To know a country is to know its drink, and if there’s one thing that unites us all it’s our love of sharing a tipple and raising a toast at the end of the day. Whether it’s vodka-infused drunken ditties or a heartwarming cuppa with friends, drinking customs and traditions are at the heart of every country.
We’ve scoured the globe to find all the drinks you need to try if you’re someone who loves to test your taste buds. So pull up a bar stool and take a slurp – things are about to get tasty!
As much as you suspect otherwise, the Mongolians insist that their local delicacy of Airag (fermented mare’s milk) is the only beverage of choice to quench your thirst. Take a sip if you dare, and earn your place in a Mongolian drinking circle.
A cut above your bog-standard cappuccino, Vietnam’s infamous ‘weasel coffee’ is made using beans that have been digested and excreted by weasels. This process is said to give the coffee a richer taste, making it quite a novel way to start the day.
A bottle of rice wine containing the body of a cobra, this controversial drink is known for having extra bite. Fermented over many years and infused with venom, Laos’ infamous snake wine is certainly not to be recommended.
Prepare for a taste explosion when you sample Brunei’s national drink, ABC. Made by blending ice, sago pearls, red beans, noodles and grass jelly, this colourful concoction must be tasted to be believed.
Spicy and invigorating, Fiji’s traditional Kava is a vital part of its national identity. It’s said that the spirit used to be produced only by female virgins, who pre-chew the Kava root into a pulp to accelerate the fermentation process – tasty!
Kick back in the Cook Islands with a glass of Tumunu, a drink made from fermented oranges, topped off with ice and traditionally drunk from a hollow coconut. Despite its richness, this is a tropical punch that will totally chill you out.
Horse Sperm Shots
In a now world-renowned Wellington pub, you may notice something a little different about your round of shots. Known locally as ‘hoihoi tatea’, these drinks consist of horse sperm and apple flavouring. They were created after the owner grew tired of serving
North America and the Caribbean
Rum, red wine, honey – so far so good. This beverage is a firm favourite in its country of origin, and is given its characteristically woody flavour from being soaked and served in a bottle of fresh bark – tree-licious!
It’s impossible to visit Canada and not be aware of the country’s fascination with a drink that seems like it shouldn’t really exist. Clamato is created with tomato juice and clam broth, and is said to mirror a traditional Venetian spaghetti dish.
If you call yourself a meat lover, you need to sample the USA’s latest addition to the drinks market – Bacon Vodka. Made by infusing vodka with the essence of peppered bacon strips, this is the kind of flavour that can only be consumed in shots.
Central and South America
Get back to nature in Bolivia with a refreshing pint of Chicha, made from fermented corn, peanuts or quinoa. It’s considered bad luck to drink it alone though, and make sure to pour some on the floor for Pachamama (the Quechua equivalent of Mother Nature).
Originally used as Viagra, the juice of blended frogs native to islands on Peru’s Lake Titicaca has become somewhat of a delicacy. It’s even prescribed as treatment for a variety of other ailments, including acute stress and chronic pain. We say avoid this one as the frogs used are now a critically endangered species from remote Lake Titicaca.
Sweet-toothed travellers will be in heaven with a glass of Guyana’s Peanut Punch, a syrupy delight made from peanut butter, milk, sugar and spice. A warming mugful of this seems like a bedtime treat, but is actually marketed as an energy drink.
To tuck into breakfast the Danish way, pair your Cheerios with a shot of Gammel Dansk, a strong and powerful spirit. Why not give your morning meal that extra little kick, and raise a toast over toast?
Made from fermenting a selection of fruit including grapes, pears, plums and cherries, this Bulgarian beverage is eye-watering to say the least – it has been known the reach the dizzy heights of 90% proof!
A bitter liqueur made by fermenting artichokes, this is an Italian speciality commonly enjoyed as a ‘digestivo’ – a soothing aid after a heavy meal. It is also often mixed with orange juice to make a fruity cocktail.
Combat the steady heat of Kazakhstan by swigging on a cooling glass of fermented camel milk. This potent national delicacy is commonly drunk in the country’s desert regions, and readily offered to tourists from roadside stalls.
Smoothie lovers will delight in a glass of Iran’s ever-popular Dugh, a refreshing treat made from yoghurt, salt and optional mint and cucumber. This creamy drink is a cooling antidote to the beating midday sun.
Uganda is famed for its fiery banana gin, and there’s no better way to get to know the locals than to join them in a drinking session. Due to illegal gin homebrewing, Uganda now has a large, underground banana trade.
You haven’t truly experienced South Africa until you have sampled a glass of Amarula. Produced using the fruit of the Marula tree, this creamy liqueur is also a hit with local wildlife who deliberately intoxicate themselves by eating fermented Marula fruit.
Keeping cool in the burning Namibian sun is a lot easier when chilling out with a friend and bottle of Mataku, a traditional wine made from watermelon – a much more refreshing choice than a glass of Shiraz