The globetrotter’s guide to national drinks


Of all the pleasures of visiting foreign countries, there’s one that has a special, intoxicating zing: sampling the national drinks. Every country has one, and tasting the national tipple is one of the experiences that really makes you feel you’re participating in the local culture.

I’ve had tequila in  Mexico, drunk French wine in sight of the vineyards where it grew, tried tuak in the jungles of Borneo, and sipped Cointreau on the island that bears its name. And I still remember (well, vaguely) the night a group of Colombians made me drink too many shots of aguardiente, their native firewater, at the Hard Rock Hotel in Panama.

There are many more national drinks out there, too, from just about every part of the world. It seems that wherever there’s a bit of fruit to be had — or even a few potatoes — people find a way to turn it into alcohol. Sometimes they even make it taste good. Then everyone has a few, and a good time is had by all.

Not all countries spend a lot of time advertising their national drinks, so it’s helpful to know them before you arrive. To that end, the folks at Visualistan have supplied a handy graphic guide to the national drinks of countries all over the world, from Barbados to Bosnia. It’s not the full list: conspicuously absent is Canada, with its famous Canadian whisky and ice wine, sold in duty-free shops just about everywhere. But it gets around the globe pretty well, with some intriguing entries from far and wide.

So, bottoms up — hope you enjoy it. And if you know of any especially good national drinks that should be added to the list, leave a comment and let us know.

Around the World in 20 National Spirits #Infographic

You can also find more infographics at Visualistan.


About Author

Paul Marshman is a retired journalist who spent 30 years as a writer and editor on Canadian newspapers, while travelling to the ends of the earth. Now he continues to travel while passing on his travel experiences to you.


  1. Christin Watson on

    Hi Paul, I found this article very interesting! I didn’t know any thing about the local drinks of so many places other than the obvious few. I am not a drinker but a few sounded good to me and if I were there I would definitely make the exception. Thanks Christin Lynn

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