Nope, the name Club-Mate has nothing to do with a night club buddy – although this is pretty much the drink’s role in Berlin’s party scene. Club-Mate is a caffeinated, non-alcoholic soft drink based on the South American yerba mate plant. Despite its main ingredient, its origin lies in the center of Germany where the Loscher brewery runs the productions.
Club-Mate has been around since the 1920s already, known as “Sekt-Bronte” back then. Though it was only in the last decade that the energy drink started a crazy hype. After it had first taken off in the hacker scene, Berlin club-goers discovered the soda and its energizing effect for their excessive partying – because “Kreuzberger Nächte sind lang…” (Kreuzberg’s nights are long), as an old German song goes.
Whoever has tried mate in Latin America will realize quickly that the taste of the German energy drink only has a slight resemblance to the original tea. The German soft drink is less bitter and more sugary. The soda has a rather high amount of caffeine – about twice as much as Coca Cola. Due to that, it functions as a popular alternative to other energizing drinks like Red Bull or Monster. At the same time, it has a way more natural taste to it.
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Drinking Club-Mate Like A Real Berliner
While many young people drink plain Club-Mate during the day for pure refreshment like Coca Cola or a substitute for coffee, it is usually consumed as a mix drink in bars and night clubs. The most popular version is Vodka Mate with a shot of vodka, as the name implies. It is very common that people receive a full bottle of Club-Mate at the counter from which they first have to take a hearty gulp. Like this, the bar tender can top it up with vodka. Another beloved blend is “Turbo-Mate”, Club-Mate mixed with sparkling wine, a great refreshing beverage for daytime drinking in summer.
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When you try Berlin’s most popular party drink, make sure to give it several goes. It is a bit of an unusual taste that many people first have to get used to! And if you still don’t like it after all, Berliner Luft, a delicious peppermint liqueur may be the better choice for you.
Where To Buy Club-Mate?
Although “Mate” isn’t originally from Berlin, the drink’s availability has almost been limited to the German capital for many years. There, Club-Mate is absolutely ubiquitous and can be bought pretty much everywhere – in supermarkets, Späti-kiosks or even street food stalls. And since hipsters love to travel from time to time, the golden drink has gained in popularity far beyond Germany’s borders. Whether in Spain, Turkey or even South America, some cool cafés or bars now import the energy drink for their hip guests.
These days, the selection is also not limited to the original anymore. With the soft drink’s growing popularity, the brewery has diversified its range and added new variations to keep the Mate lovers happy. But also to keep up with all the other alternatives that have been flooding the market over the last years. Brands like Mio Mio Mate, Mate Mate, Fora Power Mate or Buenos Mate all jumped on the hype train of lemonades flavored with the South American plant.
If you just want some variation to the original, here is an overview of all available Club-Mate flavors:
- Club-Mate Original
- Club-Mate ICE-T-Kraftstoff with a higher caffeine concentration
- Club-Mate Granat, a summery version refined with pomegranate
- Club-Mate Winter-Edition with Christmas spices
Now, first get yourself some “Mate” and then check out our recipe for a delicious Turbo-Mate below!
1 bottle Club-Mate
1 bottle sparkling wine
Put ice cubes in a large tumbler
Fill the glass up to two thirds with sparkling wine
Top it off with Club-Mate
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