How to Get Politely Tanked in Various Countries
Sometimes, when you’re jet-setting around the world, all you want is a good drink. But what to order? If you’re a little confused as to what you should imbibe, here’s a quick rundown of a few choice boozes from a few choice countries.
I’m in Brazil
Cachaça. If you’re like me, you hate white rum because it smells like coconut sunblock and tastes like vodka mixed with coconut sunblock. Thankfully, cachaça exists, meaning I can continue my quest to not drink white rum while still enjoying lowball drinks with muddled limes in them. The classic way to drink it is in a caipirinha (with limes, ice and sugar), but it’s quite versatile, so mixing it with other fruit juices can also work. Treat it kind of like rum and party like you’re 18 and flaunting a fake ID again.
I’m in the Southern U.S.
Moonshine. Everyone always treats vodka like it’s the best thing to mix with anything ever, but those people are LYING LIARS WHO LIE. I hate vodka, so moonshine is the go-to mix-with-stuff-in-my-fridge spirit. The plain stuff can be dumped in whatever poor excuse you have for mix kicking around, but the flavoured kinds (cherry and blackberry are common) are beautiful with juices or tonic. You can either buy it legally in most liquor stores or illegally from the back of a truck. Either way, the best way to drink moonshine is in someone’s backyard, so try to make some friends while there. Moonshine don’t need no damn classy bar.
I’m in Iceland
Brennivín. Have you ever had a pile of fermented rotting shark carcass sitting in front of you, leaving you with the burning question of what you should drink with it? Surprise, the answer isn’t hemlock, it’s actually Brennivín, a caraway-flavoured herbal liquor that’s served as cold as possible. It’s usually enjoyed straight, but a bartender in Reykjavik created the “Nohito” cocktail, which contains Brennivín, Martini Bianco, dark rum, lemon, Bols Peppermint and ginger ale. Eat it with some hàkarl, because nothing washes down fermented shark like a cold glass of caraway-flavoured booze.
I’m in Jordan or Israel
Arak. Fun fact time! The name actually comes from the Arabic word for “sweat”, which makes it all the more appealing. It tastes like anise and is traditionally mixed with water and poured over ice, which turns it the colour of watered-down skim milk (you also don’t reuse the glass afterward; instead, you get a clean one and start anew). It can also be repurposed for cocktails.
I’m in Latvia
Riga Black Balsam. Again, it’s another anise-flavoured liquor, so if you’re a fan of liquorice, you’re set. If you’re going to try this one, put it in something warmer, like tea, coffee or warm black currant juice if you’re feeling mildly adventurous. Also, much like that weird Lady Gaga perfume, it is a thick black liquid. But unlike that Lady Gaga perfume, smearing it on your body is a bad idea. Or a great one—depends on what you’re into. If you want someone to guide you, check out places in Riga that specialize in Balsam cocktails, like B Bar.
I’m in Ethiopia
Tej. Tej is actually a honey wine (or “mead, ” if you’re feeling sassy) that is found in tej bars, called tej betoch. It tastes sweet, but the alcohol content will kick you in the face, so be careful. While it’s perfectly fine on its own, you can also mix it with citrus juices and rums to make a cocktail (if you can’t make it to Ethiopia, Nunu Restaurant in Toronto makes a tej cocktail that uses dark spiced rum and limes).
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