DEAR BOOZE

Int'l Culture of Drink

International Culture of Drink Days

Ever since Neolithic times, alcohol has played a central role in all human cultures. Without exception, all societies have a history of embracing alcohol as part of their unique history. In fact, alcohol can be considered a cultural artifact; the form and meanings of drinking alcoholic beverages are culturally defined. The way drinks are consumed, under which conditions they are consumed, and with whom they are consumed are all part of each individual culture. And this has always been important to each one.

It's time we celebrate this. International Culture of Drink Days is our opportunity to embrace the common thread that ties the world together, through booze.

Starting on the first Friday in August, try something new, or drink something you already love. But whatever you do, think about where it comes from and celebrate that culture.

Here are a few tips to help you celebrate:

How to Celebrate

The founders of the International Culture of Drink Days had three declared reasons for the annual celebration, and are as follows:

  1. Gather with friends to enjoy and discover different spirits from around the globe.
  2. Celebrate those cultures responsible for the production of spirits.
  3. Unite the world under the banner of spirits by celebrating the drinks of all nations together on a single day.

However, many folks agree, just raise your glass, tankard, bottle or can and toast the single constant and common thread of all people and cultures. Whether it is at a bar, club, pub, or even at home, it is simple enough to find recipes on line, prepare drinks according to tradition, and experiment and enjoy. Drink responsibly, and share the wonders of the world thru spirits.


Pick Your Poison

Pick a drink that says something about your heritage, or a friend's cultural background, or something that interests you (for whatever reason). Here is a list that will get you started:

  • Albania: rakia
  • Argentina: fernet
  • Armenia: oghi
  • Australia: rum
  • Austria: schnapps
  • Barbados: rum
  • Belarus: krambambula
  • Belgium: jenever (malt and juniper)
  • Belize: rum
  • Bermuda: rum
  • Bolivia: singani (Muscat grapes)
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: Rakija (fruit: apples, plums, pears)
  • Brazil: cachaça (sugarcane)
  • Bulgaria: rakia (grapes, apricots, plums)
  • Cambodia: sombai (infused rice wine)
  • Canada: Canadian rye whisky
  • Chile: pisco
  • China: moutai
  • Colombia: aguardiente
  • Costa Rica: guaro (sugarcane)
  • Croatia: rakija (fruit: plums, pears)
  • Cuba: rum
  • Czech Republic: Becherovka (herbs), or slivovice (plums)
  • Denmark: akvavit (grain or potatoes)
  • Dominican Republic: rum, mamajuana
  • Ecuador: aguardiente
  • El Salvador: Tíck Táck or Torito (sugarcane)
  • Estonia: Vana Tallinn
  • Ethiopia: tej
  • Finland: Koskenkorva Viina (barley), vodka
  • France: brandy, Armagnac, Cognac, Champagne, Pastis
  • French West Indies: rum
  • Georgia: chacha
  • Germany: Schnapps and Korn
  • Ghana: akpeteshie
  • Greece: ouzo
  • Guatemala: Rum, Cusha
  • Haiti: rum, and clairin (sugarcane)
  • Hungary: Unicum (herbs), pálinka (fruit)
  • Iceland: brennivín, aka “Black Death” (potatoes)
  • India: rum, feni (cashew or coconut), and palm wine
  • Indonesia: arrack
  • Iran: aragh (raisin vodka)
  • Iraq: arak
  • Ireland: Irish whiskey (fermented mash of cereal grains), Poitín (malted barley grain or potatoes)
  • Israel: arak
  • Italy: grappa (pomace and grape residue left over from winemaking), limoncello, amaretto, amaro
  • Japan: shochu (rice, barley, buckwheat, sweet potato), awamori, Japanese whisky

  • Jordan: arak
  • Kenya: dawa (vodka, honey, sugar, lime) 
  • Korea: soju (rice, barley, corn, potato, sweet potato)
  • Levant: arak
  • Lithuania: midus
  • Macedonia: rakija and mastika
  • Malaysia: tuak
  • Mexico: tequila, mezcal, rum, Kahlúa, and brandy
  • Montenegro: rakija
    • Nepal: raksi
    • Netherlands: jenever (malt and juniper)
    • Nicaragua: rum
    • Norway: akevitt
    • Panama: Seco Herrerano (sugarcane)
    • Peru: pisco
    • Philippines: lambanog, basi
    • Poland: vodka, mead
    • Portugal: port wine, ginjinha or jeropiga
    • Puerto Rico: rum, pitorro
    • Romania: ţuică (plums) or palinka (fruit)
    • Russia: vodka
    • Serbia: rakija, lozovača (pomace and grape residue left over from winemaking) and vinjak
    • Slovakia: slivovica  (plums), Borovička (juniper berries)
    • South Africa: Amarula (cream liqueur)
    • Spain: sherry
    • Asturias: alcoholic cider
    • Navarre: patxaran
    • Sri Lanka: Kasippu arrack (coconut)
    • Sweden: brännvin, akvavit and schnapps
    • Switzerland: absinthe, Goldschläger, Pflümli, kirsch
    • Syria: arak
    • Taiwan: kaoliang
    • Tanzania: konyagi
    • Thailand: Sato, Mekhong whiskey, rum, brandy
    • Trinidad & Tobago: rum
    • Tunisia: boukha (fig brandy)
    • Turkey: rakı
    • Uganda: waragi (Ugandan gin)
    • Ukraine: horilka (Ukrainian vodka)
    • United Kingdom
      • England: Gin
      • Northern Ireland: Irish whiskey
      • Republic of Ireland: Irish whiskey
      • Scotland: Scotch whiskey
      • Wales: Welsh whiskey
    • United States: American whiskey, bourbon, Tennessee whiskey, rye whiskey, and moonshine
    • Venezuela: rum, Cocuy (agave)
    • Vietnam: Rượu nếp, Rượu đế, Rượu cần, Rượu Thuốc, Rượu Nhàu Rừng - Noni (herbal wine), snake wine

    History of International Culture of Drink Days

    Originally started in the central valley of California, one of the largest melting pots of culture in the world, International Culture of Drink Days began to celebrate the various types of spirits enjoyed around the planet. This slowly expanded to included bartenders and liquor aficionados and enthusiasts. Not only did it expand in scope, but in size as well, quickly gaining an international recognition and following within only a few short years. Since 2010, it has grown and is now celebrated in several cities in the US as well as in various parts of Europe and Australia. Diverse and new experiences are the hallmark of International Culture of Drink Days. Participants are encouraged to share the history of drinks, techniques on how to prepare and enjoy them.

    A Toast in 20 Languages

    CHEERS! Here’s to you! Bottoms up!

    The clinking of glasses can  help cement friendships and celebrate new ones. it’s an expression of goodwill. So raise your glass and celebrate the cultures that enjoy drinks as much as you do. Here is how to toast in 20 different languages:


    Afrikaans: Gesondheid
    Pronounced: Ge-sund-hate
    Meaning: Health

    Chinese (Mandarin):干杯 / gān bēi
    Pronounced: Gan bay
    Meaning: Cheers

    Czech: Na zdravi
    Pronounced: Naz-drah vi
    Meaning: Cheers

    Dutch: Proost
    Pronounced: Prohst
    Meaning: Cheers

    French: Santé! / À votre santé!
    Pronounced: Sahn-tay / Ah la vo-tre sahn-tay
    Meaning: To your health

    German: Prost / Zum wohl
    Pronounced: Prohst / Tsum vohl
    Meaning: Cheers/ to your health

    Greek: ΥΓΕΙΑ
    Pronounced: Yamas
    Meaning: Health

    Irish Gaelic: Sláinte
    Pronounced: Slawn-cha
    Meaning: Health

    Italian: Salute / Cin cin
    Pronounced: Saw-lutay / Chin chin
    Meaning: Health/ cheers

    Japanese: 乾杯/ Kanpai
    Pronounced: Kan-pie
    Meaning: Cheers/ Empty the glass

    Korean: 건배
    Pronounced: Gun bae
    Meaning: Cheers/ toast

    Lithuanian: į sveikatą
    Pronounced: Ee sweh-kata
    Meaning: To your health

    Moldovan: Noroc
    Pronounced: No-rock
    Meaning: Luck

    Polish: Na zdrowie
    Pronounced: Naz-droh-vee-ay
    Meaning: To your health

    Portugese: Saúde
    Pronounced: Saw-OO-de
    Meaning: Health

    Russian: Будем здоровы/ На здоровье
    Pronounced: Budem zdorovi/ Na zdorovie
    Meaning: To your health (It is interesting to note that most Russians rarely use this expression, and the above is used more by foreigners. Russians will change their wishes based on the person and celebration.)

    Spanish: Salud
    Pronounced: Sah-lud
    Meaning: Health

    Swedish: Skål
    Pronounced: Skawl
    Meaning: Cheers (and don’t forget to look everyone in the eye!)

    Welsh: Iechyd da
    Pronounced: Yeh-chid dah
    Meaning: Good health

    Yiddish: Sei gesund
    Pronounced: Say geh-sund
    Meaning: Be healthy

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