When your parents take you to Disney World as a 20-something, you have to justify things. For instance, why would I spend a day in relatively close proximity to the Mad Tea Party spinning cups? Because I’m a grown-ass, responsible adult, the answer was simple: a drinking game.
Drinking around the world in Epcot is simple: have a drink (or two, or three) at each of the 11 countries that make up Epcot’s World Showcase, and try to make it all the way around “the world.” Sounds simple enough, but I’ve seen the challenge reduce a normally hearty college bro to an incoherent heap of shots, beer, and crusty tartar sauce from half-eaten fish and chips.
The most important lesson: if you make it out alive, never go back to the tea cups.
MexicoThe journey begins here because a frozen margarita is the obvious choice to combat the oppressive Central Florida sun. And why choose between mango, strawberry, or lime when one can drink a rainbow of all three? It’s fruity and refreshing, matches the souvenir sombreros in the gift shop, and seems to make my brother question his masculinity. I contemplate digging into nachos, but instead promise myself their plastic-cheesy goodness as a reward if I make it all the way around the world.
Also don't miss: La Cava del Tequila, located inside the giant pyramid, is the place to go if you want to sip something more highbrow than frozen margs and cervezas. They have more than 100 types of tequilas and mezcals, and you can extend the margarita rainbow with fancy flavors like avocado, jalapeño, and blood orange (topped with wild berry foam, naturally).
NorwayThe decision to start in Mexico and thus hit Norway early was a conscious one. Previous experience taught me that the country’s signature aquavit shots taste something like Satan’s tears, and the last of Mexico’s now-molten margarita is the only appropriate chaser for that kind of pain. Consider yourself warned.
Also don't miss: There’s nothing that exciting here in terms of food and drink, unless you are really into checking out some Disney princesses. You can dine with them at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall while downing an unlimited supply of cured meats and fish, which is actually not the worst way to burn an hour. Bonus: a professional photo with a princess is included! So actually, it’s the best way to burn an hour.
ChinaOur first stop in the Far East finds us in the home of such alcoholic specialties as mango-ginger margaritas and green tea-plum wine slushies. Being a traditionalist, I opt for the basic chilled plum wine, but quickly regret not going for the adult slushie version. I resolve never to make this mistake again.
Also don't miss: China’s drunchies selection is on point. Not only can you head to the back of the pavilion for your typical greasy Chinese takeout (think: shrimp fried rice, sweet-and-sour chicken, potstickers, and egg rolls), but you can wash down that Chinese margarita with one of dim sum’s greatest contributions to man: the BBQ pork bun.
GermanyGermany welcomes us with not one, not two, not three, but five (!) unique places to procure alcohol. Being a true American consumer, I pay extra to take my pilsner in a plastic souvenir beer mug - obviously it tastes better that way. Had I been a little more adventurous, or not so far out of college, I might have opted for a Jagermeister shot, but it seemed unnecessary to torture myself any more today than necessary. (See: Satan’s tears in Norway.)
Also don't miss: Germany obviously has soft pretzels with loads of mustard and frankfurters & brats doused in kraut. But I recommend the nudel gratin (creamy mac & cheese topped with a thick layer of molten cheese) or currywurst (the only way it’s acceptable to put ketchup on a hot dog). Then, just because Germany wants to make your brain explode, there’s the Werther’s candy store where you can get basically any snack you want drenched in caramel.
ItalyWe stumble into Italy just as the booze in my stomach starts to sing a hunger song. Instead of popping into the wine cellar for a quick snack and glass of adult grape juice, we opt to sit down for a real-deal meal - only a mountain of pasta will do to soak up the morning’s alcohol and make room for more. I take a glass of sparkling rosé with my spaghetti, but limoncello would have also been a tasty choice.
Also don't miss: Barring the gelato cart, Italy is one of only two countries in the World Showcase that doesn’t have a “quick service” (read: fast-food) option. But if you’re willing to dedicate a little time here, Via Napoli puts out a fairly legit Neapolitan-style pie.
AmericaFortified with bread and meat, we press on into the “American Adventure, ” where we find nothing but fast food, plus some funnel cakes and a movie about America. I can’t tell if this is either the best or worst representation of our great nation.
Since this wouldn’t be the US of A unless we made our alcohol unnecessarily fruity (and remembering the pledge I made to myself in China), I decide the frozen Red Stag lemonade, made with Jim Beam, is a no-brainer.