5 Ways To Get Drunk Like The Locals


Ahhh . . . sweet libations. That is, until you fill up your own glass in Seoul sitting next a newly acquired South Korean friend. That’s a no-no, as well as several other actions surrounding a culture’s way of drinking. Above, is a little educational footage I filmed with some friends while in Suwon, South Korea, regarding said culture. Got your notebook handy?

Viewed as one of the best ways to get in touch with the local culture on your travels, it is wise to read up on the many particular drinking customs of the country you find yourself. Lucy Corne (who has an article coming up on our site this Monday) gives it to us straight over at BootsnAll by explaining the customs in five different countries around the world. We won’t ask how many research trips were involved in the writing process, but would be interested to know.

Besides South Korea, here are some points you should vaguely be aware of, to help you avoid a festive pub brawl:

  • The U.K.: Skipping out on your round is one of the worst blunders you can make.
  • Spain: The Spanish phrase te invito means “I’m buying,” rather than “I’m inviting you to join me,” so be careful how you ask people to go drinking.
  • Australia: Nothing will lose you popularity points quicker than failing to buy for your drinking buddies when it’s your shout (round).
  • South Africa: While women are generally the brewmasters, in traditional South African culture, they’re at the back of the queue when it comes to drinking, so put your beliefs to the side and wait patiently until it’s your turn to drink.

Generally speaking, cultures that serious about drinking have a tendency to overlook foreign, alcohol-induced, blunders, but knowing these general rules and, of course, the local translation for “cheers,” will score you points that often come back to you tenfold.

Kon bei!


Published on January 22, 2010

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/jonwick jonwick

    Anytime, Lucy- fun article. I have to admit, thinking of all those soju shots gives me the heebie jeebies now. Thank goodness I'm back in the land of micro-brews!

  • http://www.lucycorne.com Lucy Corne

    Love the vid btw.

  • http://www.lucycorne.com Lucy Corne

    Hey Jon, thanks for the link! I couldn't possibly divulge the secrets of my research trips. But of course it was all in the name of research. I didn't enjoy tasting any of the booze at all. Horrible stuff ;-)