An exploration of drinking culture around the world

Ever notice how you can get a crash course in a culture just by hanging out at a bar? It’s like cultural anthropology meets happy hour. Forget language hurdles – the real communication happens in the clink of glasses. It’s not about promoting a pub crawl; it’s about realising that the local drinking scene shows more about a culture than any guidebook. From fancy rituals to casual get-togethers, a country’s booze habits tell tales that words alone can’t convey.

Today, we’ll take a closer look at six country’s drinking cultures and how they may differ from your own!

Korean Drinking Culture

Korean drinking culture is deeply rooted in social interactions and plays a significant role in bonding among friends, family and colleagues. Drinking is often seen as a way to break down social barriers and build stronger connections. The culture emphasises etiquette, rituals, and the types of alcoholic beverages consumed.

Most popular types of alcoholic drinks

Soju- These are two of the most popular beer brands in South Korea. Beer is widely consumed in social gatherings and often paired with various Korean dishes.

Cass and Hite- These are two of the most popular beer brands in South Korea. Beer is widely consumed in social gatherings and is often paired with a variety of Korean dishes.

Drinking customs

Hierarchy plays a role, and the younger or lower-ranking individuals often pour drinks for their elders or superiors.

Before taking a sip, it’s common for people to shout “geonbae,” meaning “cheers.” It is often expected to finish the entire drink in one go, particularly when toasting with soju.

While drinking is a significant part of Korean social culture, it’s acceptable to refuse a drink by covering the top of your glass with your hand. This gesture signals that you are not accepting the offer without offending.

Interesting Fact

To say the Koreans love Soju is a bit of an understatement. Research shows that In 2021, the average Korean adult consumed 53 bottles of soju and 83 bottles of beer.


Vietnamese Drinking Culture

Vietnam boasts a vibrant drinking culture deeply embedded in its social fabric. The constant clinking of glasses, the infectious laughter, and the warm glow of shared moments. It’s difficult to escape the charm of the Vietnamese way of drinking. Whether on bustling street corners or in cosy homes, the art of raising a glass is a cherished tradition.

Most popular types of alcoholic drinks

Rice Wine (Ruou)- One of the most iconic Vietnamese alcoholic beverages is rice wine. Varieties like “ruou gao” and “ruou nep” are made from different types of rice, offering distinct flavours and potency levels.

Bia Hoi- Vietnam’s answer to draft beer, bia hoi is a light and refreshing beer typically enjoyed in casual settings. It’s known for its affordability and ubiquity, with makeshift street-side establishments called “Bia Hoi corners.”

Drinking customs

A popular and lively drinking ritual involves a synchronised cheer of “Mot, Hai, Ba, Yo!” (One, Two, Three, Cheers!). Participants clink glasses and take a sip together, usually consuming an entire glass of beer or a shot of rice wine.

Vietnamese drinking customs place a strong emphasis on respecting elders. Younger individuals often wait for their seniors to initiate the first toast, and it is considered polite to raise the glass slightly higher when toasting to an older person.

Ensuring that no one’s glass remains empty during a drinking session is customary. Participants take turns refilling each other’s glasses, symbolising generosity and camaraderie.


Interesting facts

The Bia Hoi beer is brewed daily in the local brewing factories. The beer is then delivered to bars the same day, meaning it’s not uncommon to see a fleet of truck or motorbike beer deliveries buzzing around the cities at all times of the day!


Nigerian Drinking Culture

Nigeria is no stranger to the world of beverages. The Nigerian drinking culture reflects a blend of traditional practices and global influences, making it a fascinating aspect of social life. From local brews to international brands, the choices are diverse, and the customs surrounding alcohol consumption add a unique flavour to the experience.

Most popular types of alcoholic drinks

Palm wine- Widely consumed across Nigeria, palm wine is a traditional alcoholic beverage tapped from palm trees. It varies in taste and potency depending on the type of palm tree and the fermentation process.

Beer and stout- Nigeria boasts a thriving beer/stout culture with popular local brands such as Star Lager and Gulder, as well as imported Guinness.


Drinking customs

Before taking a sip, it is customary to offer a toast, expressing goodwill or acknowledging the presence of others. Respect for elders and social hierarchies is often emphasised during these toasts.

Pouring a small amount of drink on the ground as an offering to ancestors or deities is a practice known as libation. This ritual is common before important events or gatherings.

Interesting facts

Move over Ireland, Nigeria boasts the second-largest market for Guinness in the entire world!

Tanzanian Drinking Culture

Tanzania boasts quite a unique drinking culture. With influences from various ethnic groups and historical traditions, Tanzania’s drinking customs reflect the nation’s social dynamics and celebrations.

Most popular types of alcoholic drinks

Mbege- A traditional Tanzanian brew, Mbege is made from fermented bananas. It is a popular choice, especially during celebrations and ceremonies. The brewing process often involves the participation of the community.

Pombe- Pombe is a generic term for various types of Tanzanian homebrewed beers. The beverage can be made from grains such as millet or sorghum and is commonly consumed in both urban and rural areas.

Drinking customs

Tanzanians are known for their warmth and hospitality. Sharing a drink is a common way to welcome guests and build connections. Visitors are often encouraged to partake in the local drinking customs as a sign of respect and integration.

Maasai warriors in Tanzania uphold a unique tradition of drinking a mixture of cow’s blood and wine during ceremonies. This symbolises strength, unity, and a spiritual connection with ancestors.


Interesting fact

Let’s go a little more into the cow’s blood tradition: The process begins with selecting a cow, considered a sacred and valuable animal in Maasai culture. The cow is gently restrained, and a small incision is made on its neck to allow for the collection of blood. The blood is mixed with fresh milk from the cow, creating a unique and nutritious beverage. Some variations of this tradition include wine, making it a drinking ritual instead of milk.

German Drinking Culture

Renowned for its beer, Germany also boasts a wide array of alcoholic beverages, each with unique characteristics. Beyond the drinks, the country’s drinking rituals and customs play a significant role in socialising and celebrating.

Most popular types of alcoholic drinks

Beer (Lager)- Germany is world-famous for its beer, and rightly so. With a proud brewing tradition, the country offers a vast selection of beer types, including lagers, pilsners, wheat beers, and bocks. Beer gardens and beer halls are integral to the German social scene and something that must be witnessed in person.

Schnapps- This strong alcoholic beverage is often enjoyed as a digestif. Made from fruits, herbs, or spices, schnapps come in various flavours, providing a diverse tasting experience. It’s common to find locals enjoying a shot of schnapps after a hearty meal.

Drinking customs

Germans take their toasts seriously. When clinking glasses, it is customary to maintain eye contact and say “Prost!” before taking a sip. Failing to make eye contact is considered impolite.

Beer gardens are a quintessential part of German culture. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own food to complement the beverages provided by the venue.

Regulars at a pub often have their designated table known as “Stammtisch.” This reserved spot is a gathering place for friends and regular patrons.

Interesting fact

In a playful German wedding tradition, friends often “kidnap” the bride, whisking her away to a local bar or pub. The groom must then locate and rescue her, engaging in jovial antics and possibly buying drinks for the “kidnappers.”

Peruvian Drinking Culture

Peru’s drinking culture has undergone significant changes over the centuries, with the introduction of beer by foreign settlers playing a notable role in shaping the country’s beverage landscape. While traditional Peruvian alcoholic beverages like chicha (a fermented corn beverage) and pisco (a grape brandy) have deep roots in the country’s history, the arrival of European settlers, particularly the Spanish, brought new elements to the Peruvian drinking scene.

Most popular types of alcoholic drinks

Pisco- Perhaps the most iconic Peruvian spirit, Pisco is a grape brandy that holds a special place in Peruvian drinking culture. Pisco Sour, a cocktail made with Pisco, lime juice, egg white, and simple syrup, is a national favourite.

Cusqueña Beer- Peru has a burgeoning craft beer scene, and Cusqueña is one of the most popular local brands. Brewed in the high-altitude city of Cusco, it offers a refreshing taste that complements the country’s diverse cuisine.

Drinking customs

In the traditional Peruvian beer-drinking ritual, participants form a circle with a 720ml bottle and a single small glass. The process involves a continuous cycle where each person, starting with the first person, fills their glass, passes the bottle to the next person, and flicks the froth onto the ground before passing the glass. This rotation repeats as participants take turns in a seamless and communal beer-sharing practice.

Has your drinking escalated to more than just a good time with friends?

If you find yourself questioning the role of alcohol in your life, it’s time to listen to your instincts. When social drinking transforms into a daily routine, affecting your relationships, work and overall well-being, it’s crucial to take a proactive step toward change.

UKAT is here to help you regain control and rediscover a life free from the grip of alcohol. Our dedicated team of experts understands the challenges you may be facing and is committed to supporting you every step of the way.

Contact us today for more information and guidance towards the next steps.

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