Drinks

Now when it comes to Finnish drinks, a very useful word to remember is viina. It means any kind of strong alcohol.

Whereas most countries are all fancy pantsy saying they have vodka culture etc, we just say we drink viina. People would look at you funny if you’d speak about our (unofficial) national drink, Koskenkorva, as a vodka.

Like I’ve mentioned before, the alcohol is rather expensive in bars which is why every self-respecting Finn gets absolutely hammered at home before heading to a bar. Every bar night is preluded by a pre-party, etkot. Party used here in the loose sense of the word – at first it’s likely to be only a handful of people drinking together but after a few drinks there might be some conversation and somebody might think of putting some music on.

So viina is something you drink at home. In bars you drink cider or beer. Cider being typically considered a women’s drink whilst beer is for men. A nice compromise between the two is lonkero, a gin-based long drink.

Ciders are sweeter and wider in variety than for example in the UK. Beers are mainly lagers. There’s one world-acclaimed Finnish beer that I’ve even had people ask me to bring to them: Sinebrychoff Porter but nobody in Finland knows about it or drinks it. They just stick to the cheapest ones.

A different kind of mouthwash

One drink that’s loved both in Finland and abroad is Koskenkorva minttu, mint vodka. I bring one with me whenever I go to a new place because almost everyone loves it. I say almost everyone because Americans for some reason tend to think it tastes too much like mouthwash.

The rest can’t, however, get enough. They hate me the next day though for bringing it; apparently it tastes too good and you can’t tell it’s 35% which makes for a one hell of a hangover.

In any case, drink responsibly. Finns might not but you should.

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