One of the great joys of traveling is exploring the foods of a foreign place. What does a bowl of pasta taste like in Italy? How much better are tacos in Mexico? But just as important as the food is the drinks that you wash it down with. Experience the aroma and taste of a French wine while in France. Feel the pain of a vodka hangover while freezing in the streets of Moscow. Grab your anti theft bag and hit the beverage meccas of the world and go all in.
In Belgium, beer is religion. Starting in the 19th century, monks brewed beer that was dark, sweet and high in alcohol content. And it was only for them. Now, walk into any quaint Belgian town and you’ll surely find a monastery with over over 150 years of delicious experience. While the rest of the world brews water, the Belgians brew beer.
If we are to believe stereotypes, then wine is for snobs and French people are snobs. Therefore, France is the wine capitol of the world. But the connection runs deeper than that. Despite discoveries about the conditions in California or South America, France is still the king of wine. They invented champagne after all. Hit the regions of France and you’ll be faced with a whos who of the wine world. Bourdeaux, Alsace, Champagne, Provence and Cognac.
Once upon a time, China was the king of tea but they have fallen. India is now the leading exporter of tea and they make a lot. In the early 19th century, the British East India Company was formed, in large part, to facilitate the export of tea from India. They are responsible for some of the world’s most iconic strains, including Assam and Darjeeling.
True, they aren’t the world leading exporter of coffee beans anymore. (That title currently belongs to Brazil) But Colombia still reminds us of a simpler time, when coffee came in tin cans and was supposedly delivered by men with sombreros and donkeys. Walk through any busy street in Bogota, Medellin or Cartagena and you’ll find dozens of vendors selling “cafe tinto” out of small plastic cups. It’s not a luxury, it’s a way of life and it’s delicious.
The beautiful thing about travel and liquor is that for nearly every country in the world there is a specialty liquor. Whether you’re using vodka to warm your cold winter nights in Russia or sipping rum on the beach in Jamaica, you’ll find amazing spirits almost everywhere. Often, the best liquors are the hyper local ones. Who needs rum or vodka when you’ve got bell jars filled with rice liquor and dead lizards in rural China?