The world is a diverse playground and without diversity it would be a mighty dull place to be in, we all know that. Experiencing the local cuisines is one of the many charms of travelling, with so many countries and unique cultures to learn about, you’d be surprised to know that there is a similar uniqueness when it comes to drinking traditions too. Have a drink or two with the natives to explore the quirky drinking traditions, you might as well find out a thing or two about their distinct traditions.
Let’s take you through some of the wackiest and fascinating drinking cultures around the world.
British culture is so much more than people enjoying their tea. People there LOVE to drink and it is a close contender to the title of beer pilgrimage, well the next in line is Germany! The Brits have ‘drinking sessions’ well in place, rule of the thumb is that each person at the table buys drinks for the entire group until they have all bought a round each.
Oh the Germans and their much celebrated love for beer! In many regions, Frühschoppen is generally understood to be a tradition of drinking before midday. Thanks to astonishing production and consumption of beer, beer gardens and the famous Oktoberfest, Germany has become one of the most sought after destinations for the beer lovers around the world. No trip would be complete without trying out local beers and the natives of Cologne are particular about drinking ‘Kosch’ which traditionally should be consumed roughly at 10 °C.
The Icelanders have taken their love for alcohol to an altogether next level by dedicating two holidays a year solely to alcohol! First of March is reserved as Beer day or Bjórdagurinn / Bjórdagur. It is celebrated to honour the elimination of prohibition of beer which lasted from 1st January 1915 to 1st March 1989. Yet another listed public holiday is the first weekend of August called as Merchant’s weekend or Verslunarmannahelgi, which is considered as the biggest party weekend.
Italians are more of wine drinkers and drinking in Italian culture is usually associated with meal time. They like to have aperitivo is an alcoholic beverage meant to stimulate the appetite. Aperitivo is usually a cocktail, wine or liqueur. Similarly digestivo is served after meal, it is usually infused with herbs which aids in digestion. So much love for drinking!
Spaniards believe that you earn the curse of seven years of bad sex if you toast with water. Whether in Spain or not, we bet that you surely wouldn’t want to let this nightmarish curse befall you!
People here are as proud of their beer as French are of their wine! Czechs toast to ‘Na zdraví’ which means ‘to health’ and look at each person in the eye as they clink glasses with them. This custom must be followed to avoid seven years of bad sex!
French have a cultivated drinking tradition- they savour their drinks. They are pretty prim and proper in their drinking ways, Frenchmen serve the ladies first and the glasses are to be only half-filled. While in a gathering, they wait for everyone’s glasses to be filled and whoever serves the wine in the gathering makes sure not to fill their glass as it is considered rude. It is customary to look in the eyes as you clink glasses with people and you never cross your arms over theirs.
Russians are known to be vodka lovers. They make sure to eat something before drinking- zakuska, as they call it and toasting before the drink is also very important there. Remember to pour your vodka last if you’re proposing a toast! Russians usually pair their beer with dry fish and vodka follows pickles.
They thoroughly enjoy their beer and beer drinking is quite a tradition for Peruvians. Traditional Peruvian way of drinking is a reflection of their kindness and generosity which involves sharing the drink among the group. Usually one person in the group orders a large bottle with a glass and the drink is to be shared using only that one glass.
The Japanese and South Koreans love to follow nuanced age-old traditions. They also love to extend camaraderie toward each other by pouring a cup of drink for each other. They consider it outright rude to pour your own drink and elders must be served first, they also make sure that no one’s glass is empty.
Whichever part of the world you travel to, remember to make your trip more memorable by mingling with the natives. Being respectful of the traditions and culture is an obvious prerogative one must follow. And as it goes, there’s beauty in uniqueness and people who drink share a strange kind of bond that way so go forth and clink glasses the local way.
P.S. Dear teetotalers, please keep heart for you can find other things to explore!