Photo: Merla/Shutterstock

11 Signs You Learned to Drink in Cape Town

Cape Town Student Work
by Du Gird Feb 24, 2015

1. You use the term “sundowner” for after-work drinks and know that having one is more about the view than the beverage.

2. You can name five sundowner spots in Cape Town in under 30 seconds. And you always select the best fit for the day based on the chance of rain, tide, and wind direction.

3. You know how to inflate an empty “papsak” and use it as a satisfactory substitute for a pillow. (That’s the foiled bag container from a box wine, by the way.)

4. You know all the ways to conceal a drink on a Blue Flag beach or smuggle some into the Table Mountain National Park. And you would absolutely never leave any trace that you were doing so.

5. You don’t drink and drive. In the CBD, you either walk or Uber. And for wine tours, it’s obviously a rented, off-duty, minibus taxi with a group of friends.

6. Before drinking any wine, you swirl-sniff-sip — whether it’s a bottle of Tassenberg (famous local ‘plonk’) or a Cederberg Shiraz (famous local not-‘plonk’).

7. You know the difference between a Pinot Noir, Hermitage, and Pinotage and you take pride in informing others — whether they are interested to know or not.

8. On Saturday afternoons, an internal wine / beer / whiskey o’clock reminds you to buy liquor before the stores close.

9. In the unfortunate event that you can’t meet the store-closing deadline, you know that:

A. Harvey’s Liquor on Wales Street will be open after hours.

B. You may have to round the block five times before finding parking.

C. Their prices are highly inflated and some customers will be wasted, which begs the question: Will this single malt be worth the price tag and risk of someone being sick on and/or grinding up against me in the queue?

And D. The only alternative is trying to exit the local corner shop inconspicuously following a slightly illegal, but comparatively painless exchange for a brown-paper-bagged bottle of wine.

10. At least one of your local friends is a professional beer brewer or winemaker.

11. But you also know people who have made their own wine, beer, or cider in their bathroom, garage, or tool shed. And you’re planning to do the same.

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