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16 Signs You Grew Up Drinking in Bulgaria

Bulgaria Student Work
by Dayana Aleksandrova Nov 25, 2015

1. You can always sense menteta and have the willpower to refuse them.

Don’t try to sell me Popov for Grey Goose. We’ve been trained to tell good liquor from the fake stuff and would not take our chances on a nasty hangover.

2. You’ve excitedly stomped in buchvi in September with your bare feet.

If you’re one of the lucky kids whose baba and dyado make their own wine, you’ve most likely stomped in barrels full of plump Stara Zagora grapes, with the promise of 10% of the sweet produce.

3. You get political after a few drinks.

By the first Shumensko you thought our corrupt political system was pretty bad. By the third, you had picked on some particular folks to criticize (Borisov, Ataka, СДС). By the sixth drink, you’re going all out on why our country will be forever screwed because of capitalism, communism, socialism and all the -ism’s out there.

4. You tried alcohol for the first time before age 5.

Perhaps you picked up a clear glass of rakiya thinking it was water, or maybe your parents thought it was hilarious to give you a few sips of beer and watch you stumble under the dinner table. Either way, you began early.

5. You’re an alchemist who always brings your own personal produce to a dinner party.

It’s a great self esteem booster to have your rakiya be stronger than your neighbor’s. You made it from slivi this year, while he stuck with good old grapes. You’re not afraid to test the recipe out with different fruits (like cherries, figs, apples), as long as you can bring it up to at least 40-something degrees Celsius. Better luck next year, Pesho!

6. And by age 7, your parents were liberally filling your glass with vino.

It’s our magical elixir of youth and vigor. Sip on it freely, old or young.

7. You pound shots of rakiya like a boss.

And you take great pride in it. After all, you’re not a Bulgarian yunak unless you can handle your fiery brandy.

8. In the winter, vodka is your vaccine.

“It burns the microbes,” as we say. You’d always choose a vodka shot over a flu shot.

9. You can’t have dinner without a Zagorka…

…or Pirinsko, Shumensko and Kamenitsa. There’s always a local brew to compliment your meal nicely.

10. Piyani vishni is your dessert of choice.

You loved those days in high school when a friend would bring a bonboniera of “drunk cherries.” It gave you a nice midday buzz with a side of decadent, dark chocolate. Yum!

11. You can heal burns with rakiya and yogurt.

We Bulgarians are big on home remedies. Here’s how you do this one: massage the burn with a generous amount of rakiya to expedite the healing of the skin and slather cold yogurt on the wound to soothe the pain.

12. You don’t enter the club without a nip of vodka in your sock.

With each separe (bottle service) at Sin City starting at around 100 leva, you’ve got to bring your own ammunition. A nip of Svedka fits perfectly in your sock and no one’s going to search you that extensively at the door.

13. Having a low tolerance for alcohol has never been an option for you.

Remember how I said you had to be a yunak and handle your rakiya? Well, I meant it. You know that if you get drunk off of one beer, you’ll be the laughing stock of your friend group for weeks.

14. You have a very international liquor cabinet.

Imported Greek mastika, Turkish raki, Romanian Țuică, German Heineken — we Bulgarians see the world through liquor goggles.

15. When it comes to drinking, the more the merrier.

When you were little, you always sat at the big dinner table at your family’s country house in Pirin, eating and drinking with the grandparents, cousins, your mom and dad, and even the neighbors. Naturally, this tradition stuck with you, so whenever your raise a glass, it’s with at least a few friends.

16. You always eat meze with your drinks.

We don’t chug alcohol just for the sake of getting drunk (not often, that is). Our gatherings are very social and include a table covered in meze ranging from cured meats like lukanka, shunka and salam, cheese like kashkaval and krave sirene, and the famous Shopska salata. Drinking on an empty stomach is not very appreciated in Bulgaria.

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