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Drink Like a Local

Discover the nuances of drinking coffee, tea and spirits around the world.

SPIRITS

Wine

Choose a winning wine

White
Sancerre or Chablis. Unlike bold, oaky chardonnays or honeyed rieslings, Sancerre and Chablis have crisp, fruity acidity and nice mineral notes, and are more likely to please all palates. As price increases, so does the tendency for these wines to be more rich and layered. Choose according to what you’re eating.

Red
Cabernet or Chianti. Both are balanced, but cabernet emphasizes darker, riper fruit, while Chianti is more peppery. For a full-bodied wine with round tannins (great with red meat), cabernet is a crowd-pleaser; for something with more tang (and that can stand up to tomato sauce), go for a Chianti.

 

 

Drink like a local

Drinks

Aguardiente
COLOMBIA

Sip the anise-flavoured liquor from a shot glass.

Absinthe
CZECH REPUBLIC

Place a sugar cube on a perforated spoon over a glass and trickle cold water over it. Dump the sugar into the wormwood spirit, let it dissolve, then sip.

Aquavit
DENMARK AND NORWAY

Flavoured with caraway or dill, this “water of life” is served chilled and shot in Denmark, but sipped at room temperature in Norway.

Mezcal
MEXICO

The agave beverage goes down neat, sometimes accompanied by sliced oranges sprinkled with fried and ground larvae, chili pepper and salt.

Genever
THE NETHERLANDS

The Dutch drink their juniper-scented liquor as a shooter.

Soju
SOUTH KOREA

Distilled from fermented rice, barley or wheat, this alcohol is shot or sipped neat.


COFFEE

Ethiopian coffee

Ethiopia

In coffee’s birthplace, prepare for an hour-long ritual: The beans are roasted and ground at the table, then brewed in a clay pot. The resulting elixir is filtered as it’s poured into small, handleless cups. Inhale the aroma deeply before each sip as a mark of respect. Don’t expect milk – Ethiopians drink their coffee with sugar, salt or butter.

Turkish coffee

Turkey

The coffee ritual typically punctuates meals. Super-fine grounds are simmered in a pot along with sugar and poured unfiltered into the cup; the result is thick, black, extra hot and topped with thick froth. Let the grounds settle before sipping, while downing the glass of water that accompanies it to clear your palate of your meal. Don’t drain your cup or you’ll end up with a mouthful of grit. If you want more to drink afterwards, opt for tea.

Vietnamese coffee

Vietnam

Coarsely ground beans are covered with boiling water in an individually sized, stainless-steel drip filter that sits directly over a cup containing sweetened condensed milk. Part of the morning ritual here involves pensive gazing as the water drips through – it can take up to six minutes. Stir before you swig. Optional: Dip a toothpick in fish sauce, then stir it in; the saltiness cuts the bitter edge.

 

Order coffee like an Italian

Italian coffee

1
Stick to the basics

Purists drink espresso, which is what you’ll get if you simply order a caffè anywhere in Italy.

2
Milk is for the morning

Cappuccinos and other milky drinks are consumed only before noon.

3
Stand, don’t sit

Patrons drink their coffee standing at the bar – you’ll be charged double or even triple if you sit.

4
Sip before you sweeten

At specialty cafés, pouring sugar or milk into your coffee before you’ve tried it is as insulting to a barista as blindly salting your food is to a chef.


TEA

English tea

United Kingdom

It’s considered uncouth to add milk to your cup before the tea has been poured. The practice was started by servants as a way of cooling down their tea so it wouldn’t crack their clay mugs. Besides, you don’t know how strong or weak the tea is until it lands in your cup.

Russian tea

Russia

Zavarka is likely the strongest tea you’ll ever taste, prepared in a samovar that keeps it warm and ready to serve to any guest at any time. Accept the sweet snack that is traditionally offered with it.

Indian tea

India

Chai is sold in most public places, and it’s acceptable to drink a cup on the street corner. The sweet concoction is made by boiling water, milk, black tea, sugar, honey or jaggery, and spices like ginger, cinnamon, peppercorn, star anise and cardamom.

Chinese tea

China

Tea is consumed throughout the day andat all meals, especially with dim sum to help digest oily foods. Never pour tea for yourself, and guests are served first, starting with the eldest person or the one most senior in rank. When someone fills your cup, tap two fingers on the table to say thanks.

Tags

CHINA     COFFEE     COLOMBIA     DENMARK     DINING ETIQUETTE     ETHIOPIA     FOOD & DRINK     INDIA     ITALY     MEXICO     NETHERLANDS     NORWAY     RUSSIA     SOUTH KOREA     TEA     TURKEY     UNITED KINGDOM     VIETNAM     WINE    

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