Spirits | Alcohol

Drinking in Ethiopia

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St-GeorgeIf you hadn’t noticed, things have been a bit slow around here in February, and a lot of that had to do with a brief hiatus I took from the real world to visit my Fathers home country, Ethiopia. If you’ve ever traveled over seas, you already know how tiring the long flights and layovers, and jet lag can be, so in returning to the U.S. 1 week ago, I finally have the energy to get back to what I love, drinking and blogging.

So what did I do in Ethiopia? Well besides meet an entire side of my family I never knew, I really just sat back and observed. It was a lot to take in. Imagine growing up knowing your father is from another country but never meeting his side of the family or never going there. So being almost 30, it was an awesome experience. I ate and drank, and ate some more, and drank some more… it was like a sport. If you’ve never had Ethiopian food, get your life together. It’s meaty, its spicy, its filling, its delicious. As much as we ate, and as often as we did, you would think I’d have gained weight, but it was easily countered by the miles of walking we did daily to and from places, and up and down hills.

Beer00352 weeks seems like a nice vacation, but in reality its not enough time to get a lot accomplished when you’re traveling so far away, but even on a limited time schedule you know there was no way I was flying to another continent and not drinking with the locals. If you’re a beer fan, this is your place. I didn’t see one bottle of Miller, Bud, Corona, or other commercial brands. Instead bars and fridges were packed with anywhere from 2-7 local beers depending on what part of the country you were in. They take pride in their breweries, and remind you constantly that although they are the birthplace of coffee, they make great beers. Harar, Bedele, and St George seamed to be the most popular to name a few. I’m not a huge beer guy, but if I had to pick one as the best Ethiopian beer I tried, it would go to St. George Amber, which also is the oldest of the Ethiopian brands, having been founded in 1922.

While there isn’t any liquor made in Ethiopia, they do make a popular drink that we would consider “moonshine” called Tej [Pronounced like Tedge]. Sweetened usually with honey, its very deceiving and will knock you on your butt without your realizing it.

So while this was slightly off topic, I wanted to clue in our readers to where i’ve been and what I’ve been doing. If you’re ever looking for an exotic country to visit where you can enjoy some amazing food, grab a beer, and learn a LOT about culture and the history of our world, put Ethiopia on your bucket list. As for 101, we’ve got a lot planned in the next few months. We’ve got several brands back logged for review including a nice Rhum Agricole coming up, and we’re in the process of updating our website as well. Have any questions comments or concerns, please feel free to shoot us an email to Info@intoxicology.net


Alex is a full time consultant with 10+ years experience in the wine & spirits + consumer packaged goods industries. He is not a professional bartender, but is BarSmarts certified and makes a mean caipirinha. When not writing, Alex can be found traveling, spending time with his family, or bar hopping.

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