Cultural differences 4: beverages

April 10, 2010

When I was writing Conflict of Interest, I had Aiden hand Dawn a glass of orange juice while they prepared for bed. My beta reader informed me that orange juice is not something most Americans would drink at night.

In Germany, drinking juice is acceptable at any time of the day. We often mix it with water, preferably carbonated mineral water. “Apfelschorle” (short for “Apfelsaftschorle”) — that’s apple juice with carbonated water — is very popular.

I’ve been asked about the pronunciation of “Apfelschorle,” so here it is:

In another scene of Conflict of Interest, I have Dawn drink orange juice at New Year’s Eve. In Germany, when we celebrate and drink to something with champagne, the people who don’t drink alcohol or don’t drink much either drink orange juice or mix orange juice with champagne/sparkling wine.

I learned that this is not done in the US either. Instead, my beta reader told me that Dawn might drink apple juice or sparkling cider at New Year’s Eve.


I wondered why you’d give cider to a person who doesn’t drink alcohol… until I found out that in the US, cider does not contain alcohol.

In Europe, cider is an alcoholic beverage. Here in Germany, we have apple wine and apple must. In the US, the alcoholic cider is apparently known as hard cider.

So I’m learning to be more careful about what I let my characters eat and drink 🙂



  1. Yup, gotta have Martinelli’s at the New Year’s Eve party! (No wonder I make a great designated driver.)

  2. What’s Martinelli’s? I take it that’s a nonalcoholic beverage?

  3. Yup, it’s sparking cider… the US kind. 🙂


  4. Ah, so basically it’s just carbonated apple juice, right? I think you’d like our Apfelschorle 🙂

  5. I’ve been craving Apfelschorle all day! Now if I could only pronounce that word… 🙂

  6. We can’t have you uneducated about the pronunciation of “Apfelschorle,” so I added a little sound bite to the blog post. 😉

  7. I’ve listened to the sound bite a few times, and I’ve concluded that I will not be able to move to Germany any time in the near future – the language is way too difficult to pronounce!

  8. I admit that German is complicated. I wouldn’t want to learn it as a second language.

    And to make it even more difficult, we have dialects. A person from Southern Germany wouldn’t be readily understood by someone from North Germany. I’ve been told I have a “cute accent” when I thought I was speaking perfect standard German 🙂

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