The True Guide on Drinking Etiquette Around the World

Drinking Etiquette Around the World
Drinking is not just a habit, but a secret language that binds people all over the world. However, every language has certain rules and regulations that need to be followed. Drinking then, is no exception. Let SocialMettle introduce you to the etiquette to be followed around the world.
SocialMettle Staff
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
To alcohol! The cause of... and solution to... all of life's problems.
~ Matt Groening
Whether you drink to resolve a dispute, or drink to someone's good health, you inadvertently participate in an activity that's considered to be relaxing.

While the world definitely comes together when it comes to drinks, there are certain underlying factors that you must take into consideration. One of them being, following the local customs and traditions when it comes to drinking.

Drinking culture, as it has come to be known, is nothing but associating certain customs and practices with the consumption of alcoholic beverages. When traveling abroad for work or pleasure, you need to bear in mind the different perspectives related to consuming alcohol before you actually clink your glass and gulp down a sip. In most countries, drinking often follows some sort of ritual, while in most others, it is just a means for socializing.

Why wait any longer? Let's begin with understanding these social traditions that become a part of the drinking etiquette around the world.
Australia
Drinking party at restaurant
Clink it Saying: Cheers
Etiquette to be followed: Do not drink alone.
In Australia, when a man drinks, he has to have company. It is considered ethical to invite a few friends or truck load of people to drink with you in this part of the world. You obviously cannot pay for your drink alone, you have to abide by doing the rounds or shouts as they call them.

Get used to: 'Shouts'
Belgium
Couples dancing and drinking
Clink it Saying: Santé
Etiquette to be followed: Raise your glass twice during a toast.
The Belgians always wait for the host to offer a toast before the dig into their drink. While there are no reservations as to who makes the toast, it is considered polite to stand for the same. The Flemish raise their glasses at the completion of the drink as well as the regular toasting with the glass full.

Get used to: Attracting the service of waiters at bars.
China
Couple drinking party
Clink it Saying: Gan Bei
Etiquette to be followed: Remember to allow the glasses of your seniors to be higher than yours while clinking.
The Chinese like their glasses filled to the brim, and strictly adhere to filling the glasses according to seniority. Don't take the literal meaning of emptying your drink in one shot, for you will be expected to do the same for every drink that follows.

Get used to: Being shown the empty glass in your face every time your neighbor has finished it.
Czech Republic
Drinking people
Clink it Saying: Na zdraví
Etiquette to be followed: Clink your glasses without crossing arms with other members
The Czecs love their beer frothing and frothing it should remain till the last sip. You obviously have to wait for the toast to be raised to everyone's good health, clink your glasses and then enjoy the beer. Do remember to gulp down your beer every few minutes, but ensure you do not leave your beer unfinished, lest you wish to insult the bartender.

Get used to: The in-house beer that's served at pubs.
Denmark
Friends drinking at rooftop
Clink it Saying: Skål
Etiquette to be followed: It would be inappropriate to decline an invitation to social events.
Want to see the real Danish crowd? Enter a bar or a nightclub and you are sure to find them there. While public drinking is not sensible, moderate drinking is permitted. Mad about their beer, you get to enjoy Carlsberg and Tuborg. Do not forget to make eye contact with your host while making a toast.

Get used to: Letting your guard down over the weekend and staying sane throughout the week.
France
Couples drinking
Clink it Saying: Santé
Etiquette to be followed: Don't go overboard when filling your glass - keep it always just above the halfway mark.
The French savor their drink and expect you to do the same. Guzzling down your drink like a thirsty raven is the biggest blunder you can commit in this country. Keeping in tune with the French mannerism, men are expected to fill the glasses of the women. Besides, it wouldn't be wise to fill your own glass.

Get used to: Not touching your drink till everyone else is served.
Germany
New year party
Clink it Saying: Prost
Etiquette to be followed: Clink your glass with everyone at the table.
Drinking alcohol in public is common and legal and is an integral part of the lifestyle in Germany. Making eye contact with everyone is important, especially when making a toast. Enjoy your drink walking down the street, strolling around the park, or even in one of the beer gardens. Germans really love their beer and this is evident in the price of the beer.

Get used to: Beer is as cheap as water.
Greece
Night party with friends
Clink it Saying: Stin iyia mas
Etiquette to be followed: No public display of drunkenness please.
Wine is served at lunch and dinner and you better savor it lest your glass be refilled over and over again. When drinking ouzo, remember to take small sips. It is definitely better to have your glass half full.

Get used to: Having ouzo as an aperitif.
Hungary
Women clinking glasses
Clink it Saying: Egészségedre
Etiquette to be followed: Beer glasses are never to be clinked.
Hungary loves their drinks, and the faster you finish your glass the faster it will be refilled. Hungarians do not like to see an empty glass and will keep refilling it for you till you learn to leave your glass half full. In addition to that, the Hungarians don't mind toasting every now and then.

Get used to: Raising a toast if you have been addressed personally.
Ireland
Drinking businessman
Clink it Saying: Sláinte
Etiquette to be followed: Remember to get your round in.
The Irish like their pubs, and head there to celebrate and to cheer their favorite teams. While it's an offense to be drunk in public, the bigger offense is not getting in your round. Be sure to be offered a drink by the Irish and accept if you might, it comes with an unseen condition.

Get used to: Keeping a track of whose turn it is next.
Israel
Friends toasting beverages
Clink it Saying: Lechaim
Etiquette to be followed: Confirm if your Muslim friends consume alcohol.
The Israelis have a relaxed attitude toward alcohol, and the bars will stay open till the last customer is out. Wine is drunk only as an accompaniment to food, the Israelis often begin and end with coffee or tea.

Get used to: Purchasing alcohol before sales close for the day at 11 pm.
Italy
Drinking at hotel
Clink it Saying: Cin cin
Etiquette to be followed: Drink small portions rather than gulping it all down.
The Italians like to have their wine while they dine. While in Italy, you are expected to sip on your drink while you eat. Binge drinking or hard drinking is rare, and is not well appreciated. Women for that matter, are expected to refrain from heavy drinking, and pouring wine.

Get used to: Sipping on wine rather than hard liquor.
Japan
Family toasting at dinner
Clink it Saying: Kanpai
Etiquette to be followed: No matter how fast you finish your drink, it is impolite to refill your own glass.
All you need to remember is to keep a track of the amount of drink in the neighboring glass. Ensure your neighbors' glass is never dry, and they will ensure yours is never dry too. Generally, the juniors take on the role of ordering and pouring the drinks, so as a guest you can sit back and relax.

Get used to: Enjoying your drink slowly unless you are a heavy drinker.
Korea
Clink it Saying: Gun Bae
Etiquette to be followed: Hold your glass with both your hands when you are being served.
Though Koreans love their booze, they will ensure they do not disrespect their seniors. While downing your drink, it is essential that you remember not to face your seniors, this would offend the Korean host. As is common practice, you do not pour yourself a drink but do remember to pour one for your neighbor. Ensure you hold the bottle with both your hands though.

Get used to: Facing away from seniors every time you take a sip.
Portugal
Drinking college friends
Clink it Saying: Saúde
Etiquette to be followed: You always toast to health.
Wine is the choice of the Portuguese, red wine being the favored one. You drink wine accompanied with your meals and port wine as dessert. Even after a meal you can expect to sip on your drink and talk, allowing your food to digest. Drinking here, is considered socially intimate.

Get used to: Drinking in moderation.
Russia
Drinking and eating people
Clink it Saying: Za vashe zdorovie
Etiquette to be followed: Down your vodka bottoms-up.
Drinking in Russia is synonymous with downing large amounts of pure vodka. Mixing vodka with any other drink is a strict no-no and once you open a bottle, you ought to have it to the dregs. Do not sip on your drink till the toast is raised following which, the shot has to downed in one gulp. Do remember to keep the empty bottles on the floor after you are done.

Get used to: Drinking pure vodka.
Spain
Drinking at restaurant
Clink it Saying: Salud
Etiquette to be followed: Drinking on the streets is a big no-no.
The bars of Spain are always bursting with life and is one the best place to meet people. Whether or not ordering an accompanying tapas, expect to be served a minor tapas as a courtesy. In Spain, you are sure to have your pocket empty when you leave the bar especially, if you offer to pay for the rounds of drinks. In simple words, the concept of buying rounds has not really sunk in for the Spaniards.

Get used to: Sponsoring the drinks on your birthday/treat.
Sweden
Enjoying christmas party
Clink it Saying: Skål
Etiquette to be followed: Do not clink your glasses unless you are maintaining eye contact.
While you wait for the host to make a toast, ensure that you do not sip on the wine. After the toast is made, men have to wait for the women to put down their glasses. Add to it, you have to respect your seniors and allow them to toast first.

Get used to: Bow your head with a twinkle in your eye and gulp down the aquavit.
Thailand
Friends together drinking
Clink it Saying: Chok dee
Etiquette to be followed: Before you fill up your own glass fill up the glasses of everyone on the table.
As much as the Thais love their drinks, it is always best to wait for the host to toast, before sipping on your drink. The norm is to wait for all glasses to be filled. Don't be surprised if a woman refills your glass. Thais do not like to see an empty glass and will surely keep refilling till you learn to keep some in your glass.

Get used to: Carrying your own bottle of drink to Thai venues.
Turkey
Business people making toast
Clink it Saying: Şerefe
Etiquette to be followed: Never refill your own glass, fill your neighboring glass instead.
Generally, you will find the Turks enjoying their glass of either tea or coffee. You are expected to sip on the drink slowly. Be sure to have your cup refilled as soon as it below the half mark. Ensure if your Turkish friend consumes alcohol or not, before you order alcoholic beverages.

Get used to: Ordering a bottle of Raki for the entire table rather than just a glass.
United States of America
Friends toasting at party
Clink it Saying: Cheers
Etiquette to be followed: Leaving a tip for each drink offered at the bar.
Drinking is an integral part of American culture and drinking in public, although seen as a social offense, is acceptable on certain occasions. It is courteous to pay for a drink, especially if someone has previously offered you a drink.

Get used to: Downing a glass of beer after you have played beer pong.
United Kingdom
Drinking at office
Clink it Saying: Cheers
Etiquette to be followed: Buying drinks in turns for the group.
Planning to go out with your group of friends to the pub? You better remember to buy your round of drinks for the entire group, or opt out of it in the very beginning. You wouldn't want to upset your pals by not repaying their turn of buying drinks for you. It's the rule of 'one for all, all for one' that they seem to take very seriously. Besides, you better get used to placing the order and paying at the bar itself.

Get used to: Drinking warm beer, unless you want to be a part of a bar brawl.
While traveling to these places do remember to ensure you have reached the minimum age required to obtain or drink alcoholic beverages. One thing is common though, you will find just about any reason to celebrate and fill those glasses. Remember to toast to the good health of the host and to all those around you. Here's to your good health and mine. Cheers!