Drinking local stuff around the world

I get annoyed with people who travel miles across the world and then order Heineken at a bar in China, or a Coca Cola Light in Africa.

Also, as we all know, marketing can deceive authentic tourism: Australian’s do not drink Fosters, Mexican tequilas don’t normally have worms in them, and Spaniards do not eat Paella for dinner, nor do they drink sangria regularly.

So, knowing what locals really drink is culturally as important as knowing what locals really eat, and is one of the joys of learning about the place you are visiting.

I always ask for the local drink (and how to drink it local style!) when I go to a bar in a foreign country: be it the locally brewed beer (Toohey’s Old Beer that I drank with raspberry (!) all the time in Australia) or a nasty red wine-with-cola (Calimocho — drank here in Spain when you want to get drunk on the cheap), or an expensive Spanish Vermouth.On that note, our friends at Condé Nast Traveller have put together a list of what to drink in a variety of places around the world (other than the obvious); here’s what they say:

  • USA : Kentucky: Bourbon — a whiskey distilled from rye, barley malt, corn and yeast. California: Meritage Wine — an American version of Bordeaux.
  • Douro Valley, Portugal: Vintage Port
  • Islay, Scotland: Single Malt Scotch
  • Barbados: Dark-Aged Rum
  • Jalisco, Mexico: Tequila Reposado (means settled). They say this tequila is more mellow than the silver one we are familiar with.
  • Cognac, France: Cognac
  • Valtellina, Italy: Valtellina Superiore — it’s a dry red wine
  • Minas Gerais, Brazil: Cachaça — a clear alcohol distilled from sugarcane. It is also the national drink of Brazil.
  • Provence, France: Pastis — an aperitif made from Annis, and is a descendant of the lethal absinthe.
  • Flanders, Belgium: Trappist Ale — beer brewed by monks in monasteries across Flanders, over the last 1000 years.
  • Japan: Sake — rice wine brewed at cold temperatures, and drank cold. (I’ve had a lot of Sake in Dubai, but they always served it hot. Hmmm.)

You can check out details of all the above at Conde Nast Traveller.