Saturday, March 27, 2010

Israelis are not alcoholics (like Aussies)

Last night we were heading to a friend's birthday party at about 9pm. I thought it would be nice to take a bottle of Cava (Spanish sparkling wine that is popular here), a cold one of course so we could drink it. Then Amit tells me that bottle shops aren't open at this time of night. "What?" I say, "How ridiculous! It's Thursday, which is like an Australian Friday! Every bottle shop should be open!".

Then came more incredulity as we drove from supermarket to corner store to whatever other shop, only to find that no one sells cold sparkling wine, or even white wine. You might find a few bottles of beer in a fridge, and tonnes of milk and cheese, but no cold wine (I lie, there was a bottle of Lambrusco, but I really don't rate that as much of drink).

Now this is unheard of in Australia. We are always in bottle shops (Bottle O's as I usually refer to them) in the evenings, buying wine for a BYO restaurant or a party we're going to. And you will always find at least 10 white wines and 5 sparklings of some description, along with tonnes of beer in the fridges of Bottle O's and supermarkets (in those states that allow that).

This latest incident illustrates the completely different drinking cultures in Israel and Australia. Aussies must be considered alcoholics by international standards. Nice to realise these things I suppose. I was just very mad that I couldn't find a cold bottle of wine! (Maybe I'm in withdrawal from being a normal Aussie.)

We went to the party empty handed, and that appeared to be the norm. There were some beers in the fridge, red wine on the table, and people were having a few drinks. I mean like two drinks. Then they'd be sensible and stop. And then go home. Pretty much the most different to an Australian party as you can get.

I'm drunk on the goodness of Israeli food, no need for Cava.


  1. Hey Jo, just because you guzzle down whatever is available, doesn't make us all alcoholics ;-) ... having said that, the days of getting a carton of tinnies were amusing...

  2. Of course not all Aussies are alcoholics, but you can't deny that we are from a country that see alcohol as an essential part of almost every social situation. People will think there is something wrong with you if you are at a pub or a party and don't drink, with the only good reasons for not drinking being you are sick or pregnant. In Israel it is quite normal not to drink in these situations, and people will not question you.