If you ask for a “Spezi” in a restaurant in Germany, then the most probable drink that you will be served is probably going to be a mixture of cola with orange lemonade.
However, the term is actually a registered trademark: Spezi® and belongs to an organisation called the “Spezi Markengetränkeverband Deutschland e.V.” which is a collection of 13 breweries that produce a drink by the same name.
Breweries? Yes, not only was I not aware of the trademark until recently, but even less did I suspect that the drink used to be a type of beer.
And yet the product is familiar. I have drunk products labelled as “Spezi” in the past, probably not realising that I was drinking something special. It’s even a slightly different mixture, as it contains orange juice.
However, other products on the market using the orange lemonade recipe, “Mezzo Mix” for example, which is produced by Coca Cola, are still referred to colloquially as “Spezi”. Not by their manufacturers, of course, but by the people buying and drinking them.
Some restaurants even mix it themselves from Coca Cola and Fanta, or Pepsi and Miranda, and write it on the menu as “Spezi”. I wonder how many of them have no idea that they are using a trademark without selling authentic product?
There are also regional names in some parts of Germany for the mixture of cola and orange lemonade. My favourite has to be “Kalter Kaffee” (cold coffee), but particularly confusing is the fact that it is apparently called “Diesel” in Cologne – anywhere else that refer to a mixture of cola with beer.
Spezi on the other hand can still mean a drink mixed with bier in some areas, or even with spirits.
So what does the unsuspecting tourist do when they want to try this particular German drink?
Ask the waiter would seem to be a reasonable suggestion if you are visiting someone new, unless the menu specifically refers to the trademarked drink.