There are two kinds of travelers: those that seek relaxation and those that seek adventure. Some people just like to sit on a beach and read, drinking the same thing they drink at home and staying within a few hundred yards of the hotel. Others like to learn the local culture, get lost, eat weird food and get tipsy with the locals. We at The Savory like to put ourselves in the latter category. We approach international travel as a time to up our game, enjoy ourselves and try different things. And this couldn’t be truer than when it comes to the local firewater.
To go alongside the article posted earlier about boozy escapes within the United States, we have included some of our favorite international locations that have a culture deeply rooted in alcohol production and consumption.
(Image courtesy of Wikimedia.org)
For years Belgium was not known for much aside from weird chocolate. A country often used as a punch line by many larger countries in Europe, it suffered from having bold and influential neighbors such as the Netherlands, Germany and France. But that certainly can’t be said about the small Flemish nation anymore.
Belgium, it could certainly be argued, produces some of the best beer in the world. Belgian-style ales, Saisons, lambics, pilsners, Flemish reds and wheat beers are all a huge success in the United States. There is also Stella Artois, Leffe and Hoegaarden for those who like more ‘normal’ beers.
Europe is such a convenient continent to travel around and if one goes to Belgium and tours around the breweries they may as well go to Germany to see their breweries, France to see the vineyards and….
(Image courtesy of Geograph.org.uk)
The rainy lump of peat in the Irish Sea is home to the smokiest, briniest single malt Scotch in the world. With eight functioning, world-renowned distilleries, a huge malting floor, an endless supply of peat and an eternal water source raining down on them seemingly every day, Islay is one of the most fascinating places in the British Isles.
Laphroaig, Lagavulin and Ardbeg are big players on the east-facing side of the island, famous for white walls with their names written in huge bold letters across them. Every distillery on the island offers an insightful tour, which will debunk a lot of the mysteries of the sainted malts and will help you understand why Scotch whiskey is one of the most sought-after beverages in the world.
(Image courtesy of Wikimedia.org)
Arguably one of the most breathtaking wine-producing regions in the world, the Mendoza region of Argentina does a bold, consistent Malbec like no other place. Year after year the land continues to offer up superb grapes, resulting in the region quickly becoming one of the biggest producers in the New World.
The original vines were thought to have been brought over during Spanish colonization, and the high-altitude foothills of the Andes along the border of Chile have proved to be extremely rich in minerals. The rivers streaming from the melting snowcapped peaks are perfect for the irrigation process needed to combat the seasonal dryness in the soil.
Couple a trip through the vineyards with hiking expeditions deep into the breathtaking Patagonia region with a cultural jaunt through the streets of Buenos Aires (a city often cited as the ‘Paris of South America’).
(Image courtesy of Wikimedia.com)
Now it should be clarified from the off that this suggestion is rooted in quantity, not quality. Every other place that we have suggested is known for producing alcohol of exceptionally high standards but Korea is known for the opposite: turpentine spirits, transparent fizzy beers and a level of consumption that will absolutely terrify the timid.
Seoul is about getting twisted. It’s about Soju, beer and cloudy rice wine all together, combined with plates of random spicy food littered around the table in front of you. It’s about shots, one after the other, dropped into beers, chased down with a pack of smokes and regurgitated on the sidewalk after three grueling hours of Karaoke.
A night out in Seoul will knock weeks off your life but it will be one of the most memorable experiences you’ll have at the bottom of the bottle. There are so many incredible places to drink that it would take years and years to feel like you’ve ‘done’ Seoul.