Posts Tagged ‘Drinking’

Five Steps for Drinking With Koreans


If you’ve ever so much as hung out with a Korean person, you know that they can match drinks with anyone. I didn’t even have to go to Korea to first learn this, as I got plenty of education even in the U.S. on what the phrase “Johnnie Black” means to Koreans. We gave you some advice for drinking with the Chinese, and since each culture in Asia has its own strict drinking rules, we thought we’d do the same in case you find yourself drinking with Koreans.

Without further adieu, here are your five steps to drinking with Koreans:

  1. Never, ever, under any circumstances pour your own drink: Just as you are supposed to be looking out for those around you to make sure their glasses are never empty (please, re-fill them if they are), they will be doing the same thing for you. Play along.
  1. Use two hands: When someone does pour your drink, hold your cup with both hands. This rule actually applies to anything given to you in Korea, and while you will probably be given a pass if you don’t do this out of unintentional ignorance, better to impress your hosts.
  1. Turn your back: I’m not sure that I agree with it, but Korea is still an incredibly hierarchical society. When drinking with someone who is considered a superior—a boss, older person, etc.—you should drink while turning your back from them when you take your sip.
  1. Eat when you can: Very rarely do Koreans drink with only one type of alcohol, and it can be considered rude to turn down a drink (also not sure I agree with this). Generally speaking, a night out will involve the traditional Korean vodka-like beverage of soju with dinner, beer with tasty Korean snacks like fried chicken at the next stop (hint: this is where you may want to load up—on food), a stop at another place for more beer, a trip to a karaoke place where you may end up drinking anything, and finally a trip to a club, where you also may be drinking anything. Food won’t be available everywhere, so to soak up your mixed liquor, eat when you can, even if this requires a quick stop by one of the delicious street food vendors selling tasty treats like ddokpoki in between venues.
  1. Selective amnesia: Depending how many people you’re out with, someone is going to drink too much. On a good day, this will just mean that he or she passes out at the table you are drinking at, in which case you will just see to it that he or she gets into a taxi safely. On a bad day, this will turn into a meaningless fight for no reason at all. Either way, this isn’t necessarily considered shameful in Korea, since it is expected to happen to the best of them at times, and simply means you’re making a noble effort to keep your drinking skills up. But when it does, a true gentleman will never mention it again. You’ll hope someone extends you the same courtesy when it’s you who is sprawled out on the floor of a Korean bar.
Listen to this advice when you're having dinner...

Listen to this advice when you’re having dinner…

...because this is to follow...

…because this is to follow…

Yes, that says 4pm to 9am....

Yes, that says 4pm to 9am….

It isn't going to slow down...

It isn’t going to slow down…


…so eat that chicken when you can…


...because there is more of this to follow...

…because there is more of this to follow…

...with no shortage of options...

…with no shortage of options…'re likely to end up doing some karaoke...

…you’re likely to end up doing some karaoke…

...and then at a club

…and then at a club

Cut some slack to whoever looks like this first...

Cut some slack to whoever looks like this first…









Real Heroes Walk Away…


Not all of Australia’s drinking activities are uncivilized, as you may have picked up from our article about the culture of shouting. But that aside, it is clear that the country still has a major problem when its longest serving emergency department director throws out the “d” word.

“We have developed this incredibly dumb drinking culture in Australia…and it’s a national issue,” said Professor Gordian Fulde of St. Vincent Hospital in Sydney.

Fulde’s comments last year came in light of the estimated 3,500 Australians that suffer brain damage as a result of assaults each year. Approximately 82 percent of these injuries occur on weekends, between the hours of midnight and 4am, and 70 percent of them happened in the close vicinity of pubs or clubs.

While this may shed some light into the macho Australian attitude that I experienced within minutes of landing in Sydney during one visit, especially when fueled by alcohol, it is a serious issue that has many officials calling for even stricter regulations on nightlife (there are already bans in place for serving drinks in glasses after midnight).

The government also launched a multimedia campaign last year, called Real Heroes Walk Away, in hopes of curbing the late night violence.

According to Fulde, the larger problem lies in the culture, how young people have a badge of honor attached to engaging in violence and winning fights. “And we have to show Dad that what he looks like on Saturday morning with a hangover is horrible,” he added.

Courtesy of

Having a Shout in Australia!


That Australia is a nation known for drinking is little surprise. It is widely thought that the first Australian settlers drank more alcohol per capita than any other population in history, and understandably so given that the country’s currency for a time was rum.

What isn’t so known, to outsiders anyway, is the concept of “shouting.” Going back through Australia’s long history with alcohol, it has always been considered bad form to drink alone here. And in the old days, when the nation was primarily a land of convicts, people used to buy drinks for others, perhaps as a test for character. If he returned the favor, he was okay—if not, he was someone best avoided.

My friends at Convict Creations wrote a fascinating piece about the social benefits of shouting, and how it has ironically saved a culture known for drinking from some of the catastrophic drinking-related problems of it’s Russian, South American or East Asian counterparts. So please go there for some interesting tidbits, while now I will focus on helping you understand the proper way to shout Down Under. 

  1. There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch:  Maybe you’ve heard this in Economics class, but it holds true here. If you aren’t going to return the favor, don’t accept a drink from someone. And don’t try to say you’ll pay them back next time!
  1. Don’t Knock Over That Man’s Beer:  If you have the misfortune of knocking over someone else’s drink, you had better hope there is another full mug on the table. In some parts of Australia, spilling one’s beer earns the guilty party a punch in the arm from every other member of the group!
  1. Step Up to the Plate:  It is up to you to step up to the plate and volunteer your shout. Nobody else is going to remind you unless it becomes painfully obvious that you’re attempting to breach your responsibilities to the group.
  1. Don’t be the Showy Offy Drink Snob!:  Whatever everyone is drinking, keep it consistent. If you try to switch the good old VB to a round of Chimay because you tried it on your trip to Belgium and enjoyed it, you’ll look like a douche.
  1. Nobody’s Forcing You:  In the event that you are starting to feel you had too much and want to bow out, wait until the end of a round. You don’t want to look like that guy mooching, nor do you want that round’s volunteer to appear cheap by not having to buy the same amount of drinks as everyone else. If you must drop out mid-round, try requesting a non-alcoholic drink. You may get a chuckle, but everyone saves face.
  1. Everyone is Equal:  Unlike in some cultures, here it doesn’t matter who is rich, who is poor, who is man, who is woman. The same expectations and obligations apply to everyone.

Now that you know the rules of the game, enjoy your shout next time you find yourself in Australia, or just drinking with a group of mates from there!

Plastic Cup Special: Drinking After Midnight


You’re all excited for your big night out in Sydney. You put on your favorite t-shirt, check your hair in the mirror, and cab it down to King’s Cross for an epic Saturday night. You beat the queue, march up to the bar and order your drink, only to be handed…a plastic cup? What kind of place is this?

You see, it has just passed midnight, and the Australian government has made it compulsory for pubs to serve alcohol in plastic cups after that hour. Why? With something in the neighborhood of 1,000 “glassings” (an attack using glass as a weapon) each year, drunken, John Wayne Western-style violence has become a black cloud over the country’s social scene. 

Australia is attempting to make it harder for John Wayne impersonators after midnight

As the majority of these attacks have occurred between midnight and 3am, the government is hoping to play its part in eliminating these attacks. Much like the gun-law debate in America, however, there is much contention over whether taking away one weapon will eliminate the violence, or if another approach should be considered.

For now, though, you fine wine connoisseurs may want to enjoy that expensive bottle before midnight, because it all may taste the same in red plastic cup!