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Monday Five Thirty / Southeast Asia Travel / Food Travel / Booze Travel / Myanmar Travel / Lake Inle / → All Tags
Red Mountain Winery at Inle Lake, Myanmar
Wine-tasting was definitely not on my radar during a recent trip to Southeast Asia. Having a bit of medicinal-tasting rice wine from ceramic bowls in the local villages? Sure. But sipping red wine from glass stemware in a proper tasting room? Not exactly what you picture when you think of Myanmar.
The country has only two wineries, Aythaya and Red Mountain Winery, both of which are located near Inle Lake in the Shan State where the higher elevations give way to better growing climates. Either is accessible by taxi from the main town of Nyaung Shwe, but Red Mountain's close proximity to the lake (under two miles) makes its possible to bike to it.
Monday Five Thirty / Southeast Asia Travel / Food Travel / Booze Travel / Sky Beer / Myanmar Travel / → All Tags
Aside from providing much needed shade and scenery to the hot and dry areas of Southeast Asia, the toddy palm also gives back with something to drink while you sit beneath it. Generally referred to as palm wine throughout the region, the locals in Myanmar affectionately call it "sky beer."
It's similar to kava in that it's an organic alcohol alternative-beverage. The juice is collected from the top of the tree and gathered into earthenware pots. It is traditionally served as is - i.e. no additives or processing (although be aware that some places serving tourists do add alcohol nowadays).
As the natural juice sits, a small amount of fermentation will occur, which means that, unlike kava, alcohol will be present in the drink when consumed. As the local wisdom goes, the later in the day you drink sky beer, the stronger it will be because it has had more time to ferment. Even at its strongest, it is not day-changing and results in nothing more than rosy cheeks and laughter.
Drinking Travel / Portugal Travel / Porto Travel / Douro Valley / Monday Five Thirty / Wine Travel / Port / Portonic / → All Tags
In the same way that only sparkling wine from Champagne in France can be sold under that name, only dessert wine made in Porto’s Douro Valley can be labeled as “Port.” Later this week, we’ll take a walk through one of the region’s most famous wine lodges to get a sense of its varieties and history, but today we want to take a glance at how Port is being consumed in the present.
You’ve all no doubt seen the small after-dinner sipper glasses used when it is drunk in the traditional way, but did you know that Port has gone trendy? It has found new life in Portuguese bars, restaurants, and homes as the base ingredient in cocktails.
Monday Five Thirty / Drinking Travel / Mexico Travel / Baja California Travel / Los Cabos Travel / Cabo Travel / San Jose del Cabo Travel / San Lucas Travel / → All Tags
Tequila and summertime lagers dominate the drinking scene in Mexico so much so that, unless you're hitting up fancy cocktail bars in Mexico City, variety is not something you expect to experience. Because of that, we get very excited anytime we come across a liquid vice that allows us to do a margarita differently.
In Cabo and Baja California, keep your eye out for Damiana, a herb-based liqueur produced from the locally grown plant by the same name, which is considered to be a strong aphrodisiac in itself. So, you can imagine the potential it holds when fermented. As a funny footnote, a Mexican bride is sometimes given a bottle of Diamana as a wedding present to foster fertility.
Monday Five Thirty / Drinking Travel / Chile Travel / South America Travel / Booze Travel / Lists / Santiago Travel / Portillo Travel / → All Tags
Everyone knows that Chile makes one hell of a Pisco Sour, and last year, we told you how you can put a twist on it by adding in some of the Atacama's medicinal plant, Rica Rica. But did you know that the most common way the locals drink Pisco is in soda? When you're ready to go beyond the country's famous cocktail, here's what you should be drinking in Chile:
Monday Five Thirty / Drinking Travel / Guatemala Travel / Central America Travel / Gallo / Ron Zacapa Rum / → All Tags
Given that Guatemala has about two dozen volcanoes to explore, you'll definitely be thirsty when it comes time to rest your bones for the day. Look for these local favorites that are not only made within the country, but carry interesting backstories sure to kick off your happy hour in style.
Monday Five Thirty / Drinking Travel / Costa Rica Travel / Central America Travel / Cacique Guaro / → All Tags
“Cacique” is the Spanish and Latin American term for Indian chief, which is why you will see one on the label of the liquor bottle. "Guaro" is a more common word to describe a clear liquor from Central America that's made from sugar cane. It also has a nickname within its logo, “cuatro plumas,” referring to the four-feathers worn by the tribe's most powerful member.
Monday Five Thirty / Drinking Travel / Vietnam Travel / Hanoi Travel / Beer / Bia Hoi / Bia Hoi Vietnam / Happy Hour / → All Tags
Typical Vietnamese cafe found throughout the city of Hanoi
The present value of the Vietnamese Dong will have visitors who explore the country’s capital quickly realizing that everything is extremely affordable for carriers of foreign currency. Luckily, this also includes the price you pay to kick back with a few cold ones.
In a recent study on the cost of beer around the world, Vietnam was number two on the list with an average price of 59 cents. And given that temperatures during the summer in Hanoi are in the mid-90s with maxed out humidity, beer is the drink of choice when it comes to cooling off (you'll want to stay far, far away from red wine or whiskey during the day unless you’ve got the a/c blasting full force).
Safari Travel / Africa Travel / Kenya Travel / Great Migration / Drinking Travel / Monday Five Thirty / → All Tags
With all the unfortunate things happening in the area, lost in the shuffle is the fact that one of nature’s most spectacular events, the Great Migration, is taking place at the moment, with millions of wildebeest crossing over between Tanzania and Kenya.
If going on a safari is on your bucketlist, then seeing the Great Migration should be in parenthesis. A few months ago, we discussed what the best time of year to go on a safari was, noting that with the Great Migration comes loads and loads of crowds. That’s why this travel writer feels Africa deserves two “trips of a lifetime,” one to see the savannas at peace and the another to experience the Great Migration.
Monday Five Thirty / Drinking Travel / Salt Lake City Travel / Park City Travel / Utah Travel / High West Distillery / → All Tags
People complain all the time about the liquor laws in Utah, but while they may make life tough at times on a local looking to start a booze business, the fact of the matter is that the laws don't prevent any tourist from having a good time. If you need proof, simply take a walk down Main Street in Park City on any given night. Does it look like anyone is lacking?
And it's not just about serving booze, it's about proving you can produce it. Beer brewing has had its problems (although it's slowly getting better), which is why the Park City 7-11 supposedly sells the most PBR in the States. But if you fancy a whiskey on a cold winter night, look no further than High West Distillery on Park Ave, the first (legal) distillery in Utah since the end of Prohibition.
Monday Five Thirty / Beach Bars / Turks and Caicos Travel / Drinking Travel / Caribbean Travel / Providenciales Travel / Da Conch Shack / → All Tags
We teased you last week with the above photo, snapped at one of the Caribbean's best beach bars, Da Conch Shack on Provo, Turks and Caicos. With its beautiful oceanfront setting, friendly waiters, and live music, you won't find a better place to catch a drink during happy hour.
What should you drink? Below, we dish on some of the island's favorite beverages:
Drinking beer in Germany is an obvious must when traveling through the country, and it certainly doesn't take much convincing. Its brewing reputation and history speaks for itself, and because the production and ingredients are regulated by the government, the quality of beer being brewed is as good as it gets these days.
The Germans love it so much, they even offer ways ways to enjoy beer if you don't like beer, such as a Radler (beer mixed with lemonade) or an Alster (beer with soda) that takes some of the edge off the flavor. This weekend in Berlin, we discovered another variation on the traditional pint in the form of the Berliner Weisse, a sour wheat beer that is served with a drop of flavoring to help the medicine go down.