An interview about drinking & traveling

by Caren on December 3, 2012

caipirinhaWhen I’m not writing about drinking, I’m often writing about traveling. The daughter of two Europeans, I was taken along with my brother wherever our parents went–from France and Jamaica to Israel and Venezuela. I didn’t realize how lucky I was at the time, and as a result of all those journeys, I was bit by the travel bug at an early age. Experiencing different and foreign places, seeking adventures and exploring cultures are what I like to write about most.

At a recent adventure travel conference, I had the pleausre of spending time with a talented travel journalist and blogger, Ellen Barone, who invited me to do a Q+A for her blog about two of my favorite pastimes: drinking and traveling.

Of all the countries you’ve traveled to, who  are the heaviest drinkers and who are the lightest? 

The Brazilians love to party. I’m not sure if it has to do with the consumption of those potent, simultaneously sweet and tart Caipirinhas—touted everywhere as the Brazilian national cocktail—but after a couple, I had no trouble dancing the samba late into the night. The lightest would probably be in Israel. Israelis are not exactly known for their drinking prowess.

What’s your favorite country to drink in? 

While France first comes to mind, I’d have to say that Italy offers me a more diverse selection of drinks I like. An evening that begins with a glass of Prosecco, a Campari and soda, or a Negroni is bound to be a good one. I enjoy Italian wine, and then of course, what is better than a true Italian-made cappuccino?

If you’re a non-drinker, where’s the worst place to visit?

That’s a tough one. I can’t think of a place that I’ve been to where alcohol is not rooted in the culture—from Ouzo in Greece to Arak in Jordan. By the same token, many countries serve delicious, alcohol-free drinks with locally grown fruits. It’s easy to get hooked on passion-fruit smoothies in chicha moradaThailand and on Chicha Morada (made with purple corn, fruit, cinnamon and cloves) in Peru.

Is there a travel story in your book, Drinking Diaries?

There is a wonderful essay in our book, “Veni, Vidi, Bibi (I Came, I Saw, I Drank”), which is essentially the writer’s quest to find information about an Italian peasant woman whose image adorns the bottle of a liquor called Amaro Lucano and who may be the author’s ancestor. The writer, Helene Stapinski, travels back to her family’s southern Italian town of Pisticci, to get answers. The way she describes her encounters with the locals—all of whom attempt to serve her Amaro Lucano—is very colorful.

To read the complete interview on Travel Updates by Ellen Barone, please click here.

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