10 great places to drink in other cultures

Drinking isn’t just about kicking back and relaxing — it also can provide a window into another culture. So says comedian and professional drinker Zane Lamprey, Fine Living Network host of Three Sheets and author of the new Three Sheets: Drinking Made Easy! 6 Continents, 15 Countries, 190 Drinks, and 1 Mean Hangover! (Villard, $15). He shares favorite drinking experiences with Larry Bleiberg  for USA TODAY. As for the morning after, he still hasn’t found an effective hangover cure. “I’ve done 52 different episodes, and I’m still looking.”

“The first thing I do when I get off the plane in Ireland is order a pint of Guinness,” Lamprey says. “It goes down smoother there.” The beer, he notes, is the most popular in the world. From Africa to the Caribbean, he’s been surprised that’s what locals prefer to drink. You can enjoy a pint in the Gravity Bar at the end of Dublin’s Guinness brewery tour, which runs about $18. guinness-storehouse.com


Where else to drink Scotch than the British isle for which it’s named? “The holy grail for whiskey drinkers would be full of Scotch,” Lamprey says. “Whiskey was invented in Ireland, but the Scots perfected it.” He particularly likes the Quaich bar in the Craigellachie hotel in the town of Speyside, which stocks nearly 700 whiskies. oxfordhotelsandinns.com/OurHotels/Craigellachie


“Any beer drinker who wants a beer experiences has to go to Belgium,” Lamprey says. He vaguely remembers visiting Delirium Café, a bar in Brussels with more than 2,000 beers. The bartender kept giving him samples of different brews; by the time he left, he figures he had consumed the equivalent of a 12-pack. deliriumcafe.be

Kyoto, Japan

Lamprey says any adventurous drinker needs to discover sake. The rice wine has hundreds of variations. “There are filtered sakes. There’s aged sake. There’s sake that bubbles like Champagne.” He sampled them all in Kyoto. kyoto.travel

Maui, Hawaii

The Aloha State came as a surprise to Lamprey. Instead of mai tais or piña coladas, he tells visitors to search out locally made spirits, like Pau Maui. “It’s vodka made from pineapples right there in Maui, but it doesn’t taste like pineapples. It just tastes like vodka.” He also likes Ocean Vodka, which is distilled using sea-water taken from 2,000 feet below the surface. visitmaui com

South Africa

Lamprey enjoys a homemade beer called umqombothi. Although it’s best home-brewed, you can buy it in cardboard cartons at stores. “I went to Cape Flats shantytown and drank with locals and had a great time.” Another surprise: Klippy and Coke, a mixed drink with local Klipdrift brandy and cola. southafrica.net

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