Drinking rules and customs you need to know on the road

Published May 21st, 2016

We Aussies aren’t the only ones who enjoy a cold bevvy or two to relax and unwind with friends. However, different cultures have different customs when it comes to knocking back a few, so make sure you know what to expect and how to avoid any cultural faux pas along the way.


Bottoms up! The pub culture in Britain is as old as its history. Throughout the ages, they have gathered in ale houses to knock back local brews with friends, to blow off steam and to escape the cold, grey weather. One thing you need to know about the Brits is that they like to buy rounds, so if people are buying you drinks, expect to return the favour or you’ll be frowned upon. The other thing you need to know about drinking in Britain is that they love their ales, and this means pints of warm beer…. you have been warned!



A photo posted by Ludovico Magro (@ludovicomagro98) on


Everyone knows the Russians love their vodka, but before you visit, there are a couple of things you need to know about the way they drink their vodka. Firstly, although you may be partial to a dash of coke or tonic with your vodka, the Russians drink it neat in shot glasses, and anything else will be frowned upon. Also, Russians drink their vodka in copious amounts, and it is considered rude to open a bottle without finishing it in the same sitting. Nostrovia!


Expect an intensity that comes with drinking Scandinavian style, and it’s not just about the drink. Eye contact when toasting your drinking buddy remains a strong tradition that dates back to Viking times when they would toast “Skal” and maintain a watchful gaze throughout the whole drinking process to ensure the other person didn’t pull a weapon on them.



A photo posted by Martin Karlsson (@marka285) on

Czech Republic

It’s no secret that the Czechs love their beer, and there’s no shortage of breweries to visit and bars to drink in here. The Czech Republic actually consumes more beer per person than any other country in the world. The rules still apply here though: keep eye contact with those you’re drinking with, before toasting “Nozdravy”. Then clink the bottom of your glass firmly against the table before chugging your beer down in one.

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You may be surprised to hear that the Koreans are actually pretty big boozers. They love their alcohol, and it’s totally acceptable to get loose (usually leading to karaoke), as long as you follow their cultural guidelines. Firstly, you must drink with other people, drinking alone is not okay here. Also, never fill your own glass – it’s considered rude – and fill the glasses of your elders or superiors, but not unless their glasses are empty.



A photo posted by WINE with ME (@wine_withme) on


Alcohol consumption in France is somewhat more refined than elsewhere. It’s all about appreciation and savouring the taste. A long time wine growing country, the customs that have evolved here include not filling a glass too full (no more than halfway), and waiting until everyone has a drink before taking a sip of yours (after toasting to everyone’s health
with “Sante!”).

Amy Dalgleish

Wanderlust pommie, currently living the dream in sunny Byron Bay.