The first time an Israeli bartender asked me whether or not I wanted a shot I hadn’t ordered, I figured he become taking me for a without problems duped tourist. He wouldn’t be incorrect; I’m now not proof against scams, and it was my first night out in Tel Aviv. But, to my pride, he wasn’t trying to rack up my invoice — he became simply giving me a chaser (no longer the sort you throwback after taking a shot of strong alcohol).

Chasers are mini pictures [of alcohol] that humans drink all through the night to accompany their, nicely — ingesting,” says Yuval Soffer, brand ambassador of Milk & Honey, Israel’s first whiskey distillery. “Don’t be amazed while bartenders buy you a round of chasers on the residence. It’s a part of the Tel Aviv hospitality tradition.

If you drink, you’d be hard-pressed to get through a meal in Tel Aviv without taking a chaser or 5 of something strong like arak, a Levantine spirit made from grapes and aniseed. It doesn’t matter whether or not you’re sitting alone on the bar or inside the thick of a 10-character enterprise assembly at a restaurant — you’ll probably have a bartender seem with microdoses of local booze.

While visiting, sampling the local moonshine can be a door to gaining deeper information about the local way of life. It can cause priceless experiences, just like the time I allow a collection of women to pour alcohol from an unmarked jug straight into my mouth at 2 a.M. In the thick of a parade in the streets of Oaxaca, Mexico. But how does a traveler cautiously gauge when to dive in and while to stay away?

Every 12 months, headlines remind us that there are risky alcohols obtainable. As The Washington Post has pronounced: “Deaths from illicit liquor are commonplace in India, in which illegally manufactured alcohol is frequently consumed for reasons inclusive of poverty and geographic isolation. Bootleggers have been acknowledged to add methanol, a toxic substance utilized in antifreeze, to such brews; it could additionally be a gift because of a mistake in the distilling system. If you’re now not encountering off-logo booze, you they’re now not virtually visiting, are you?

Says Shanghai-primarily based Chris Lowder, preferred supervisor of the bar consultancy and craft spirits importer Proof & Company in China. “Travel is all approximately leaving comfort zones at the back of and know-how how people stay in unique components of the sector. As a long way as we realize, people have been ingesting alcohol for approximately five 000 years, and we’re doing simply first-class. Lowder has logged extreme miles roaming the world for his paintings in the beverage industry.

The result has been a whole lot of exciting drinking. In Shanghai, he’s a fan of Huangjiu, a local spirit that tastes like a cross among oloroso sherry, Amaro, and baijiu. In Seoul, there has been the distinctiveness of makgeolli bar, wherein he learned that the unfiltered wine (generally brewed using rice and nuruk, a fermentation starter) might be made with a selection of starch and nut milk with any yeast.