15 Things You're Doing Horribly Wrong While Drinking Abroad
You know how to handle your liquor at home -- but what about when you're far away from the safe confines of the local T.G.I Fridays? What then?! Because you want to enjoy your drink abroad without calling down the wrath of the locals, we've put together this handy guide to global drinking etiquette.
Australia -- Drink with shouting parties
Go for a few beers on the beach with some Aussies, and you'll be expected to "shout" -- not at someone, but for a round of drinks. Shouting is when members of a group take turns buying a round. So to keep the brews flowing, and your wallet a little heavier, drink with a shouting party. It's always bottoms up Down Under!
Ireland -- Make sure you get a round in
Another culture with a firm belief in the rounds system, the Irish are such proficient imbibers that there's a verb dedicated to the nation -- ever heard of making something "Irish"? (If you haven't, get acquainted; it essentially means turning a non-alcoholic beverage into an alcoholic one.) Just be sure, when you grab yourself a pint at Sean's Bar, that you don't forget your friends -- they won't fail to "get a round in" when it's their time to buy.
Hungary -- Don't knock glasses, or else
Whatever you do, don't clink someone's glass during a toast in Hungary. You'll mightily offend the clinkee, if that's even a word; the act apparently has something to do with the executions of the 13 martyrs of Arad… which took place in 1849. Feel free to drop that tidbit into the conversation to impress your hosts.
Korea -- Pour and receive your soju with two hands
If you're on a night out in Korea, chances are you'll be sipping your booze at a karaoke bar. Before you have a go at your K-pop jam though, don't forget your manners. Never pour your own drink until your elders' cups are full (someone else'll serve yours). It's also custom to pour and receive drinks with both hands, and to turn to the side when pouring -- coordination counts with this one, but no one'll mind if you're a little sloppy with your soju as the night goes on (drinking excessive amounts is pretty standard).
Japan -- Don't dare pour your own sake, fool
As in Korea, you'll need to pour everyone else's drinks first. Hold off on pouring your sake -- someone's bound to return the favor. Or better yet, get a geisha to pour one for you.
Russia -- Chug that vodka before you put your cup down
In Russia, it's a rule to never put a glass down that still has alcohol in it. Also, when done drinking, don't put your glass on the table; put it where you'll no doubt be by the end of the night, on the floor.
Italy -- Eat something
Italians love their food. So much so that when drinking, they're also probably eating too. Hit a traditional wine bar like Al Brindisi -- billed as the world's oldest bar -- where they serve small plates with your tipple. Buon appetito!
Denmark -- Don't break your gaze as you raise your glass
Maintaining eye contact at toast-time is considered a courtesy to your host. So do it, or you may not get a second pour!
Germany -- When toasting, stare your eyes off
But not because it's courteous. Don't even think about looking away as you raise your stein for a toast in the Fatherland -- break eye contact, and you can look forward to seven years of bad sex. Though it's hard to believe your Hofbrau could bring you anything but goodness, it's the absolute truth.
France -- You better hope you're still staring
Aside from putting your sex life on the line (yea, another bad seven years in the sack await you in France if you're not careful), the country boasts some downright weird drinking rules. Like, never fill a glass of alcohol over the halfway mark (a glass half empty, surely?), and sip on your drink slowly. You should also never drink before everyone else has been served, but that's just common courtesy.
China -- Toast so many times
As France slowly sips from its half-empty cups, China fills its glasses all the way to the top. They also love a good toast, often offering many during a meal or special occasion. (Just make sure you're holding your glass lower than anyone older than you -- it's polite.) Indeed, drinking is so sociable an activity in China that doing it alone is considered impolite..
Israel -- Only toast if you mean it
Don't even think about going all Chinese-toast-like in Israel, as the act of toasting is taken more seriously here, and reserved for formal occasions. It's also totally acceptable to drink outdoors, and you're certain to see people sipping their brews street-side.
Greece -- Go easy on that ouzo
The only bouzos you're gonna see ripping shots of ouzo in Helios' Taverna are American bozos. Get it? Bouzos? It's all about sipping with this anise-flavored spirit, so relax and enjoy the evening. Opa!
Spain -- Mix it up and drink outside
While the vino flows freely en España, and locals might invite you to join them on the town plaza for some botellón-ing (drinking various amalgams of booze from large bottles), drinking in excess is uncommon. More of a social thing, imbibing is less about the destination and more about the journey of enjoying a fiesta.
Turkey -- Order for everyone
Drink a glass of Raki (or 'Lion's Milk"), the unofficial national alcoholic drink of Turkey, leisurely over a meal with friends. If you're with a group of people, it is impolite to order your own glass -- instead, order a bottle for the whole table. Just make sure you have enough Lira in your hidden money belt to cover the check.
Chloe Pantazi is an editorial assistant on Thrillist's travel team. She's spent many a summer in Cyprus, and can drink Keo beer like a champ. Ouzo is another story. Follow her on Twitter at @ChloePantazi.
This article was originally published on 2/14/14 and has been updated.