Credit: Minerva Gallery
In an effort to provide you with a comfortable booze option no matter where you are, we put together a list of the best things to drink in 43 countries all over the world. Depending on how the citizens of the country drink it, we chose either a particular type of booze or a cocktail. As much as possible, we tried to avoid repetition, but it turns out a lot of places enjoy anise-flavored spirits. And yes, we missed a bunch of countries (we apologize, Equatorial Guinea), so let us know what drinks and countries we need to add in the comments.
Credit: Flickr/Stanley Forthright
What it is: Fermented, aged grains that are at least 51% corn
Why it's great: Do we even have to tell you? Maybe because it was invented in America, though a dispute rages on about whether it's named after the county in Kentucky, or the street in New Orleans, where Kentucky whiskey outsold more expensive French cognac. Or maybe it's because we actually have a National Bourbon Heritage Month (it's in September). Or maybe it's just because it can be enjoyed in so many different ways, whether in a Hot Toddy, an Old Fashioned, or straight up. Either way, it's the quintessential American beverage.
What it is: Vodka, Clamato, hot sauce, celery salt, Worcestershire, lime, pepper, and celery
Why it's great: Because Calgary resident and restaurant manager Walter Chell invented it to celebrate the opening of a new Italian restaurant inside the Calgary Inn, and also because it reminded him of the Spaghetti alle Vongole (with clams) they made in Venice. Also, it's worth pointing out that basically all of Clamato's sales are in Canada.
What it is: A spirit made from a blue agave plant, usually in the state of Jalisco, either northwest of Guadalajara in Tequila or in the highlands.
Why it's great: Despite what Pee-wee Herman might have you believe in his Big Adventure, Mexico has the international rights to the word tequila; its agave is still mostly all harvested by hand, and you can do shots of it when you want an excuse to text your ex-gf very late at night.
Credit: Fernet Branca
Argentina: Fernet with cola
What it is: A minty amaro digestif made from grape distilled spirits and all sorts of spices. Plus cola!
Why it's great: Though fernet is an Italian digestif, Argentina consumes around 25mill liters of the liquor (sorry, San Francisco). It's also supposed to be the favorite drink of the best pro golfer with a crazy ponytail, Angel Cabrera.
What it is: Cachaca, lime, and sugar
Why it's great: Citrusy, with enough sweetness to mask the fact that it's very boozy. Invokes the feeling of being on a beach, about to do something honorable/malicious in cars with Vin Diesel.
Peru: Pisco Sour
What it is: Pisco, lime, simple syrup, and egg white
Why it's great: Because it was allegedly created by an expat American bartender named Victor V. Morris in Lima in the 1920s, though a Peruvian bartender, who worked at the bar, apparently added egg whites and bitters, creating the modern recipe. Chile also claims ownership of the Pisco Sour, and they both pretty loudly argue this point, so don't bring it up if you're sitting in between a Peruvian and a Chilean.
What it is: A hot drink made with fruit juice, aguardiente (a South American firewater, also popular in Colombia), cinnamon sticks (called canela), brown sugar, and water.
Why it's great: Because hot, spicy booze drinks are delicious when it's cold and you're sitting at 9,000ft elevation.
What it is: An anise-flavored spirit, not unlike Ouzo or Raki
Why it's great: Because it means "fiery water", and people in the Andean regions of Colombia drink it neat, out of shot glasses, like badasses.
What it is: An Irish dry stout
Why it's great: It's the best selling alcoholic drink in Ireland (with sales of over $2bill annually); it was first brewed in 1759 when Arthur Guinness signed a sweet 9,000yr lease (at £45 a year) on an unused brewery; it's officially actually a very dark red color.
What it is: Really? But also, sparkling wine produced specifically in the Champagne region of France following specific rules about a second fermentation.
Why it's great: Because the first sparkling wine was created accidentally, and they called it "le vin du diable", or "the devil's wine". Apparently the devil likes bubbly sh*t.
What it is: Cut fruit, red wine, and brandy
Why it's great: Because it's named after the word for effin' "bloodletting", thanks to that color. Not to be confused with Adam Carolla's "Mangria".
What it is: A juniper-flavored liquor originally made by distilling malt wine and adding juniper berries to mask the not-so-nice flavor.
Why it's great: Like Champagne and tequila, EU regulations state that only liquor made in Holland and Belgium (plus a few French provinces and maybe a German state or two, but whatever!) can use the name jenever. Ketel One was originally a jenever distillery, before they got much more famous for their vodka. Oh, and you do the shot of it without your hands, like a classy girl at a bar for a bachelorette party.
Germany: Any Reinheitsgebot beer
What it is: Beer made under the German Beer Purity Law, which restricted beer ingredients to water, hops, and barley until 1993.
Why it's great: Reinheitsgebot means you're not getting a bunch of weird crap, like fruit and seafood, in your beer and probably means you get to drink out of a glass boot.
England: Pimm's No. 1 Cup
What it is: Gin-based spirit with fruit and spice flavors, mixed with (preferably) dry English bubbly lemonade, as well as mint, cucumber, and lemon, or sometimes other fruits like apple and orange.
Why it's great: Because James Pimm created a "house cup" of booze for his oyster bar in London in 1840, which he later bottled and sold, before selling the rights to Frederick "Don't Call Me Tom" Sawyer in 1865. Also, it's been associated with Wimbledon since 1971, and, every year, they sell 80K pints worth of the cocktail. Also also, it's pretty delicious in the Summer.
Portugal: Port Wine
What it is: Fortified wine
Why it's great: What's not to love about wine that's been spiked with a brandy-like grape spirit and aged in wood or bottles? Nothing. It's like regular wine, but boozier and sweeter. And it's a great excuse to drink with dessert.
What it is: Distilled fruit brandy
Why it's great: This ain't the peppermint stuff you did shots of when you were 22 and didn't like the taste of beer -- this is classier booze that's been in Austria since the 1700s, and it's made with wild fruits, berries, and even pinecones. It's also proven to warm you up in the Winter.
What it is: Distilled pomace
Why it's great: Turns out you can literally turn garbage into gold, as grappa is what you get after you distill stems and other grape junk leftover after making wine. But grappa really wins points for being a glutton's best friend following a huge meal. It's helpful in aiding your digestion of, say, a metric ton of pasta. It's also surprisingly versatile, as it can be blended with espresso.
What it is: Barrel-aged whisky
Why it's great: Because whisky. And because drinking it makes you feel like you've accomplished something with your life, especially when you drink it while wearing a velveteen robe and smoking a cigar.
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