Drinking Traditions Around the WorldIf you're drinking international, do it right!
It’s a little known fact that we’re sticklers when it comes to tradition. Especially the kind that involve drinking.
For anyone who thought drinking was just about going to a bar and getting a drink, you’ll be surprised at how complicated the process can be, depending on which part of the world you’re in.
Different countries have very specific traditions that dictate social drinking norms, and ignorance of these traditions might result in a lot of lonely drinking.
Of course, we’d never let that happen to our patrons, and so we put together a list of some of the most widely followed traditions across the world.
We just had to start with the country that seemed most traditional when it came to beer consumption and general pub culture.
They’ve got rules for pretty much everything from walking into a pub to ordering your beer.
But the rules for the drinking part are simple. Each person at the table buys rounds for everyone else. This process continues until everyone in the group has bought a round each, at which point the cycle repeats. This rule is absolute.
As far as ordering your drink is concerned, don’t shout or call out to the serving staff. As impossible as it sounds, you’ve got to attract their attention non-verbally and place your order. Practicing unique facial expressions could help.
Failure to comply might result in: Social exclusion, rude stares and drinking solo in a lonely corner in the pub.
Time to familiarise yourself with something called ‘shout’. Nope, not the stout misspelled but more a term for responsibility delegation while drinking.
The first ‘shouter’ in a group buys the bottle of alcohol and fills the shot glasses of everyone in the group. Once a round of this is completed, the bottle is then passed on to the next person and this ritual is repeated until the bottle is empty.
This doesn’t stop the merrymaking though. The next shouter simply buys a new bottle and the merry process continues until all the drinkers have bought a bottle each.
Failure to comply might result in: Receiving choice insults in Spanish, Aymara and Ayacucho Quechua.
If you’re drinking here, you’d do well to have your wits about you.
The custom here is to keep pouring alcohol into an empty glass. To signal that you’re through, you’re usually supposed to place a coaster over your glass.
And while toasts are being made, make serious eye contact with everyone you clink your glasses with, followed by the cheer “Nozdravy”. And while you’re doing that, make sure your arms don’t cross anyone else’s. And while you’re at it, make sure you place your glass back on the table only after every last drop has been consumed. And while you’re at that…ok we’re just kidding. That’s pretty much it.
Failure to comply might result in: A very drunk you.
There are these things called Holes in the Wall in Italy, where people just grab a quick pint by the roadside and leave as quickly as they arrived. The whole process is quite intriguing, and you’d imagine a spy movie like setting, where these double as information centres. Anyway, spy or not, finish your beer quickly and leave. No dawdling. And this process is repeated at different intervals, four times a day.
Failure to comply might result in: Not giving the impression of being a super busy spy.
Japanese are famously traditional people. And their drinking rituals also reflect this.
For the Japanese, drinking is a time they show their friendship and camaraderie towards others. To ensure that the friendly vibe isn’t shattered, never pour your own drink. Unless you don’t want to drink with people ever again.
This process of pouring a cup for the others continues until everyone in the group has completed their turn, so keeping the group small might also be advisable for the sake of your sake consuming capacity. See what we did there?
Failure to comply might result in: We’d rather not say. The Japanese are pretty hardcore with punishments relating to honour and ethics. It can get gruesome.
If you’re looking to have down some drinks to get a quick buzz, this is probably not the place. The French take their alcohol consumption pretty seriously, and you’re expected to enjoy and savour it. Practices like downing and sculling might result in them regarding you as some sort of primate. And make sure you wait until everyone else has had their cups filled (and if you’re pouring, pour only about half. Never, ever full! Remember the primate?) before you raise your hand for a toast. Of course, your hand shouldn’t be too high or too low.
Failure to comply might result in: Frigid stares that result in a strong desire of wanting to shrink to microscopic size.
These guys know how to party. But some rules have to be in place. While drinking here, never pour your own drink. It’s considered quite rude.
The norm is to first pour the drinks for the senior people at the table, so you will have to wait patiently for your turn. Unless you’re a 100 years old.
Once your drink is poured, turn away from seniors while drinking as a mark of respect. And if you’re doing the pouring, only do so when a glass is completely empty. You might also want to keep some Karaoke numbers handy, to belt later into the evening. Everyone else is going to be do it.
Failure to comply might result in: Not getting to sing ‘Summer of 69’ after having secretly practiced it for over a week. Admit it.
There is a certain beer called the Kolsch. But this isn’t just any beer. For starters, it’s forbidden to brew this outside the Cologne region. Yup. Forbidden.
Now that you have an idea of how serious this Kolsch business is, it’s only natural that it has a bunch of rules on how to consume it. For starters, you’re only supposed to drink it at the temperature of 10°C. And only in a very specific kind of glass called Stange or ‘pole’, called so because of its appearance. Out here, to get the attention of the server, it’s all about intense eye contact. Sounds tiresome, but you’ll be surprised how quickly you get served.
Failure to comply might result in: Annoyed German bartenders. You never, ever want to have to deal with annoyed German bartenders.
Russians are famous for their Vodka consumption. Some studies say it goes up to 18 litres of pure alcohol per person annually. And for a race that consumes so much alcohol on an average, there have to be some solid drinking tradition in place. But it’s really quite simple. Firstly, consuming Vodka in any form but neat is unacceptable. Adding mixers like juices or aerated drinks is considered blasphemous. Secondly, make sure you’ve finished all prior work before you sit down for a drink, because once you open a bottle you don’t leave the table until the bottle is empty.
Failure to comply might result in: Drinking juice alone. And yes, it’s as pathetic as it sounds.
Shouters aren’t just a Peruvian thing. If you’re in the land down under, you’d do well to know what a ‘shou’t is, if you’re keen on making some ‘mates’. And it’s pretty much the same rule, with one person buying the round and the next person following suit, until the whole group is covered. And not buying your round is considered to be revolting social behaviour.
Failure to comply might result in: Being introduced to some Aussie slang. And hanging out with Kangaroos for company.
Now that you’re armed with some good, traditional values, go forth and explore the booziness of the world.