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19 Signs You Learned to Drink in Germany

Germany Student Work
by Barbara Litzlfellner Feb 20, 2015

1. You once had an awful Jägermeister phase.

For a period, Jägermeister was your one true love and you wouldn’t settle for anything else at a party. Then one day, your true love turned on you. Since then, the mere thought of it evokes nothing but nausea.

Before the Jägermeister phase, you had an equally awful Vodka-Bull phase (sleeping is overrated anyway) and before that a horrible Bacardi Breezer phase. You quit all of them and settled down for wine and beer. They’re more reliable and don’t make you puke so easily.

2. You panic when your friend doesn’t look into your eyes while clinking glasses.

If you don’t look each other straight in the eyes, it’s a fact that both of you will be punished with bad sex for 7 years. Though nobody knows if that means bad sex with each other or bad sex with your actual partner…

This tradition can become quite stressful if you’re drinking with a big group. You’ll probably miss looking in the eyes of at least one person, and it always takes ages till you finally get to take a swig of your beer.

3. You equally panic if someone wants to clink glasses and cross their arms with the people on either side of them.

Not doing this won’t result in bad sex for seven years, but in bad luck. Probably forever. These superstitions might be the reason why we Germans always come to parties so early. Otherwise we’d never be done with clinking before the end of the party.

4. You can open a beer bottle with anything.

Spoon, knife, park bench, teeth, buttocks…Once you’ve mastered the technique with one tool, the whole world is your playground! There’s just this one strangely-shaped, kind of triangular thing that gives you kind of a hard time…What was the name of it again? Oh yes, bottle opener!

5. Beer choices are a kind of religion.

Thank God most of your friends drink the same sort beer. It’s probably a kind of evolutionary prevention mechanism so that you don’t lose too many males in useless fights about whether pale beer, wheat beer, or dark beer is better.

In an emergency however, you’ll drink whatever is offered to you…as long as it contains hops and malt.

6. Only German beer is true beer.

That’s the one thing you typically all agree on. From a young age you’ve learned this from your father, who learned it from his grandfather, who didn’t even know that there was something called “beer” outside of Germany. You might not have much national pride, but you are proud of your beer and you’re proud of being part of the nation that created beer in its present form. And you’ll fight anybody who disagrees.

7. On the other hand, you are not exactly a wine connoisseur.

The cheapest one on the lowest shelf in Aldi will suffice.

8. You were allowed to drink before you were allowed to drive a car.

The legal drinking age for beer and wine in Germany is 16, but you can’t get your car driving licence until you’re 18, which is also the legal drinking age for spirits. Actually that’s pretty great, because it means nothing stands in the way of a real party to celebrate your successfully-passed driving test.

9. You’re overwhelmed with joy when you’re asked for ID while buying wine in the supermarket around the corner (if you’re a woman).

You forgot to put your makeup on and that’s the result. But to be honest, they’ve known you for years and probably just want to make you feel good about yourself by asking for ID. But still, it feels damn good to be considered for so much younger than you really are.

10. A Radler (basically) doesn’t contain alcohol and can be drunk at any time of day.

A Radler (half beer / half lemonade) is said to be one of the most refreshing drinks there is. Also, you can easily get back on your bike after one liter (cyclist is Radler in German) without being too drunk to pedal in a straight line. Beer is food anyway, right? And beer with lemonade is just lunch with an alcohol-free drink.

11. You can’t trust your taste in music when you’re drinking.

While you’re usually known for your sophisticated music tastes, as soon as you’re slightly drunk, good old German Schlager music seem to be the best party music ever. That’s right, Schlager music — the cheesy, old-fashioned stuff that usually only your grandparents listen to.

If things get really bad, you even start dancing to Mallorca Schlager, where D–list celebrities try to extend their 15 minutes of fame to 20 minutes with the help of computer technology and high quality lyrics like, “And the red horse just turned around and fended the fly off with his ponytail. But the fly was not stupid and made summ, summ, summ and flew around the horse with a lot of buzzing. Schalala.”

Oh Germany, you country of poets and thinkers!

12. Flaming fire tongs punch is your favorite Christmas ritual.

But not just the drinking part! There’s an old German movie from the early 1940s with the same name, Die Feuerzangenbowle. It starts with a couple of older gentleman drinking the punch and reminiscing about the good old days at school and all the pranks they played on their teachers. One of the men never had this privilege, as he was homeschooled. So in their intoxication, they decide to send him back to school. Shortly after he arrives, he becomes the nightmare of his teachers…

Especially at German universities, it’s customary to watch the movie at Christmas time, while — of course — drinking some Feuerzangenbowle.

13. No going out without staying in first.

Drinking in bars and clubs in Germany is generally pretty expensive, so meeting at a friend’s place and pre-partying is common. Often you also just get stuck there and have a better time than you could ever have in an overcrowded, sticky-floored club.

14. You are a master at pretending to be sober.

In case you made it out of your friend’s house, you face the next challenge: most clubs don’t exactly appreciate it when their guests arrive drunk. Luckily, you’re amazing at pretending to be sober for the one minute you have to look in the doorman’s eyes. This is also a very useful skill to have when sneaking back into your room at home. You parents still think you are young and innocent and don’t drink.

15. Being drunk makes you an international culinary expert.

American fast food, Turkish döner, Arabic falafel, Italian pizza, German currywurst. God bless German culinary multiculturalism — it’s cured SO many hangovers. You also know exactly where you can get each food at which times. You might forget the way home, but you’ll never forget where to get food!

16. Oh those summer-barbecue-beer nights.

Though, thanks to the unpredictable weather, they more often turn into game nights in someone’s living room. Luckily, many German flats have a roofed terrace or balcony. As soon as you move out of your parent’s house, you know you’ll want the same for your own apartment.

17. Drinking is not always just about getting wasted.

More often it’s only a side effect of social gatherings. You just want to enjoy a bottle of beer or a glass of wine with your friends, often together with a good meal. If it turns out to be one of those epic party nights, so be it. If not, you’ll be just as happy.

18. You know only a certain amount of alcohol can make a German man dance.

If, sometimes, it would be better for their dignity to just to stay in the corner and keep watching the party crowd from afar, is a point worthy of discussion some other time.

19. Every December, you gain 5 kilos due to your daily mulled wine consumption at various Christmas markets.

There are just too darn many of them in Germany. And at least one of them lies on the way between your office / university and home.

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