Venturing outside one’s home country always involves a learning curve. To blend in wherever you go, educate yourself on the country’s specific food and drink customs before departing, starting with some of the traditions below. By the time you get out of Dodge, you might not completely pass for a native, but at least you won’t stick out like a sore thumb when it comes to alcohol around the world.
1. Toasting in Georgia
No, we’re not talking about Georgia as in the summer-scorchin’, smooth-talkin’, beer-drinkin’ corner of the United States. This Georgia refers to the country across the pond where toasting plays an important role in ancient tradition and is highly revered. With at least 20 toasts per meal, you’ll get the hang of things pretty quickly, but one thing to remember is, only toast with wine. Any other beverage is considered inappropriate for the occasion, so leave your other-Georgian beer at home.
2. Every Last Drop Counts
Partaking in Kazakhstan will find you sipping a beverage similar to beer in alcoholic content but from an entirely different source: fermented mare’s milk. Despite how you feel about the custom—or the drink—make sure to pour any leftover kumis from your cup back into the jug. They seem to have caught on to the mantra “waste not, want not.”
3. Cologn-ary Arts
Apparently, in some countries, size does matter. When imbibing Cologne, Germany’s famous Kölsch beer, you’ll need to drink it from exactly the right size container, a 0.2-liter cylindrical glass, long and thin, at precisely 10 degrees Celsius, or else it will lose its taste. No wonder Germans have a reputation for being particular…
4. Social Drinking at its Finest
In Turkey, locals come together in a large group of friends to drink anise-flavored liquor called raki, which turns white upon adding cold water. This “Lion’s milk” must always be consumed in accompaniment with appetizers and friends, but never alone.
5. You First
Since the Japanese view drinking as a veneration of community and companionship, they take it personally if you pour yourself your own drink, so you’ll want to fill up others’ glasses and wait for someone to pour yours before indulging. That way, you preserve the spirit of interdependent friendship.
Wherever you go, food and beverage customs offer excellent ways to learn more about yourself and others. For more learning opportunities, check out our product page and explore our distillation equipment and liquor stills for sale.