice cream, or in champagne or dry white wine.
Even without any vineyards to call their own, wine bars are quite fashionable, especially in the larger cities. However, few offer an extensive range by the glass. The capital also boasts the largest wine cellars in the Baltic and plenty of medieval settings in which to imbibe.