In Japan etiquette is held at the utmost importance. Dining and drinking is no exception so be sure to heed the cultural diction when sipping on sake next time you’re indulging in a sushi or hibachi night out. In Japanese culture, it is considered improper to pour your own drink. This is particularly a headache considering sake glasses are often only 2oz and ceramic, refills are required often and are difficult to determine when to refill due to the opaque material. Which begs the question: is it less polite to pour your own drink, or to constantly ask your partner for a refill?
This applies to more than just alcoholic traditions but is critical to note nonetheless. Dinner conversation is important in Chinese culture and any form of interruption is considered rude. With that said, your table server will provide you with more drinks and plates (particularly when enjoying dim sum) so a solution was developed over time to thank and honor the server while maintaining engagement in dinner conversation. This solution is simply to tap two fingers lightly on the table when your beer is replaced, tea is refilled, or dishes are left/taken away. The simple action can be done without losing eye contact with your partner, yet communicates to the server a “thank you” in a silent and respectful way.
Finishing a bottle of liquor may be a sad moment for most, but in Venezuela it’s an opportunity to exercise some pyrotechnic skills; and exorcise some demons. This is the customary practice known as “sacarle el diablo a la botella” (take the devil out of the bottle) when, upon emptying a bottle of liquor, you light a match and toss it into the bottle. A brief sound similar to a screaming weasel (or Yoko Ono singing) will be heard while a quick flame devours the residual alcohol still in the bottle. When you crack open the next bottle, be sure to pour the first splash out in honor of those who have departed us; “para los muertos.”
The Spanish believe in making toasts, no doubt, but if you’re going to do it you’d better do it with an alcoholic beverage like a Tempranillo or Sangria. Toasting with that DD beverage may have positive sentiment but it’s believed to be bad luck in Spain. So much so that you’ll have seven years bad luck…in a specific area of your life…that is a very interpersonal area of your life…sex, ok, it’s sex; if you toast in Spain with anything other than booze you’ll endure seven years of bad sex. Also known as marriage (hey oh!), just kidding. But the moral of the story is if you’re going to make a toast in Spain be sure to have a proof to your beverage to avoid the unsatisfying consequence.
If you’re pouncing around Mother Russia there’s little doubt that you will have your share of drinks, especially vodka. You’ll want to pace yourself as best you can throughout the night and countering the alcohol intake with periodic bites of food. There is one rule regarding your dining that you should take to heart, however, which is that you may not take a bite of food between your first and second shot of the night because it is bad luck to have a delay between your first two shots. After that, eat lots of pickled things (usually complementary with your bottle of vodka).
Alright, so all of America seems to have an unintentional custom of binge drinking so we won’t feature that for Colorado. However, Colorado (as well as other mountainous regions) has a fun tradition of shotskis. The idea is you adhere shot glasses to an old snow ski, fill it with your liquor of choice, and you plus three other friends take the shots in one harmonious gulp. This can get tricky when there are varying heights in the group; but that makes it all the more fun! If you drop in at one of our Colorado exclusive experiences (Keystone Getaway) you’ll have access to your own shotski for a night full of collaborative binging (whoops, we weren’t supposed to reference binging again).
Whelp, there you go! Now you’re prepared to drink with the locals around the world. If you have other fun international traditions to share with us please leave a comment.