25 October 2008

Prost!

As a 'serial expat' I think it is important to try to understand and appreciate other cultures and societies. Some people learn the language, others study the history and traditions of a place, still others - usually best avoided - take up folk dancing.

My preferred approach is to drink their booze. Cynics may think that this is an easy option. It is anything but. Not long after moving to Tirana I had my first encounter with the local moonshine, known, as it is in much of the region, as raki.

Measures are generous, and after a first tentative sip, I was desperately trying to think up ways of dispensing with the liquid without my hosts noticing or being offended. This proved beyond my ingenuity. Conveniently we were eating pizza at the time and I discovered that if I shoved most of a pizza slice into my mouth first, then poured the raki in, the former soaked up the latter and I could swallow the whole lot safely.

With time - and, of course, practice - I was able to tolerate raki and then began to enjoy it. By the end of my first year in the coutry we were bringing the grapes from our house to a friend to be distilled into our very own raki - twelve litres of it. (You can read all about my various encounters with raki including the making of our own on my old blog at ourmanintirana.)

Now that I am in Germany raki is no longer an option since home distillation of spirits is generally illegal. Instead, the German drink of choice is beer. If raki was a giant leap, beer is more of a small step. However, there are distinctively German - and distinctively Bavarian - approaches to the making, marketing and consumption of beer.

So, for a little while, in the interests of cultural understanding, I will been writing a series of beer related posts. But first, I have to go and have a drink.

Prost!

3 comments:

Jul said...

Excellent approach. Prost!

Trixi und Julian said...

Is there a better way to mingle with the locals? I don't think so.

Trixi und Julian said...

Is there a better way to mingle with the locals? I don't think so.