Australia lockdowns: Things to drink at home to take you around the world

"Dan Murphy opening hours."

If you've spent any time on social media during the pandemic, you know about this meme. Back in April 2020 – which was approximately 15 years ago – Australian immunologist Professor Peter Doherty accidently plugged into Twitter what he had meant for Google, and a legend was born.

Ever since then, any particularly bad news has been met with identical tweets, and no doubt Google searches: "Dan Murphy opening hours".

Lockdowns provide the chance, shall we say, to enjoy a little tipple. And if you, as a passionate traveller, are going to do that, then you should do it in a way that embraces the world and makes you feel like you're back on the road again.

If you're dealing with entrapment this weekend or many others to come, we can humbly suggest this little tour of the world of drinks.

JAPAN

THE DRINK

It has to be sake, the Japanese rice wine, though you could just as easily plump for something like yuzushu – citrus steeped in sake or shochu – or even beer, provided it's brewed in Japan and not under licence in another country (just doesn't taste the same). Sake is a whole world of flavours, textures and styles waiting to be discovered, and there are a least a few options available at most good bottle shops now.

THE SNACK

Chewy, salty dried squid goes perfectly with sake.

SCOTLAND

Tasting of flight of Scotch whisky from special tulip-shaped glasses on distillery in Scotland, UK close up iStock image for Traveller. Re-use permitted. Drinks around the world for Ben Groundwater story tra17-online-drinks

Photo: iStock

THE DRINK

You can't leave Scotland without having a wee dram; similarly, a few sips of whisky at home will instantly transport you to those bonny isles. Whisky, like sake, presents a whole world of options in terms of flavour, origin and price-point. Go for Lagavulin if you like your whisky peaty and smoky, or Balvenie for something smoother.

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THE SNACK

You're probably not going to whip up a wee haggis just to go with your drink; instead, try an aged British cheddar.

FRANCE

THE DRINK

So many amazing options from France, from cognac to Armagnac, calvados to brandy. Our pick to recreate those fun French times, however, is pastis, the herbaceous liquor often mixed with water and drunk in cosy bars and on sunny terraces in the country's south as the day draws to a close. The most popular Provencal brands, Pernod and Ricard, are widely available in Australia.

THE SNACK

Olives go really well with pastis – go for Provencal style.

PERU

Two rocks glasses filled with pisco sours and garnished with lime wedges on a bar top. This cocktail is made from Peruvian pisco liquor, lime juice, simple syrup, and egg white shaken together and topped with a couple dashes of bitters. The tools and ingredients used to make the drinks are in the background. iStock image for Traveller. Re-use permitted. Drinks around the world for Ben Groundwater story tra17-online-drinks

Photo: iStock

THE DRINK

This is going to be controversial, because both Peru and Chile claim pisco as their national drink, and both do an excellent – though different – pisco sour. Our pick is Peruvian style, which includes egg whites for a fluffy, aromatic top. Peruvian pisco isn't always easy to find in Australia – look for brands such as Cuatro Gallos and De Carral.

THE SNACK

Use egg whites and you have a meal in a glass; however, you could also pair this with ceviche.

SOUTH KOREA

THE DRINK

If you've been to South Korea then you've drunk soju – this stuff is ubiquitous, and passionately consumed. For the true Korean experience, make yourself a "somaek", a glass of local beer such as Hite with a shot of soju poured in. Not for the faint-hearted drinker, but hey, have you been to Korea?

THE SNACK

Perfect with something meaty and spicy; for example, Korean barbecued meat with gojuchang chilli paste.

EAST AFRICA

On game drive in South Africa, guests enjoy snacks and drinks at sunset. iStock image for Traveller. Re-use permitted. Drinks around the world for Ben Groundwater story tra17-online-drinks

Drinks at sunset after a game drive is tradition in Africa. Photo: iStock

THE DRINK

OK, so East Africa isn't a country, and gin and tonic is definitely not its national drink. However, we're talking about recreating travel experiences here, and if you've ever been on safari somewhere like Kenya or Tanzania, then you've toasted the setting sun with a gin and tonic. You could do far worse than try to relive the moment here with a Hendrick's and tonic.

THE SNACK

Though it's not really East African, a few sticks of biltong will work well here.

ITALY

THE DRINK

Like France, there are many classier drinks you could choose to relive your Italian memories: Amaro would be good, maybe some grappa or even Campari. But we're going with Aperol, the obvious and key ingredient in an Aperol spritz, the drink that will transport you immediately to that beach in Amalfi where you wiggled your toes in the sand and toasted the afternoon sun and lived your best life. Sigh.

THE SNACK

A little antipasti platter with prosciutto, olives and grissini should do the job.

SPAIN

THE DRINK

The Spanish are obsessed with vermouth, and they do it very, very well. In Catalonia you'll usually find it just poured over ice, maybe garnished with an olive, while in Basque Country this herbaceous fortified wine is mixed with dashes of gin and Campari to make a Marianito. Though most vermouths available in Australia are from Italy or France, keep an eye out for Catalan brand Casa Mariol, or Lacuesta from La Rioja.

THE SNACK

Ideally, you want a "Gilda" – a skewer with a salted anchovy, a green olive and a few spicy guindilla peppers. Failing that, a tin of Ortiz anchovies and some olives will do.

THAILAND

THE DRINK

Beer on ice sounds insane to anyone outside South-East Asia, and yet there, in situ, when it's stinking hot and you're sitting in some outdoor bar, dripping with sweat and talking to new friends and having the time of your life, it just works. To relive the Thai dream, head on down to Aldi and pick up a six-pack of Leo beer, don't bother refrigerating it, and pour it over big chunks of ice.

THE SNACK

Something smoky and salty – maybe Thai-style beef jerky, or "gai yang", barbecued chicken.

SOUTH AFRICA

THE DRINK

Here's another one for the safari fans. Just as you've probably drunk your share of G&Ts in East and Southern Africa, so you've probably had a few sips of Amarula, the cream liqueur made with the fruit of the marula tree. It's tasty, and it will take you straight back to long nights and tall tales around the campfire.

THE SNACK

This is an after dinner drink. Go for some bitter, dark chocolate.

OMAN

THE DRINK

Not all national drinks have to be boozy, and there's no doubt the first sip of sweet mint tea will transport you straight back to Oman, or indeed to any country in the Middle East or North Africa. This is a relatively easy one to make – you just need a heap of fresh mint, and a lot of sugar.

THE SNACK

It has to be dates, the fancier the better.

BRAZIL

THE DRINK

Speaking of sugar, have you seen how much goes into making a caipirinha? It's frightening. And yet, try to make this classic Brazilian cocktail with less and it just won't taste the same. To get your Carnival on, order some cachaça, the Brazilian spirit, from the bottle shop, and grab a whole lot of sugar and limes.

THE SNACK

Try some "empanaditas" – not classically Brazilian, but these savoury treats will go well with the drink.

GERMANY

Munich, Germany, September 17, 2016: Participants of the annual opening parade of the Oktoberfest in Munich. iStock image for Traveller. Re-use permitted. Drinks around the world for Ben Groundwater story tra17-online-drinks

Germans take beer seriously. Photo: iStock

THE DRINK

Beer. It has to be beer. If you're going to hark back to your German adventures in liquid form, then you need a very large glass of very delicious beer. Fortunately, most major bottle shops in Australia will have you covered. Avoid Beck's – blergh – and go for something like Paulaner, Franziskaner or Weihenstephaner.

THE SNACK

Go the whole hog, so to speak, with "bratwurst mit brot": a large sausage on bread with mustard.

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