Work done, a target is achieved, new deal or a first meeting – “Let’s go for a drink” is the most common icebreaker across the world. But try saying this in Saudi and you are sure to be greeted with glares or worse a severe punishment. Or pour wine while watching football in the US and you would speedily be the new sport.
Drinking alcohol is a serious business of having fun, and there are rules. Apparently, rules do help “Control” the fun. Here’s a quick look at some interesting drinking traditions across the world.
Russia – Vodka
Russians may refuse water but never vodka. Beware, they’re purists. It is always neat –mixing juice is blasphemy. Giant shot glasses filled with chilled vodka, loud toasts before drinking, shot downed in one go, pause for pickles and repeat. All empty bottles are relegated under the table, and a bottle once opened MUST be finished. Beer, wine, whisky is also consumed equally lovingly and copiously. Growing up with and around alcohol, their tolerance levels are extremely high. If you try to match their speed, you’re in for a crash!
This one is fun:You need to learn from this Russian Girl how to drink Vodka!!
Japan – Work hard, party harder
Japan is equated with grinding hard work and no-nonsense. But once it’s evening, the Japanese love to party even with their business associates (horror!) and not just on Friday (Whoa!). But yes, RULES again! Participation is mandatory else treated as a major offence. Pour for everyone else but not you. Elders first and wait for someone else to pour your drink. Rings with the Indian tradition of serving, doesn’t it?
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Italy – No wine, no dine!
Italians stretch their meals for hours. Food and drink go hand in hand – A pre-dinner aperitif, wine to accompany the meal, a dessert wine – the list goes on. Woven in the social fabric and festivities, wine, Campari, vermouth flow freely and kids get their first taste of wine at home itself. The lively Italian Aperitivo, traditionally a pre-dinner drink with snacks like olive, nuts, potato chips, is a fantastic way to socialise and a must-have experience.
Germany – ‘Prost’ to ‘Oktoberfest’
Germans love their beer passionately. In fact, it’s one of the few places where people can hang around at public places with a beer in hand. Their extremely popular Oktoberfest has already spread across the world. Did you know? While in most countries, alcohol makes its appearance lunch onwards, in Germany, morning’s fine too. A specific beer ‘Hefeweizen’ is consumed before noon. Never too early to start, eh?
UK – The next round on me
Brits love their pubs. Friday’s see offices turn desolate early as pub-hopping and Friday go hand-in-hand. In a bar, one person from the group gets up and gets everyone a round of drinks. “How nice?” you think. But remember, the next round is on you. Everyone in the group has to buy a round, and if you simply cannot drink that much, then please don’t even join the rounds. Leaving in the middle would brand you a cheapskate and incur the famed Brit cold displeasure.
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Netherlands – Kopstootje (head-butt)
Jenever is the traditional liquor of Netherland, extremely popular with an even more wacky method of drinking. It’s filled to the brim in tulip-shaped glasses. To drink, bend from the waist and slurp directly from the glass doggy style. Quickly follow this with a beer and go back and forth till you finish. Not for the weak-hearted!
Read if you plan to try Kopstootje: Top 10 Ways to Get Over a Hangover
Hungary – Cheers but no clinks
Raising your glass to clink and cheer? Stop. In Hungary, a rebellion against Austria was squashed in 1849 and the revolutionaries were executed. The enemies had then clinked glasses in celebration. Since then, clinking is associated with this horrific memory, and it’s an absolute faux pas.
France – Manners and Appearances all the way
With its elaborate culture and focus on niceties, the French list is longer. Toast with a ‘Santé’, don’t be shy and look the person in the eye. Seriously, or 7 years of bad sex is the curse that awaits (Gasp!). Also, wait for everyone to finish toasting and do not keep the glass down without a sip.
Do you’ve any more fun traditions to contribute? We’d love to hear in comments.
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