A few years ago, a couple we knew invited us to visit the cabin they rent out every August on the Russian River. We're no strangers to cabin trips, but Ivy and Andre always stayed a week or more, and we realized when we arrived that meant they'd done some serious shopping. Let's just say the bar was well stocked. They also had a large box of something we'd never heard of before - Underberg.
It just so happened that we were both having some unpleasant indigestion that day (McDonald's breakfast may have been the culprit) and as a result we had to stay behind for the big river tubing trip. Skeptically, we decided to each try one an Underberg, as it advertised itself as a "digestive herbal tonic that promotes a feeling of well-being."
It doesn't taste good. It's basically herbal booze, packaged in it's trademarked paper-wrapped tiny bottle. Think Fernet, but uh, yuckier. And yet, within just a few minutes, we did feel better. Maybe it was the secret recipe of herbal infusion or maybe it was that we'd basically had a 40 proof shot, but our stomachs felt better and we were revived. Sold!
Unfortunately, Underberg is both hard to locate in the States, and very expensive. German restaurants in the Bay Area usually sell it for around $4 a bottle, and you can buy the large boxes at BevMo, but you're still paying nearly $3 per bottle.
So one of our first missions in Germany was to find a source of Underberg. The MarketHalle in Stuttgart sells individual bottles for 1 Euro! Score! Better yet, our local grocery store stocks Underberg in a variety of sizes, including a decorative tin that we just had to get, for even cheaper. And given the heavy starch and meat-based meals that are mostly unavoidable, Underberg isn't just a cute curiosity - it's a necessity!