Drink Around the World Like the Locals Do

Profile picture of

View Profile All Posts
Written by: Helen Scarr

15 Top Tipples to Wet Your Whistle

First off a disclaimer: I am neither promoting excessive drinking nor the regrettable behaviour that often accompanies this activity. And I am certainly not promoting the head-bursting, stomach-churning, sweat-ridden hangovers that tend to follow such evenings of debauchery.

What I am recommending is that testing out the local tipple is a great way to experience part of a country’s culture, and it usually leads to a fun-filled evening. Avoid the tourist bars and instead bond with the locals while you join them in drinking their ‘usual’. Here are 15 drinking experiences not to miss on your travels:

Mezcal in Mexico

Contrary to popular belief, there is no ‘tequila worm’. Mezcal is the liquor that contains such a treat. Smokier in taste to tequila (although both are made from the agave plant), Mezcal is the true alcohol of choice for Mexicans and ‘Mezcalerias’ are making a popular comeback throughout the country. The locals say you should drink Mezcal on two occasions: “for everything bad, for everything good”. So, basically, all the time

Pisco in Peru and Chile

Claimed by both Peru and Chile as their invention, Pisco is a staple drink in South America. It is essentially a type of brandy which is popularly served with egg white, lime juice and sugar syrup as a Pisco Sour cocktail.

Castle Lager in South Africa

Those loud and party-loving South Africans love a beer, and Castle is their brand of choice. Produced by one of the oldest breweries in the country, Castle Lager is well-known for sponsoring the South African cricket and football teams. After a few Castles, the locals are also fond of a brandy or two.

Guiness in Ireland

A classic drink that supposedly tastes different in Ireland than anywhere else in the world (and therefore, we assume, superior). The stout is actually good for you too, being so full of iron and anti-oxidants that it could almost be viewed as a meal-replacement drink – so it’s economical, too.

Sangria in Spain

Sangria is probably the only red wine-based cocktail in the world that tastes good. Typically made from wine, chopped fruit, brandy and a touch of sweetener, the drink is served cold and goes wonderfully with Spanish tapas. A few glasses with lunch will help you prepare for that all-important afternoon siesta.

Sauvignon Blanc in New Zealand

As far as ‘New World’ wines go, the Marlborough region in New Zealand’s South Island is one of the greatest success stories. Only hitting the scene in the late 1980’s, Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is famous across the globe and nicely compliments the fresh seafood on offer throughout New Zealand.

Bai Hoi in Vietnam

Quite possibly the cheapest beer in the world that you didn’t brew yourself. The locally brewed draft beer costs as little as ten pence a glass, which is pretty much unbeatable value. Bai Hoi is brewed daily and generally sold in tiny bars on street corners where the furniture consists of child-sized plastic chairs.

Rum in the Caribbean

No drink says “I’m on holiday” better than a rum-based cocktail. Be it a classic mojito or a creamy pina colada, sip it whilst relaxing on a stunning white-sanded beach overlooking the clear blue Caribbean sea. Preferably reclining in a hammock at the same time. You’re craving rum now, aren’t you?

Belikin Beer in Belize

Not only popular for their awesome use of alliteration, the Belikin beer company is the most popular in the country. They produce lager, stout and premium beers and have all but swept their competition out of the market, meaning you are unlikely to drink any other brand in Belize.

Whisky in Scotland

Let me be clear here: we are talking about Scotch whisky – not Bourbon. There is a massive difference in flavour and, if I was Queen Of The World, bartenders the globe over would be educated on this fact. Anyway, whilst in Scotland a visit to a whisky distillery is a must-do. If you don’t like whisky, that’s ok – just keep drinking it until you change your mind.

Bourbon in the United States

Speaking of Bourbon (and this is whiskey with an ‘e’), it should be your drink of choice whilst visiting southern US states such as Tennessee and Kentucky. Tennessee may be the home of world-famous Jack Daniels, but 95% of all American Bourbon is produced in Kentucky. The major distilleries of Jim Beam, Wild Turkey and Maker’s Mark are all based there. Check out Kentucky’s ‘Bourbon Trail’ for a true American drinking holiday.

Vodka in Poland

Although Russia leads the world in production of this dangerously tasteless alcohol, the Poles are big in the game too. They produce one of the most interesting vodkas in the world: bison grass flavour (which is excellent mixed with apple juice).

Pilsner in Germany and the Czech Republic

It’s hard to order a beer in Germany or the Czech Republic that isn’t a pilsner. Served with a frothy head that takes up most of the glass, this Bavarian lager has a distinctively hoppy flavour. The Czechs and Germans drink the most beer of any country in the world per-capita – it would be rude to order any other beverage and mess with those impressive stats.

Malbec in Argentina

Although French in origin, the Malbec grape is now more famous for the wine that Argentina makes from it. There is even a high-altitude version of the wine which is apparently the finest the country has to offer. A tour of the vineyards in Argentina is a great way to sample locally produced Malbec – usually for free.

Caesars in Canada

This one is for the hangover the next morning. The Canadians’ take on a Bloody Mary sounds pretty rancid: made with clamato juice, from clams (ew), vodka and spiced with seasoning, apparently this is the thing to drink when you awake feeling like the world is ending. After imbibing a Caesar you will be magically reborn again in a non-hungover form. Only if you can keep it down, though…

Check out these top travel experiences


Big One – 26 Days Across Central and East Coast of Canada

from £800

26 days


Experience it all. Great outdoors, national parks, epic citiesm quant towns. Gaspesie, Laurentians, Algonquin, Bay of Fundy, and Cabot Trail....

Europe Tour with Gapforce

from £1,500

14 - 28 days

Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, N...

Don’t travel alone, join our fun group every June and July to explore Europe with our UK leader.

Toki 14-day tour of Japan

from £1990

14 days


From Tokyo's futuristic neon lights and the rice fields of Izumo, to Kyoto's ancient temples and pristine beaches of the...

Nippon 1-Month Tour of Japan

from £4520

30 days


From Tokyo's futuristic neon lights and Kyoto's ancient temples, to trekking through the forests of the mountain mystics and enjoying...

Yamabushi 16-day tour of Japan

from £2500

16 days


Not your average tourist experience, this tour is specifically designed for the nature lovers out there. See a completely different...

Southern Trans Oceanic Quito to Rio via Buenos Aires

from £2475

69 days

Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru

Explore the Amazon Jungle, Hike the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, view the stunning Iguazu Falls and spend time...

Colombian Adventure Cartagena to Lima

from £1895

39 days

Colombia, Ecuador, Peru

Experience the flavours, curiosities and contradictions of these three fascinating South American countries.

Andes and Amazon Quito to La Paz

from £1750

37 days

Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru

Experience the Amazon rainforest at first-hand in a jungle lodge, follow the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, stay overnight with...

Peaks and Plains Lima to Buenos Aires

from £1675

35 days

Argentina, Bolivia, Peru

From trekking in the mountains to dancing the tango, this trip has it all.

Tropics of South America Rio to Manaus via The Guianas

from £3175

57 days

Brazil, Guyana

Explore some of Latin America’s most vibrant and colourful cities, pristine coastline, rich and verdant landscapes and search for diverse...

Discover more delicious food and drink around the world

[contact-form-7 id="4" title="Contact form 1"]