7 Unique Local Spirits That Will Have You Drunk On Adventure

Travel offers the perfect drunk environment.

Embarrassing moments are only remembered by strangers, there’s no walk of shame to the office, and the puke filled bedsheets are the hotel’s problem, not yours. There’s also the genuine surprise factor. I didn’t know the local cane spirit was 80% proof! Why didn’t you mention that the cocktails were laced with aviation fuel!

Of course, travel provides an opportunity to indulge in luxuriant tastes; genuine champagne, Scottish whiskey, wines that assault the senses. But we’re not too fussed about that here. You can buy all those things at home. We’re going to reveal the local and the grimy. The mental spirits that blow your head off and are completely unique to a destination. The spirits that nobody exports because everyone is too drunk to invent a decent marketing ploy. We’re talking about alcohol that is cheaper than bottled water, and parties that make The Hangover look tame. We’re talking about the 7 local spirits to try before you die.

Some taste surprisingly good, while others take a week of gagging to conquer. But go around with the world with these seven spirits and you are absolutely guaranteed of a funny night.

Korean Soju

Korean Soju Or a clear glass of a SojuSoju_in_korean_restaurant

Soju prices encourages alcoholism. Liter for liter, it’s cheaper than bottled water in South Korea. Locals drink this rice liquor neat, although there’s no harm in initially mixing a bit of lemonade to dampen the hit on the throat. Like many spirits, soju tastes better as the night progresses. Start your night with the cheapest 20% bottles, and then smuggle the 40% variety into a club. It provides a wonderfully happy drunk, and it feels like there is no end to your soju drinking capabilities, until, BOOM……….you wake up on the metro and it’s midday.

Eastern European Home Made Schnapps

Drinking Schnaps

And this was just the scene at 11am

Eastern Europe’s fruit orchards surround country roads and consume gardens. But the locals don’t have a fondness for apple pie or fig jam. The orchards are a leftover from communist times, when everyone would concoct a personal stash of rocket fuel. Home made fruit schnapps doesn’t taste great. Not that you have a choice in the matter. Meet a local and their proud homemade concoction will be forced into your mouth. At 9am. On a Tuesday morning. It offers a slumbering argumentative drunk. The type for drooling all over your girlfriend, and picking fights, even though you’re too hammered to get off the chair.

Nicaragua’s Flor de Cana

How many days on the beach to drink all this?

Latin America seems to run a monopoly on producing top quality rum. It’s increasingly available in US liquor stores, with Bacardi’s Havana Club seeming to somehow signify Cuba, even if it’s produced in Puerto Rico. Travel through Central America and you’ll be treated to some exceptional bottles, many of them only seen in a particular province or town. Then arrive in Nicaragua and slosh some Flor de Cana around your mouth. Keep it in there. It tastes good doesn’t it? Flor de Cana easily takes away our prize for best tasting cheap local spirit. It makes you social and relaxed, as well as providing a smile inducing haze to view the world. Find a postcard perfect beach, stock up on Flor de Cana, and reschedule your return flight…it really is that good.

African Cane Spirit Sachets

malawi-sachets-liquorMalawi Liquor Sachet

Let’s state the obvious: most Africans are extremely poor. The local spirit is brewed from the ubiquitous sugar cane, and many villages have home made operations that induce permanent blindness. In countries like Malawi a bottle of cane spirit will cost less than $2. But when did an African alcoholic have that kind of money? Instead, shops sell cane spirit in reams of 50cl plastic sachets. Decide how many you want and then rip them off from the line. They’re so cheap that you can buy 100 at a time and wrap them round your waist like they’re Rambo’s bullets. It’s ludicrously potent and the hangover isn’t for the fainthearted. But how else were you going to get drunk in Malawi?

Filipino Tanduay

Tanduay Rum

Even when you’re viciously hungover this is a good sight…

Visit the Philippines and you only need one travel companion. Silky smooth and alarmingly cheap, Tanduay rum simply makes the world a better place. It’s strong enough to have you wandering across the sand, hitting on any bronzed body you like the look of. Yet the non-existent hangovers mean that you won’t spend the next day in a confused sweaty mess. You’re constantly smiling, always chatting, and never contemplating when it’s bed time. Even when you wake up naked on the beach, your first thought is to buy a new bottle of Tanduay.

Ex-Soviet Nation Vodka

Uzbek Vodka Store

Ahh…the beauty of competition keeping the price down.

Everybody knows Smirnoff, as well as a dozen other vodka brands that use a Russian name to shift bottles. Yet the Russians wouldn’t touch Smirnoff. It’s the lowest of the low, a vile drink for the country’s underclass. Which leads us to the ex-Soviet countries that found independence in the 90’s. They were the Soviet underclass, and they’ve got thousands of different brands, each competing to be the opiate for the masses. Half liter bottles start at $1 in countries like Uzbekistan or Georgia. If that sounds a little close to aviation fuel, then choose from the 50 different brands that come in at $2. Travel in these countries is not so much about a certain drunkenness, it’s more a permanent state of inebriation. In fact, if you can’t knock back a 50cl vodka shot without grimacing, then you should probably travel elsewhere.

South American Highland Canelazo


So it looks like a drink for goblin, but in the Andean mountains there’s nothing better.

Cold nights in the Andes aren’t for refrigerated beer. Locals boil up sugar cane spirit with water, cinnamon, and cloves, creating a fragrant treat that has surprising potency. Drink a couple of cups to get merry, but the pot has to be finished before it cools, so it’s going to be a long night if there’s only a few of you drinking. It’s a drink that epitomizes the people of Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Easy-going, warm, friendly, yet with a nice splash of spice to keep everyone entertained.

You'll want to keep your wits about you in the favelas of Rio.

You’ll want to keep your wits about you in the favelas of Rio.

Know of a better local spirit? Post your drunken photos and prove it…