Raise a Glass Like a Local
We are strong believers that it's not the alcoholic payload of what is in your cup that matters, it is the act of raising a glass, sharing stories, and toasting to someone or something. It's a magical moment that unites people, no matter where they come from, what language they speak or what liquid they are toasting with, this humble yet mighty custom is truly a universal language that brings us all together.
That said, every country has its own set of quirky customs regarding toasts and drinking. From choosing the right drink for the right moment to figuring out who coughs up the cash, there are a million ways to sip and savor. But beware! Failing to follow the local rules could result in some battles. So, before you say "cheers," take a trip around the world with us and discover some of the wackiest drinking rituals. With these insider tips, you'll be able to clink glasses like a pro and keep the good vibes flowing.
Countless Toasts in Georgia
Georgian drinking customs are certainly unique, especially their fascination with making countless toasts. Whether it's friends, family, pets, or even fruits, Georgians love to raise a glass to anything and everything. When in groups, someone takes on the role of Tamada - the toast master - who will continue to give speeches throughout the evening. According to their traditions, Tamada is the head of the table, who initiates a toast and then delivers an extensive emotional oration afterward.
Belt out ABBA in Sweden
Get ready to bust out your vocal cords and clink glasses in Sweden - It's time to join in on the Snapsvisor, an age-old tradition of merry drinking songs. From the lively "Helan Gar" (aka "Bottoms Up!") to sweet ABBA hits, this is a night filled with laughter and song. As the music fades out, the moment culminates with a hearty "Skål!" (Cheers!) So, pack your bags and get ready to party Swedish-style!
Mind Your Manners in China
In China, the dinner table is a stage for an unspoken play of etiquette. Don't be too quick to push away your plate because leaving food behind is like a slap to the chef's face. And whatever you do, don't turn down a drink! That's a big no-no and will earn you some awkward glances, especially if you're a guest. But it's not just about chugging away. You must also pour drinks for your buddies and score some social points. And if you're sipping with someone older or more important, be sure to keep your glass below theirs to show them some respect. It might seem like a tradition, but trust us, it's a smart move if you're trying to win over your potential in-laws.
No Glassware on the Table in Russia
Russians are the Olympic heavyweights when it comes to drinking. When drinking in Russia, however, there's a strict rule to remember: never place any glassware directly on the table. If you've ever found yourself at a Russian drinking shindig, you'd know that empty bottles are a big no as a table centerpiece. Instead, people quietly dispose of or stash away the bottles on the floor. But why, you ask? Well, the theories are as wild as a Siberian bear. Some say it's bad luck to keep empty bottles around, while others claim it's a handy way to keep track of the bill at restaurants. Either way, if you find yourself clinking glasses in Russia, it's best to keep this custom in mind.
Kidnap the Bride in Germany
Germany has an established tradition of pre-wedding drinking where the groomsmen are responsible for surprising the bride-to-be with a mock kidnapping. As part of the game, they leave clues for the groom to follow before taking her to a bar. The groom then must purchase a round of drinks to rescue his bride-to-be in this age-old custom.
Keep Your Feet Firmly Planted in Ukraine
It's a Ukrainian tradition that brides must keep their feet firmly planted on the ground during the wedding. If they lift their feet, their shoes will be taken and used as traps. If a guest manages to steal the bride's shoes, they can make absurd requests. As a peculiar custom, the wedding party is often required to drink from the bride's purloined shoe.
A Communal Experience in Europe
Many cultures view drinking as a communal experience, where purchasing individual drinks is not the norm. In Australia, it's customary to take turns buying rounds of drinks for the group, or "shouting." Forging new friendships may prove difficult if you lose track of when it's your turn. A similar practice exists in England and Ireland. In Armenia, Turkey, and Georgia, it's typical to order a bottle to share with the table. In Armenia and Georgia, the person who finishes the bottle is responsible for buying the next one.
In the Czech Republic, Eye Contact is Key
Drinking is a serious affair in the Czech Republic, and there are certain customs to adhere to if you want to enjoy it like a local. When toasting, it's customary to raise a glass to the good health of every person at the table, regardless of their number. However, be mindful when clinking glasses as it's believed to bring bad luck if not done correctly. Most importantly, maintain eye contact during the toast, as it's considered rude to not do so.
Keep Your Glass Half-Full in Thailand
When in Thailand, remember: cultural rules apply to drinking, too! Keep your glass half-full, as slurping up every last drop is considered bad manners. But don't be fooled. Here's the twist: once the oldest person leaves the party, bottoms up, my friend! Please don't ask everyone's age before raising a glass because there's no hard and fast rule. It's all part of the adventure.
Don’t Forget to Lock Eyes in Germany and Denmark
When in Germany or Denmark, don't forget to lock eyes with your fellow revelers while clinking glasses. This tiny gesture of trust can make all the difference! History reveals that during medieval times, people were wary of potential poisonings, hence the tradition of spilling a bit of drink into each other's glass to prove it was safe. Nowadays, it's all about maintaining eye contact while raising a toast with friends and acquaintances. So, don't forget to touch glasses with those nearby and gaze into their souls as you raise your glass, fostering a genuine bond.
Eating the Worm in Mexico
If you enjoy consuming a worm soaked in alcohol, it's a game that requires patience. You must first finish a bottle of Mezcal to get to the worm. How you determine who eats the worm is entirely up to you. Perhaps your friends are competitive, or you'll have to rely on dares, bets, random number generators, or feats of strength.
A Grape-Tastic Battle in Spain
Picture this: a wine-soaked battlefield in Northern Spain where guests fling jugs, buckets, and other containers brimming with vino at each other. It's all part of the Haro Wine Festival, a wild tradition that has been going strong since 1965. But, this grape-tastic battle has roots dating back to the 13th century, when Haro began draping the town in royal purple banners on San Pedro's Day. Soon, a friendly rivalry between Haro and its neighbor Miranda de Ebro turned into a full-blown wine war, now remembered as the epic Batalla de Vino or the Battle of Wine.
The Complex Art of Drinking in Korea
Sipping in Korea can be like navigating a maze of etiquette rules. While the younger crowd may not follow the code to a T, it still holds a special place in the culture. These customs are all about giving the nod to the wise elders. Say, if someone older than you proffers a drink, it's polite to jump up (or kneel) and take the glass with both hands. It was customary to turn away when tipping back in the day, but nowadays, that's not as common. It's also a faux pas to pour your own drink, and If you're refilling someone else's cup, wait until they've slurped up their last drop.
So there you have it. Cheers to the fascinating world of toasting customs. Peeling back the layers of social drinking norms uncovers fascinating insights into our relationship with food and friends. From laid-back, easygoing vibes to fancy, formal affairs, each country has its own unique spin. While some folks hold toasting in the highest regard, others don't consider it. But no matter the level of importance, these traditions are a window into the cultural values and traditions of each nation, and all in the time it takes to down a drink.