For many people, vacation begins with a fruity cocktail on the beach, a nerve-easing glass of wine on the plane or a round of beers at the local pub. Drinks are a social icebreaker, uniting people from different places and cultures into a shared activity. They facilitate conversations, open up visitors to local traditions and can even shape the scenery and character of a country.
This week we're toasting the role booze plays in travel. We'll have stories of personal drinking quests, like one writer's journey to find the best beer in the world in Belgium, or another writer's tour of New Orleans' classic cocktail bars to try as many Crescent City-made drinks as possible. Other stories offer an inside peek at surprising new trends and places -- a burgeoning wine region in Moldova, a country largely unknown to travelers; or the rise of whiskey in China. To round out the week we'll take a look at some celebrities and the boozy empires they've created, from a deep dive into Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville in Atlantic City to the wild tastes concocted by "Flavorman" Dave Dafoe at his Louisville Distilled Spirits Epicenter.
Each day we'll be serving up new drinks stories. We encourage you to join the party, and share your own experiences. Cheers to travel.
Booze Week Stories
Exploring New Orleans' French Quarter, One Classic Cocktail at a Time
By Joanne Sasvari
Go beyond the Hurricane to explore classic made-in-NOLA cocktails at the French Quarter's most famous (and infamous) bars. Read more>>
Meet the Flavorman
By Elaine Glusac
Get an inside look at Louisville's new Distilled Spirits Epicenter and its founder Dave Dafoe, the talented taste-maker behind many of the industry's top flavors. Read more>>
Europe's Next Hot Wine Destination? Moldova.
By Leif Pettersen
Europe's least visited country is making some shockingly good wines, and now might be the best time to taste them for yourself. Read more>>
Whiskey Makes its Mark in China
By Zach Everson
Newly affluent Chinese are developing a taste for whiskey -- and distillers are striving to ensure it's for their brand. Read more>>
The Margaritaville Diaries
By Michael Yessis
Experience the boozy, real-world universe being spun out of what may be the world's most lucrative song on a 24-hour stint in Atlantic City's Margaritaville. Read more>>
A Quest For Beer's Holy Grail
By David Moss
Some people travel to learn a new language, to experience a new culture, to be with someone they love. I did it to try a beer. Read more>>
What's Your Go-To Drink When Traveling?
By Jake Thiewes
We polled 22 of our writers, editors and other AOL staff about their go-to travel drinks. Here's what they had to say. Read more>>
More Booze Stories From Around AOL
Eating And Drinking In Valencia: Fartons, Paella And Orange-Flavored Cava (Gadling)
Aspen's Rio Grande Bike Trail: Burgers, Bourbon And Basalt (Gadling)
This Week At The Airport Bar In 41 Tweets (Gadling)
The Seven Best Summer Beers (Kitchen Daily)
Why Beer Can Taste Just as Good in Your Food (Kitchen Daily)
International Beer Day Cocktails (Mandatory)
When Beer Labels Come to Life (Mandatory)