Round The World PMM Happy Hour – Trip Of A Million Lifetimes Guest Post

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A friend is about to embark on a trip of a million lifetimes using points and miles to circumnavigate the globe. So I’ve asked him to share his plan to explore and drink his way around the world. Sit back, relax, and enjoy this plan for a round the world happy hour. It’s five o’clock somewhere.

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The Weekly Flyer has been kind enough to allow me a guest post to discuss drinks from around the world.  See, I am no expert in drinking, although I have had the pleasure to enjoy the local beverages from over 20 countries and 4 continents over the last 10 or so years.  However, I will be a leading practitioner in the art of local beverage consumption soon.  I will be embarking in August 2013 on a 10 week trip.  This “Trip of a Million Lifetimes”, booked nearly entirely on frequent flier points, (background here) (booking strategy here) circumnavigation of the world across 23 destinations will offer my wife and I to sample libations from around the world.

Personal consumption of food and drink is one of life’s greatest gifts.  Some of our finest moments are shared breaking bread with family, having “one too many” with lifelong friends, or even sharing memories and processed cheese with co-workers at the Delta Skyclub.  Enjoying food and drink is one of the natural rights, inherit in our humanity.  The natural rights, like the freedom of travel, association, speech, and property ownership, were recognized across the centuries by many great philosophers as the inalienable rights of our human existence (Jason Riddle, at Freedom Unfiltered, expounds on this beautifully).  From Aristotle to Thomas Aquinas, from Seneca the Younger to Thomas Jefferson, and from Sir Thomas More to Dr. Ron Paul, great men have advocated for personal liberty and the primacy of the individual to be paramount to our short and sweet human lives.

People have been enjoying the gifts of the earth as far as long as human beings have roamed the earth.  Humans were making, and trading beer, wine, and smoke long before any government ever existed to restrict people from having the freedom to choose which of these gifts of the earth they would like to consume.  Nowadays, governments have restricted our personal liberties in nearly every way, telling us what, when, and how much we can consume in our private lives of almost anything of their choosing.  In-spite of government restricting our personal liberties, and limiting our freedom of choice in food and drink, the natural right to enjoy justly acquired food and drink continues to flourish.  Around the world, people find a way to take their local natural resources, ferment them over time, and mix them with unique flavors and fragrances to produce intoxicating, exciting drinks.  This is a common thread across every nook and cranny of the earth.  It is part of our humanity.  Everywhere there is humanity, there is drink.  Some are better than others.  Most are unknown to me.  And for 10 weeks later this year, my wife and I are blessed with the privilege to explore these libations from the local scene around the world.  Here is what we are most excited about from each destination:

1) Cuzco, + 2) Lima, Peru

Pisco Sour (Peru Edition) – I have never had a Pisco Sour.  But everyone who I ask about our trip to Peru says that is what we have to try.  And from what I hear there is a Peruvian and Chilean version.  Peru mixes Pisco Sour from Pisco liquor (made from fermented grapes), syrup, and some lime, egg white, and bitters.  I am not a big fan of eggs to begin with, so I need to find out how materially the taste will change if I skip the egg whites.  We’ll find out. Our full service hotel should be able to whip one of these up, but I am really looking forward to checking it out in an outdoor café in Miraflores or Cuzco.  We land in Cuzco form the USA at 8:00AM, so we might have to wait until later in the afternoon, and once we have acclimated to the altitude, before we get after these unique drinks.

(Image Source: Wikicommons)

3) Easter Island, Chile

Pisco and Coke – Easter Island is one remote place.  It is technically part of Chile.  And there is a Chilean version of the Pisco Sour.  We’ll get to that when we hit Santiago after 3 days on this incredible island.  Until then, we will give Pisco and Coke a shot, err should I say a sip.  I have had rum and cokes in my day.  In fact, I have had ouzo, vodka, bourbon, and even Johnny Walker and coke in my day.  But not Pisco and coke.  That will be a new one for me.  Easter Island is so remote, that Coke is probably a sweetener that is in best supply.  And after a 6 hour flight from Santiago, after a 4 hour red-eye from Lima, I could use the caffeine hit.

(Image Source:

4) Santiago, Chile

Pisco Sour (Chile Edition) – Chile is also noteworth for the Pisco Sour. In fact, famed restaurateur and travel critic Anthony Bourdain has been known to sample this libation during his trip to Chile. In Chile they use mainly the same ingredients, but instead of syrup for a sweetener they use sugar.  And hopefully real cane sugar kind.  I am excited about sitting on the balcony of our hotel overlooking the city, cheersing my wife as we sip back on one of these.

(Image Source: Wikicommons)

5) Mendoza, Argentina

Malbec – We’ll be in Mendoza for a full five days.  We’ll be staying on a wine farm, and will be enjoying outdoor barbeques, views of the Andes, and of course the famous Argentine wine.  Mendoza is ground zero for wine growers in Argentina.  And of all the Argentine wines, it is Malbec which my wife and I are most looking forward to.  Malbec’s are very dark red, and have a lot of tannins to streak through your glass.  They are exported from Mendoza all over the world, and compete with many old world wines.  This should pair nicely with some mint-roasted lamb, or a bone-in filet from an Argentine cattle farm.  I think my wife finds the Mendoza Malbecs one of the most anticipated local libations on our trip.

(Image Source: Wikicommons)

6) Buenos Ares, Argentina

Fernet and Coke – Fernet is a local Argentine herbal liquor that hits home with an 80 proof (40% alcohol) punch.  It brings some flavors from the earth, and once paired with the caffeine and sweetness of Coke, brings home a great drink to enjoy while hanging out at the hostel, in the club, or after a long-day of sightseeing the sites of Buenos Ares.  We are actually staying in a hostel here to get to know some other travelers and see some of the nightlife.  I have got to believe hostels specialize in this kind of drink.  Bonus: the Coke overseas is made with real cane sugar, and not corn syrup like we use in the USA.  We can think US Federal corn subsidies for that.

(Image Source:

7) Iguazu Falls (Argentina + Brazil Border)

Cauim – Local beer is always a good call.  Local beer made by native aboriginal people from a unique, starchy root and flavored with jungle fruits sounds like something new and unique.  Back in the day these Indians used the enzymes in their saliva to ferment the root into alcohol.  Yes, they would literally create the alcohol in their mouth through a rigorous chewing process.  While my wife and I are often intrepid travelers, this sounds like a bit on the wild side for us.  We will see if we can get our hands on some local Cauim that is made using the same great ingredients, but with the wonders of science and technology from local distillers.  We will be staying in a bed and breakfast here, so hopefully the proprietor can recommend or serve some great local stuff.

(Image Source: Wikicommons)

8. Sao Paulo, Brazil

Caipirinha – Caipirinha is hard to spell.  For a gringo like me, it is hard to say.  I think if I just roll-up to a bar on a street in Sao Paulo and babble out “Kahprinae” I’ll get a delicious sugary, limey drink that resembles this national drink of Brazil.  This stuff doesn’t just use sugar cane as its sweetener; it uses fermented sugar cane liquor.  The sweetness is baked right into the alcohol.  When I used to live in Switzerland, these things were usually at least $15 – $18 a pop.  I am ready to try one hand mixed in a local café in Sao Paulo.  Anyone have a friend in Sao Paulo that can show us their favorite haunt for a fresh Caipriniha and some good people watching?  We’ll be staying at a full service hotel near the center of the city.

(Image Source: Wikicommons)

9) Istanbul, Turkey

Raki – Raki and I have a short but happy history together.  The only time I have been in Istanbul was for the 2010 FIBA International Basketball championships to watch team USA beat team Turkey for the gold medal.  I was with my Swiss basketball team, and we got into all the nightclubs (like Reina) where the teams were partying and celebrating the glory of international basketball.  I got to meet a lot of international players, and put down a lot of Raki.  For some reason, booze is kind of expensive when out and about in Turkey.  Raki, is not.  And it is delicious.  Raki is anise flavored (sort of like the Anis and Pastisse popular in France) but made from local ingredients.  It is also considered the national drink of Turkey.  For this part of the trip we are staying in a private person’s home using  I am curious to see where our host, Ferdi, suggests we go to have a nice Raki.  And of course, I will bring the wife to Reina to enjoy views of the Bosphorous, people watching, and value-for-money Raki.

(Image Source: Wikicommons)

10) Santorini, + 11) Athens, Greece

Ouzo – We will be staying at the beautiful Starwood Vedema resort in Santorini.  I am hoping with a platinum upgrade, we get a room with a balcony and majestic views of the Aegean sea.  At a time like that, I could use a nice glass of wine with the wife.  But when we are out and about, and particularly after a big meal that will hopefully involved some degree of melted Greek cheeses and local meats, I want to get into the Ouzo.  Ouzo is a Greek Anise based drink that you can mix, shoot, or sip on it.  It is their version of Turkish Raki, I suppose.  I see this as being a tasty treat for us to enjoy on a sip by sip basis.  Or for getting a little greedy with and reenacting Socrates rambling and pontificating through the town at a late hour.  Either way, Ouzo will be a winner for us.

(Image Source: Wikicommons)

12) Vienna, Austria

Einspänner – Austria has a strong coffee culture, and Vienna is the center of it.  When it comes to coffee, I am kind of like the Most Interesting Man in the World from the Dos XX Commercials.  I don’t drink a lot of coffee, but when I do, it is espresso.  I am not a daily coffee drinker.  I picked up sipping on espressos once in a blue moon while living in Switzerland.  I found it a good way to tenir la distance after a big meal.  It keeps you awake to enjoy the nightlife, and helps grind up all the delicious food you ate in your belly.  Well Einspänner is a type of espresso, served in a glass and topped with whipped cream.  Austrians call this family of coffee drinks Mokka.  I have got to believe some of these Mokka drinks, like Einspänner would be great with some cognac or brandy mixed in for one of those cool early September Viennese nights as we noodle away the evening at an outdoor restaurant terrace.

(Image Source: Wikicommons)

13) St. Petersburg, Russia

Vodka  – боже мой (oh my God) Vodka.  Vodka is the drink of Russian.  Whether surviving a cold night in mother Russia, the pain brought on by the Soviet bureaucracy, or just enjoying views of the Hermitage from your hotel balcony, vodka is the cause of and solution to all of life’s problems.  Unlike us Americans, Russians don’t shoot vodka.  And they only sometimes use it to mix in their drinks (usually with fruit juice, like apple).  They sip it.  And sip it cold.  ‘Russian Standard’ is the call brand, which is passable.  I would like to try a super-premium like Putinka.  Regardless, it is certain we will partake in vodka during our 3 days in Russia.

(Image Source: Wikicommons)

14) Saigon, Vietnam

Hanoi Beer  – Hanoi beer is a nice safe choice.  Local beer.  Probably good with a delicious hot noodle bowl, or other stir-fry spicy dish typical of the region.  Outside of beer, Vietnam has few other alcoholic drinks that I am aware.  Regrettably, one I am aware of is Snake Wine.  Yes, it is local wine infused with a deceased snake or scorpion.  Maybe the venom gets in.  Maybe you just get a shed snake skin taste.  Either way I enjoy the impairment of alcohol without having to add in a neurotoxin.  So I’ll stick with the Hanoi beer.

(Snake Wine, in the photo, is not for us)

(Image Source: Wikicommons)

15) Tokyo, + 16) Kyoto, Japan

Sake  – Sake is wine fermented with rice.  There is plenty of rice in Japan.  And Japanese like to drink.  Thus there is plenty of good Sake to go around.  How about that for a logical analysis?  In Tokyo we will be staying at the Grand Hyatt Roppongi, a hop, skip, and a jump away from a variety of Tokyo nightlife.  I am sure we can find western drink favorites at some of the clubs.  As for me, I’ll be content enjoying some local Sake, hot or cold, over a nice bowl of ramen or a bento box.

(Image Source: Wikicommons)

17)  Hong Kong, China

San Miguel Beer  – San Miguel.  It sounds like it should be on the shelf next to Corona and Pacifico and the other Mexican beers.  It sounds right, but that would be very wrong.  San Miguel is actually the main beer brewed in Hong Kong.  They have been making it for the last 75 years and is the best selling beer in this city.  After World War II, some Spanish brewers started San Miguel production in Hong Kong to service Southeast Asia.  I don’t think I’ve ever had one before.  Hopefully the concierge lounge at the JW Marriott Hong Kong has a couple of these on the house for us while we munch on some dim sum.  Or, if they tolerate open container, maybe buy a couple of cold ones from a 7/11 while we sample on local street food.  Either way, go figure a cultural and trading crossroads like Hong Kong would have flavors from abroad loaded in their alcohol.

(Image Source: Wikicommons)

18) Auckland, New Zealand

New Zealand red blend wine – New Zealand’s wine scene is coming on strong.  We will only be in New Zealand, and Auckland for a day and a night (I spent 10 awesome days in the South Island in 2009 with my bffs).  We haven’t figured out where we’re staying yet.  But we know we want to try some local wine.  I don’t know much about their wine, but with a strengthening New Zealand dollar, hopefully it’ll be cheaper for us to consume it in person at a local wine bar paired with some local chevre than at a restaurant outside the borders of New Zealand.


(Image Source: Wikicommons)

19) Noumea,  + 20) Ile Des Pins, New Caledonia

Kava  – Kava is not alcohol.  Rather, it is the roots of an herb that give you a sort of buzz.  I guess that sounds like a narcotic to me.  And as a non-drug user, that sounds scary.  But in the remote French Territory of New Caledonia, they grind it up and put it into a bottle with some sugar or coconut milk and you have an oily intoxicating commercial drink.  Now we’re talking.  I know almost nothing about this libation except that it is unique and I want to try it for the first time in a controlled environment, like the comforts of a beachfront chair in the Coral Sea.  I wonder if the Le Meriden Ile Des Pins serves it.  Sounds scary, but less frightening than the snake wine in Vietnam.  I’m good for at least one.

(Image Source: Wikicommons)

21) Melbourne, + 22) Cairns, + 23) Sydney, Australia

Fosters Beer – Psych!  Just kidding.  Fosters is just cleverly marked piss-water sold for a premium in miniature oil-cans in America.  The real highlight for me in Australia will be the various local beers.  Australia has a strong pub culture, stemming from its British Commonwealth origins.  Consequently, they have their fair share of British nanny state influence, like mandatory pub early close times, standard drink labeling requirements, and even no-alcohol policy at some of their outdoor sporting events.  Could you imagine NASCAR without a cold beer?  I guess, regrettably, the USA has many of these nanny state inclinations these days too.  Nevertheless, there are countless local beers to check-out within the bounds of what the government trusts us with.  My goal is to find a local tap room in Melbourne to try some brews from the surrounding region.  Or to pick a cooler, or chilly bin as they say over there, for the boat ride back from the Great Barrier Reef near Cairns back to our resort in Port Douglas.  Australia will be our last stop on the Trip of a Million Lifetimes, so this will be our last big bang.  So you can bet we’ll have one last cold one during a twilight stroll of Sydney harbor.

(Image Source: Wikicommons)

As you can see, we have an incredible trip planned.  We are blessed to be able to have this opportunity.  And luckily, the human race all over the world has found the intoxicating effects of alcohol to be worthy of exploration and distribution.  We will do our best to report back with relative lucidity on what we learn from our fellow man across the globe.  We are excited to use frequent flier miles to get us to these 23 destinations for free.  And thanks to human freedom, we will observe, and participate in, and document how our fellow man enjoys the natural rights of consumption.  Wish us luck!

Happy Travelling,

Tocqueville Miles & Points

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The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

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  1. What a great read! I am so looking forward to trying the food and libations in HKG, BKK and other points in the Far East later this year. (Including Krug in F onboard a certain carrier) My fav though is sampling the Trappist Ales in Belgium a couple years ago.

  2. I think you’ll find that ‘chilly bin’ is the Kiwi term for a cooler. Aussies call it an ‘esky’. You’ll invite (good natured) ridicule getting them mixed up…

  3. Is it similar to wine sold on Buy-snake-wine shop ? I already bought this one on this store delivered to US) and would like different wine if your know where? Thanks.

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