Americans love to drink. That’s not exactly news. But what you might not realize is that when it comes to degenerate drunkenness, we are but mere amateurs when compared to the countries on this list. It makes sense when you consider that America is only a couple hundred years old – about the equivalent of a teenager in country years – while these other countries have had centuries to slowly obliterate their livers and learn how to talk to the cops without slurring their speech. Indeed, they are the nine drunkest countries in the world.
When it comes to getting soul-crushingly drunk, nobody has anything on the former Soviet republics, and Ukraine ranks as one of the drunkest of that family. While Russia might be the infamously drunk patriarch with an iron liver, Ukraine is like the drunk uncle who doesn’t really get along with Dad anymore, but tries to keep up with him drink for drink at Thanksgiving anyway. The Ukrainian people’s choice of drink is (surprise!) vodka, which they drink enough of to rank as the third biggest vodkaholics per capita of any country in the world according to the World Health Organization. You’ll drink dad under the table, one day, Ukraine, but for now, just be content with being an inspiration/cautionary tale for the younger family members.
Look, some stereotypes exist for a reason. I mean, after all, it’s no surprise that Boston – a city famous for its Irish immigrants – drinks more per capita than any other major city in the United States. That’s how pervasive Ireland’s drinking culture is – it transcends borders and generations. Year after year, Ireland finds itself comfortably in the top five whenever the World Health Organization – or anyone else, for that matter – tries to compile data on the top beer drinking countries in the world. To be fair, you’d be drinking that much too if Guinness was brewed in your backyard. I hear that instead of water, they just have it running from the taps there, and that a magical Leprechaun leaves you a six-pack at your door every morning in gratitude for not stealing his Lucky Charms, although I may have been lied to by TV.
7. The Vatican
This one is probably a huge shock, but it really shouldn’t be. After all, the Vatican is a country filled with priests, and what do priests like to do more than anything? No, not that. Get your minds out of the gutter. They like to drink wine. The blood of Christ and all that. And while that may make them the most cannibalistic of all countries, it also makes them the biggest wine drinkers on the planet per capita according to the aptly and classily named wineinstitute.org. So, if you’re ever on a religious vacation, don’t be too shocked if some old dude in a robe offers you a nice Vino Rosso d’Jesus aged around 2,000 years.
Hungary is a well-rounded drunkard of a country. They don’t rank particularly highly when it comes to any specific type of alcohol – beer, wine, liquor, it’s all good in Hungary – but they make up for their lack of specificity with general volume, ranking third on the WHO’s list of total alcohol consumed by volume per capita. They’re sort of the hidden drunks of that whole Eastern Bloc family of countries, the younger sister who just sits in the kitchen and drinks the cooking wine and maybe cracks open a few stray beers while everyone else is busy watching Father Russia and Uncle Ukraine arguing and trading shots in front of the TV. Hungary doesn’t care how it gets drunk, it just wants to hide from the rest of its degenerate family, and if that means sneaking into the bathroom to chug mouthwash then so be it.
5. South Korea
South Korea? Yes, South Korea. Aside from having a surprisingly robust beer culture centered in Seoul, South Korea ranks number one in the world according to the WHO in spirits consumed by volume per capita. Now, that’s kind of ambiguous phrasing – spirits can mean anything from vodka to rum to whatever the hell grandpa’s been making out of those old potatoes in the barn – but I like to think it means that South Korea is getting drunk on the ghosts of its ancestors, literal spirit consumption. I mean, let’s face it, that’s not that farfetched when you consider that eating spirits is probably poor North Korea’s leading source of nutrition. No, but really, if your nation was caught in a perpetual state of civil war, and your crazy ass neighbor to the North kept threatening you with ambiguous nukes he’s been making in his garage, you’d probably need to drink all the time too.
Ahhh, Germany. When they’re not plotting world domination, they’re delighting in their other major hobby – making and drinking copious amounts of beer. Germany always ranks highly on any list that tries to calculate per capita drunkenness – in fact, Bamberg, Germany claims to be the city with the highest beer consumption per capita in the world – but really, Germany’s place on this list is thanks mostly to the general culture of drunkenness that it fosters. It’s Oktoberfest in Munich, or the epic beer rivalry between neighboring Cologne and Dusseldorf. It’s beer steins and beer maids. It’s everything you close your eyes and imagine when you think of heaven, er, I mean a beer festival. It’s just Germany. Well, the non-genocidal parts anyway.
It was a no-brainer that Russia would end up on this list. I mean, after all, they’ve already been referenced multiple times in this article before we even got here. And there’s a reason for that – they are the patriarch of that Eastern Bloc family, a family that’s lived a hard life, and has to resort to throwing down a few just to get through the day. Of course, Russia itself is responsible for many of those miseries – just like a family’s patriarch is often responsible for its miseries – and, naturally, they all follow daddy’s example when it comes to drinking too. It’s not like they can keep up, though, as Russia leads the world when it comes to vodka consumed per capita, with almost 14 liters per person going down the gullets of the Russian people every year. That works out to just shy of 2 billion – yes, billion – liters of vodka downed overall by Russia per year, which means that, when it comes to this whole family metaphor, momma better be on the phone with the Betty Ford Clinic or else daddy is going to need to steal Uncle Belarus’ liver.
If Russia is the dad in this whole extended drunken family metaphor, Ukraine the drunk uncle, Hungary the drunk sister, etc., then Moldova is the stepson who was in rehab by the time he was 15 and is such a drunken mess that he’s not even invited back for holidays anymore. He just wanders the street looking for anything with alcohol in it to pour down his throat. Hell, he’ll even drink lighter fluid. And that’s because Moldova ranks number one in the world according to the WHO in total alcohol consumption per capita. To be fair, you’d probably be forced into a life of drunken obliteration too if you were sandwiched in between the heart of the old Soviet Empire and Transylvania. It’s Stalin to the right and Dracula to the left. Good luck, Moldova!
1. Czech Republic
It was a tossup for the number one spot between King of Drunken Sorrow Moldova and the Czech Republic, which leads the world in beer consumption per capita, but in the end I went with the Czechs, because they understand that drinking is supposed to be about joy and fun, and not the sort of drunken depression seen in too many of the countries on this list. The Czechs are the real King of Beers – the term Pilsner was named for the town of Plzen, after all – and they bring that beer to their subjects deliciously, in copious quantities and cheap as hell. It would be like if the best microbrews in town started selling kegs to you for the cost of a case of Natty Light. Imagine how drunk you would be pretty much all the time. Got it? Good, now you know why the Czech Republic is the drunkest nation on Earth. God bless them.