To focus on anything but Switzerland’s spectacular landscape may seem unnecessary. But if you’re lucky — as I was, during a trip across the high mountains of Interlaken earlier this year — you will see beyond the ski slopes, timber houses, meadows and glaciers. And at the end of a day in the snow and rain, warm your cockles with one or more Swiss alcoholic brews — a bitter liqueur, a tea-infused spirit or a digestif. These diverse flavours came as a surprise to me since I was unaware of anything but Swiss wine. Lavaux’s fine vineyards and their produce are no secrets, but there’s also locally brewed Rugenbräu, a beer.

The sharp Alpenbitter

Locally known as ‘bitter’, Appenzeller Alpenbitter is popular all over Switzerland. Prepared in Alpenzell, this liqueur is a concoction of 42 herbs and spices, alcohol, caramel, French brandy and sweet wines. Preserved in a bottle of dark glass, it is taken straight up as a shot. My first brush with Alpenbitter was when my guide Viktor invited me to The Three Tells, a local bar. The first taste was sharp and bitter. It hit me directly at the end of my tongue. The aftertaste, however, left my palate warm and I could taste the herbs. The flavour of aniseed — saunf — lingered in my mouth long after Viktor and I left The Three Tells.

Try at: The Three Tells, Irish Pub, Hauptstrasse 49, Interlaken

The comforting Münze Zwetschgen

Münze Zwetschgencan be a tongue twister. But it’s only the pronunciation of the German name that took some time getting used to. Münze Zwetschgen is plum distillate spirit served with warm mint tea. It owes its smooth taste to the diluted tea. The first aroma is that of mint, and as I took more sips, I found a fleeting taste of alcohol.

Try at: The Three Tells, Irish Pub, Hauptstrasse 49, Interlaken

The cool Rugenbräu

Interlaken is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. And it’s not just the neighbour’s language that has takers in this European country. It has also borrowed the German love for lager. Case in point: Rugenbräu, the preferred beer in Interlaken.

My first sip of Rugenbräu was above the snow-laden valleys of Grindlewald-First. After a brave attempt at zip-lining, the golden beer, stunningly clear, came to the rescue of my parched throat. The fine lacing was hard to miss as were the initial flowery notes.

Try at: Hüsi Bierhaus, Postgasse 3, Interlaken. Or go for a Rugenbräu brewery tour.

The diverse kirsch

Made of double-distilled juice of cherry, kirsch is consumed differently by everyone. It is a digestif that increases body temperature, and goes into some chocolates amd fondues.

I had it from a shot glass. As I prepared to leave the Iglu-Restaurant after dinner, Migel brought in a few glasses and a bottle with a black label. He looked shocked that one should leave without a helping of kirsch. After initial apprehensions (shooters aren’t my favourite), I decided to sample one. Sharp and potent, this drink is not for the faint-hearted. I walked back to my hotel at -3°C with cherry and bitter-almond flavours in my mouth.

Try at: IGLU-Restaurant at the ICE MAGIC (open only during winters). Or Metro Bar, Metropole Hotel, Höheweg 37, Interlaken.

Amrita Das is a freelance travel writer based in Kolkata