Wednesday, 13 July 2011

How to Outdrink ...OTHER POPULATIONS

I close this series with a roll-call of populations who are too easy to beat for them to deserve an entry in a tactical manual, or whom I do not know enough to discuss. Mediterranean countries in general can be trusted to yield poor drinkers, even with their own beverages. Spaniards are easy to outdrink as long as you can tolerate their scandalous cocktails (google the Calimocho and see if you're not retching... frankly, their vulgarity is second only to that of the Americans. It's hard to believe they're Mediterranean at all). Greeks have some strength with liquors, being trained with Ouzo, but little else.

Italians, I hate to say, are pussies. I had two Italian drinking fellows in Paris whom you can see in the photo above, and despite their enormous good will, neither could take a solid night of drinking without vomiting like a hurricane. Today, one of them is married and has retired from the drinking arena, while the other is still practicing how to down one litre of beer. I've seen him do it only once, and he ended up leaping towards the balcony and vomiting on the freshly washed laundry of our (English) host. The funniest thing is that he didn't even succeed in his endeavour, as he left just a finger of beer at the bottom of the pub, meaning he failed by the thinnest margin possible. I wish I could say these two guys are the exceptions, but they're actually among the better men I've known. If you drink in Italy, you're outdrinking by default.

The most powerful force that I know by reputation alone are the Eastern Europeans. Poles, Romanians, Bulgarians, Ukrainians, Croatians and so forth are said to be phenomenal drinkers by everyone I've ever asked, but I've never had the chance to take them to task. I've tried Palinka, which is the typical Romanian drink, and frankly I thought it was disgusting beyond description. Apparently Romanians slaughter themselves with that by the hour. I suspect that the Eastern European style falls somewhere inbetween that of their two circumpolars, Germany and Russia, and no doubt that makes for an awe-inspiring combination in principle. But I've never seen it put in practice, and for all I know, they may have weaknesses no more difficult to exploit than their stylistic forebears.

I hear Scandinavians are very habitual drinkers, to the point that alcoholism is a real problem in their country. I can say no more of them, since I've only been to their countries by sea (and therefore by day), and there was no opportunity for duelling. Australians are supposed to be decent too. They were banned from the Oktoberfest a number of decades ago because a group of them got so drunk that they pimped a column of buses and drove them wildly around the city. Apparently they're allowed into the city again, these days, so either they've calmed down or they're better at subterfuge. It's a shame I won't be meeting them in Munich this year. Any major or minor drinking culture I have not mentioned goes beyond the stretches of my knowledge and their entry into this manual is left to volunteers.

With that said, I am done. Good luck to those willing to try the sport, and to anyone looking to engage me personally, come and get your ass grilled! As long as you're not Irish or Scottish, I have known and owned your type. Believe it.

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