Updated April 6, 2013
Introduction to Drinking Around the World
Alcoholics and those who just happen to start drinking most mornings unite. A favorite activity of many Disney vacationing adults is “drinking around the world.” For the uninitiated, the World Showcase at Epcot is made up of eleven distinct areas, each themed like a country during an important time in their history. You’ll find unique gifts, fun shows, immersive activities, and the occasional ride. While there’s certainly something to say about mimes and cover bands, something can also be said for themed drinks and $10 beers. Each country offers quasi-authentic food – hamburgers in the United States, tacos in Mexico, and sushi in Japan for example. You’ll also find international beers and select mixed alcoholic drinks in all of the represented locales. The goal of drinking around the world is to consume an alcoholic drink in each country before (or while) moving on to the next. Yes, at least eleven drinks in all. Unfortunately, not all drinks are created equal and this guide will help you decide which are the best fit for your group.
Can I Handle This?
You might hear about someone riding all the rides at the Animal Kingdom in one day or riding Splash Mountain 500 times over 20 years. These are insignificant achievements compared to what you are attempting to accomplish. Anyone can follow a laundry list of rides to run to or spend all their money on Disney vacations. Not everyone can continue to consume alcohol while their liver begs for forgiveness, the 100 degree sun beats down, and each country seems to inch further and further away. Eleven drinks is probably a lot and you may be able to have just as much fun drinking at every other country or just the particularly “good” ones. You don’t get any additional points for failing to crawl back to the monorail station, so consider your limits and don’t become hypnotized by what may be unachievable. It’s okay, you can always practice and return at a later date. The margaritas will still be there. Just hope they don’t add any additional countries in the meantime.
I Really Want to Achieve the Impossible, What Training Do You Suggest?
This is the most common question I receive. The method I recommend is entering the smallest, most cramped room in your home (that isn’t a bathroom) and turning the heat up as high as possible. If you have any additional space heaters, you’ll want to bring those with you and plug them in as well. Prepare your portable refrigerator or freezer with one of your least favorite alcohols or beers. This will help endurance and prepare you for a beverage that may not be to your taste. There’s nothing worse than receiving a Canto Loopy that slows you down because you don’t like the flavor. Once you’ve prepared your room to properly simulate Orlando weather, open your first beer or mix your first drink and consume it while running in place at a brisk pace (a treadmill is even better, you might want to purchase one). Continue running while consuming one drink every 30 minutes for five to six hours. Instruct your significant other to enter the room once per hour and throw a large bucket of water on you. This will simulate the flash rain showers you can expect during summer months. If you have any kids, tell them to enter the room every 15 minutes and run around you as fast as they can while making as much noise as possible. Although this won’t accurately imitate the thousands of kids running around at Epcot, it’s the best we can do on such short notice and decreases your chances of strangling any of them. Actually, I’ve just gotten word from my lawyer and I have to advise you not to use the previously mentioned technique due to liability concerns. Looks like practice techniques are up to you. Sorry.
I’ve Convinced Myself I Can Handle This, How Much Is It Going To Cost Me?
Beers at Epcot cost about as much as they would at a professional sporting event or upscale bar. In other words, expect to pay between $7 and $10 each. Mixed alcoholic drinks and frozen margarita-like drinks run about $10 each, depending on ingredients and size. Some are slightly more or less expensive, but expect to pay that on average. Wine is slightly cheaper and available at most of the countries, but you’ll probably want to do most of your wine drinking in France and Italy, where you’ll find the best options. All in all, one alcoholic drink purchase at each of the eleven pavilions will run you between $80 and $120 on average.
Enough With This Technical Stuff. I Wanna Drink Already!
I don’t blame you. There are two countries that you can start at, depending on if you want to walk around clockwise or counterclockwise. I would suggest starting with Canada if you’re going to drink beer and Mexico if you’re planning to drink hard liquor or mixed drinks. If you’re going to mix and match I would also recommend Mexico, so we’ll start there and work our way around.
Finally, with a few exceptions (La Cava del Tequila and Tutto Gusto coming to mind), I only include the alcohol and beer available at the counter service locations and kiosks. All of the table service restaurants in Epcot would be happy to serve you an overpriced alcoholic drink, but stopping at any of them will take considerable time, and they expect your group to pluck down $15 on appetizers and $30+ on entrees. Consider a break in the middle at one of these restaurants to recuperate, rehydrate, and re-energize for more drinking.
It’s worth taking a few extra minutes and spending a few extra dollars to pick up a margarita inside the Mexico Pavilion at La Cava del Tequila, which opens at 12pm.
La Cava menu:
These are $3 – $5 more expensive than most of the drinks we’ll come across later, but they’re also made to order using high quality ingredients.
As a bonus, if you eat inside and follow @cavadeltequila on Twitter, you receive free chips and salsa and a discount on a particular shot of tequila. As an additional bonus, they don’t actually check your phone, so you don’t really need to follow them. And I would tell you that they’re extremely annoying because they retweet basically anything and anyone that mentions them in any capacity. No offense to Nancy in Ohio that is really looking forward to an avocado margarita in June, but I really don’t care.
Inside, La Cava has limited seating. They ordinarily open at 12pm and if you arrive around then, seating won’t be a problem. You can also order at the bar, pay, and take away a plastic to-go cup as pictured above.
From left to right (sorry, some half-consumed):
Avocado Margarita – El Mayor premium silver Tequila, melon liqueur, fresh avocado, agave nectar and fresh lime juice served frozen with a hibiscus Himalayan salt rim – $14
Pomegranate Margarita – The perfect blend of Milagro premium silver Tequila, Combier orange liqueur, agave nectar, pomegranate liquor, pineapple and lime juice, served on the rocks with a hibiscus Himalayan salt rim – $14.50
Pineapple Margarita – 100% Agave Tequila Reposado, ginger liqueur, caramelized pineapple nectar, fresh lime juice, and agave nectar served on the rocks with a cactus-lemongrass Himalayan salt rim – $13
Blood Orange Margarita – El Mayor premium silver Tequila, orange liqueur, sweet-tart mix of blood orange juice, hibiscus syrup, topped with wild berry foam served on the rocks with a cactus-lemongrass Himalayan salt rim – $13
Wild Passion Fruit Margarita – 100% Agave Tequila Reposado, ginger liqueur, passion fruit, mango nectar and fresh lime juice topped with mango foam and served on the rocks with a cactus-lemongrass Himalayan salt rim – $13
If you choose to dine at San Angel Inn, you can also order any of the margaritas from La Cava tableside. Although it’s not advertised on the menu, you can ask about a Margarita Flight – $18, which includes five shots of five different margaritas on the menu. Availability may depend on how busy they are as it’s one of their more time consuming items (which is why it isn’t advertised). You may want to order the margarita flight without the salt as it tends to overpower the flavors of the drink.
My favorites are the Blood Orange, Jalapeno, and Avocado, but they’re all high quality and thought out better than most drinks around World Showcase. See this for a complete menu, including the 150+ tequilas available.
Tequila flights are also available. This one is $20 and includes Partida Blanco, Don Julio Reposado, and Gran Centenario Añejo along with a shot of sangrita, which is a non-alcoholic salsa-like chaser.
The quickest way to grab a margarita is usually the Margarita Stand outside on the promenade.
Their most popular items are the frozen margaritas, but they’ve recently added a Patron Lime margarita.
The Patron Lime Margarita is on the left. While similar to La Cava, it’s nowhere as good, relying on simple bottled sour mix and lime juice instead of the fresh fruits and juices inside. Skip them unless the line for La Cava is super long.
La Cantina de San Angel is located on the Lagoon side across from the pyramid.
It offers similar margaritas and the same Dos Equis Draft as the stand and the stand usually has faster service.
$8 nets you a 20-ounc Dos Equis draft. This 4.3% American adjunct lager is widely available in grocery and convenience stores across the country, but as far as macro lagers go, it isn’t terrible. And it has .2% more alcohol than the Corona Light available at La Cantina for the same money. And we all know how important decimal points are. The Dos Equis is a refreshing lager for the Budweiser crowd, but it’s one of the most boring beers available at the Festival.
Corona Light. Please don’t.
The margaritas here and at the outdoor margarita bar are, for the most part, hit or miss. This Frozen Lime Margarita will set you back $9.50. It had a strong tequila taste that wasn’t at all unpleasant, tempered a bit by sugar and lime juice. Cold and refreshing, it’ll last a while whether you’re enjoying it with your food or on your way to Norway.
The Frozen Passion Fruit Margarita, also $9.50, had a much creamier texture and tasted much less of tequila. Again, your mileage may vary with these as they’re extremely inconsistent. If I didn’t know better, I’d tell you this was non-alcoholic.
Referring to what is their regular Frozen Lime Margarita with a Pomegranate Liqueur Floater as a “Mojito” is probably a bit of a stretch. It’s possible that there is nothing mojito about it. This sucker also runs 25 cents more than if you simply purchased the Lime Margarita with said Liqueur Floater. Anyway, the smart money remains heading inside to La Cava. The frozen margaritas will suffice if you want to save about $6 and don’t want to wait in line inside. The wait for La Cava at 12:15pm looked to be at least 25 minutes and we ended up bailing. Outside, the Mango is smoother and creamier and the Lime has a more pronounced tequila flavor.
Norway offers a drink cart near the front of the Pavilion. Mexico’s Margarita Stand is visible in the distance on the left. See, you didn’t have to walk very far at all!
No mixed drinks are available here.
Carlsberg is a 5% German Pilsener hailing from Denmark. It’s okay, but nothing special. Unlike the beers in Mexico and China, it’s a little rarer and I don’t think I’ve ever seen it at a local grocery store, but it should be available at specialty stores.
I’d pick it over the Tsingtao or Dos Equis, but Germany will offer a few more interesting options.
For the Aquavit, you can actually buy a whole bottle of it inside the Norwegian store for $40. So if your group is thinking of “doing shots,” you may want to pick up a bottle to pick up on your way out and do them back at your resort for a night cap. Aquavit is “Produced from potatoes and flavored with caraway and herbs. Then the tastes are mellowed by rolling oak casks that travel through various conditions during a five month voyage at sea.” That’s right – your shot of liquor has spent five months on a boat, much like a real viking. Caraway, which may be better known as the nutty seed in rye bread, has a distinct flavor that’s mellowed a bit by the oak and sherry from the barrel that it travels in. A bottle runs $30 at Total Wine, so the $40 pricetag seems sane.
The wines are a little embarrassing. I’m not sure you can get much further away from Norway than Australia. Any of these wines would run you around $5 a bottle in the store.
This is a little more generous pour than you’ll receive at the Pavilion, but it’s necessary for me to review to give a comprehensive review. Garbage.
Kringla Bakeri also offers the same Carlsberg beer and Aquavit shots.
In addition, they offer a Viking Coffee and Baileys & Coffee flavored with Baileys Irish Cream – $7.50. These are probably best experienced on those cooler fall/winter evenings. You wouldn’t see me with one at 1:30pm in July.
Joy of Tea is your best choice in China. You’ll find it on the Lagoon side across from the rest of the Pavilion.
It offers mostly teas and snacks.
The strongest drink here is undoubtedly the Tipsy Ducks in Love.
This one is not for the faint of heart. Unlike the cast members at most places that spritz a half ounce of Bacardi under your non-alcoholic frozen lemonade, the Chinese pull out chilled bottles of Jim Beam bourbon and load you up on top. This was a strong drink and you’re talking to someone that mixes a quarter of generic diet cola into a glass filled three quarters of the way with Evan Williams and ice. If you like bourbon and coffee, you’re going to like this. But it tastes strongly of bourbon, which makes it ideal for bourbon lovers and not ideal for those who want something like the Frozen Jim Beam Lemonades or Grey Goose Slushes.
The Canto Loopy on the left – with Vodka and Cantaloupe juice – $7.50 and the Peach Snap! on the right – With Schanpps – $7.50.
While refreshing, I didn’t taste any vodka whatsoever in the Loopy. If there was some, the cantaloupe juice masked it perfectly, but I doubt that’s the case. The Peach Snap was similar with a texture more similar to a frozen beverage.
The Mango Gingerita with Rum and Vodka – $7.50 has a fairly strong ginger flavor that almost completely masks the flavor of the rum and vodka – much more refreshing than strong.
Plum Wine is more of a Japanese thing, but it’s available in China too. $4.99 buys you a few ounces of a brand that I couldn’t name. Plum wine is sweeter and less tart than your typical merlot or cabernet.
Tsingtao is a fairly ubiquitous 4.8% American adjunct lager, similar to Corona Extra or Budweiser. Some may deem it thin and watery, while others will respect its light mouthfeel and slight sweetness. I fall on the thin/watery side, but it is refreshing in the summer heat.
The Pure Draft is much more malty and sweet – and not necessarily in a good way. It’s more skunky than anything.
Lotus Blossom Cafe is the Chinese quick service arm.
They offer similar options as Joy of Tea, with the addition of Yuengling and Bud Light on draft.
Not really a country per se, the Coolpost is a little African.
Africa Cool Post offers a couple wines in addition to draft beer. King Estate Acrobat is a pretty decent pinot noir out of Oregon. A bottle runs $19. The J Vineyards Pinot Gris is a $14 bottle and the serving size is the same, so the smart money is on the noir.
“Safari Amber” is only available here and Animal Kingdom, but it’s really Anheuser-Busch’s amber red that they sell under a number of different names at various theme parks, arenas, ballparks, restaurants etc. Still, it’s a better option than the competition here. With better German beers just a few hundred feet away, most people can safely skip the Outpost.
We’ll be seeing Yuengling at several spots on our Journey. It is not as Chinese as it might sound (we saw it first over at Lotus Blossom) as Yuengling is actually the oldest brewery in the United States. The Traditional Lager is a 4.4% American amber that’s more full-bodied than your typical macro lager. Yuengling is a barbecue staple down here in Florida and would be a good choice if you’ve never heard of it before.
The Trinken Cart is your first opportunity for a German drink.
Other than Biergarten, which would require a buffet purchase, this is the only location in Germany that offers Hovels.
Hovels is a 5.5% altbier. Other examples are Alaskan Amber and Wider Okto Festival Ale from the Pacific Northwest. Like similar beers, the notes are caramel, malt, and bread. The aftertaste is, dare I say, earthy and metallic. Along with the Altenmunster, this one isn’t going to be easy to find, unlike most beers available around the World Showcase. If you like beer or are “trying to get into it,” the Hovels would be a good option. You’re not going to see this around many places that don’t have a large selection of beer.
The Altenmunster Oktoberfest is the front right beer. It’s a nice example of the marzen variety of beers and this is probably the only place in the country you’re going to find it. It should remind you of the more widely available Sam Adams Octoberfest that you’ll run into in the United States Pavilion during the fall. This one is highly drinkable, if not a bit watery. It’s also highly recommended, especially in the Florida heat. Quite refreshing.
The Bier stand is located inside the Pavilion on the right side. It may not be open when crowds are low.
You’ll find the same shots, riesling, and oktoberfest as the Trinken cart, in addition to Radeberger Pilsner.
Radeberger Pilsner is a fairly common beer these days. It’s a 4.8% German Pilsner that would be more accessible than the Hovels or Oktoberfest. If you like your run-of-the-mill Budweiser, you’ll like this too. Light bodied, it’s well carbonated and refreshing.
Finally, Sommerfest is located in the back right of the Pavilion.
It offers the same drinks as the other stands. Because it’s less obvious and the cash registers are out of sight of the entrance, Sommerfest can have a shorter line than the stands in the afternoon and evening when World Showcase is busier. If lines are 10+ people elsewhere, consider popping in here.
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve probably heard of Jagermeister, the 70 proof herbal liqueur from Wolfenbüttel, Germany. It tastes strongly of licorice and anise. My brother makes fun of me because I drink Jager over ice, but I have a taste for it – many do not.
With a crisp and light apple flavor, a shot of Apfel is about as half as boozy. Berentzen invented the schnapps-like-liqueur in the 1970s. It’s much sweeter than the Jagermeister.
The Italy kiosk and cart are located on the left side of the Pavilion near Germany:
Desserts are also available.
The Italian Margarita is on the left. This is about as generic as a description gets. The margarita is sweeter and more lemon-y than its Mexican counterpart. Unlike the Italian Margarita offered at the Italian table service restaurants, which is mixed with grappa (a grape based brandy), this one has hints of tequila You could almost consider it a lemon margarita from the Mexico Margarita Stand we visited earlier. Recommended, though probably not particularly authentic.
The Primavera is one of my favorite non-alcoholic frozen drinks on property. Cold and refreshing, it’s basically a strawberry daiquiri in an easy-to-drink style. Highly recommended if you’re looking for something sans alcohol.
Don’t worry, there’s more.
Peach puree and prosecco, the Peach Bellini is a classy cocktail. For $1 less, you’ll receive more wine without the puree.
I would guess I pour a glass of wine slightly taller than you’d receive at the Italy Pavilion. The Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio is not exactly a high end wine – a 1.5L bottle would run you around $13 at the store. If you’re interested in a glass of wine, I’d wait to take a look at Tutto Gusto or the Enoteca later in this post.
Rosa Regale is a favorite dessert wine of many ladies. This sparkly wine is made the same way that prosecco is made with sweet strawberry and raspberry notes. With an alcohol percentage of exactly 7% (about 50% less than your average red wine), it’s also unlikely to get anyone drunk, which may or may not be what you’re going for.
Birra Moretti is a staple of the Italy Pavilion, available here, at the restaurants, and during the Food & Wine Festival. The brewery is owned by Heineken and Birra Moretti specifically is a 4.6% Euro Pale Lager, similar to Heineken, Stella Artois, Harp Lager, and others. On the plus side, it’s light bodied, crisp, and refreshing. Expect a sweet and grainy taste that goes down smooth. Moretti might be more available than you expect – local grocery stores sell six packs for $7 – $9. It’s not a bad choice necessarily, but it’s another light, relatively mundane beer.
Italy tries to talk up their Montegrande wines.
I had the opportunity to try a glass of each at the 2012 Food and Wine Festival. They’re okay, but I’d be surprised if anyone thought they were anything special. They are slightly less expensive than the other options, which may make them attractive.
For a better list of wines, along with the accompanying bottle names, head to the Enoteca. It’s located at the front of the Pavilion on the right side.
Wines are available casually by the glass.
Just tell the person behind the counter what you’d like and they’ll hand you a cup you can take wherever you like.
The Wine Walk is also available for sale at the Enoteca:
Purchasers used to have their choice of several wines at each location, but it looks like the selections are now made for you. The 2-oz size is also half of what would be poured for the full price.
Tutto Gusto is a fairly new wine bar located on the left side of the Pavilion past Tutto Italia.
Gusto doesn’t take reservations, but there shouldn’t be a wait for a beautiful Italian person to show you to your table.
Inside, Gusto is dark, quaint, and casual.
Request a table away from the door to avoid the sun coming through and a lot of the foot traffic. This is an excellent opportunity to get off your feet and inside to some air-conditioning in the middle of your Journey.
Gusto offers something like 200+ Italian wines.
For those that have no idea where to start, flights are available.
A Grand Tour:
The Zardetto is a $10 bottle of Prosseco, rated 86 by Wine Advocate and 85 by Wine Spectator at some point.
A bit more expensive, the Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesio is a $14 verdicchio, which is a wine derived from a yellow-green grape from central Italy.
The Pieropan Soave Classico would run you around $20. The Internet says it has a “steely mineral character and fruit components of citrus and stone fruits.”
Another $20 bottle, the Beni di Batasiolo Barbera d’Alba has an 87 point rating from Wine Enthusiast.
At around $30, the “Super Tuscan” is probably the most prestigious on the list. I’m sure 2009 was a good year.
Finally, the moscato would run you around $15 for a half bottle.
I didn’t know any of this going in and this information is due to some light Google searching. I am not a wine person, but I like to think I try. I liked all of them perfectly fine except I thought the Pieropan Soave was a little earthy for my tastes. Considering the retail price of the wines, the flight seems like a decent enough value and a nice way to try multiple Italian wines without much effort. One flight would be pretty easily sharable if you’re not such a lush.
Higher end selections are also available.
Or you can simply order a glass or bottle from their extensive list.
Cocktails and beers:
The Rossini (left, $14) pictured next to the Belinni (right, $12). Pricing on these seemed rough. They didn’t seem to be anything special and I would have preferred to put that money to work elsewhere.
Gusto has a pretty impressive lineup of Italian beers, several of which you won’t find on draft anywhere else in the United States.
I prefer the Birra Moretti La Rossa to the regular Birra Moretti. The La Rossa is a 7.2% dopplebock, which is one of the booziest beers available in the World Showcase. And it’s available by the pitcher here. Expect to taste roasted malts with more distant hints of cherry and dried fruit. Very good.
For $18, you can order a flight of four 4oz beers of your choice. First up is the Birra Amiata Contessa Pale Ale. According to Googe Translate: “This beer can be found hints of grass and flowers and the scent of summer and full moon, you can try visiting this beautiful plateau in summer. A key ingredient is revealed also the water, the water supply of the Fiora, particularly pure and light, because through long layers of porous rock of volcanic origin. It ‘a top-fermented beer, which employs the yeast of American origin, fermented twice, the first in a fermenter and the second bottle.”
I’m not sure about the scent of the full moon, but this was my favorite of the four. Coming in at 6.9% ABV, the U.S. considers this an IPA, even though it’s bottled as an Italian Pale Ale. This is one of the smoother IPAs I’ve tried with grass, citrus, and pine notes. It’s more hoppy than one might expect from the Pale Ale moniker, but I’m an IPA guy and I enjoyed this one immensely. I would have liked the other 8 ounces and would love to happen upon a 6-pack sometime.
The second is the Tuscan Chestnut Ale, which wasn’t to my taste. Its Italian name is “Bastarda Rossa,” which doesn’t sound quite as sexy as chestnut ale. Actually, Red Bastard may be better. Anyway, this one tasted of nuts and smoke, but was too bitter and sour for my palate. I would definitely add it if you’re ordering the flight though – it’s worth trying and you may enjoy it more than I did.
Nex up is the Birrificio L’Olmaia La Nove. Birrificio L’olmaia is fun to say if nothing else. Like the Chestnut Ale, this one comes in at 6.5% ABV. Unlike the Chestnut, it’s a Belgian Pale Ale. I enjoyed it, but I’m not as fond of the Chimay family of Belgians as some. I find them to be too sweet and caramel-y. This was neither – more complex with more of a citrus orange flavor than anything and a nice dry finish. I liked it, but wouldn’t have the need to order a $12/glass.
Porters are my least favorite of the major beer varieties, but Tutto Gusto’s Porter seemed to be on point with more coffee flavor than your typical American porter. It would pair nicely with one of the chocolate desserts, but it wouldn’t be my personal choice for a $10 beer. It could just as easily be Kona’s Pipeline Porter in my book.
Overall, I give big props to Tutto Gusto and the Patina Group for importing some choice Italian craft beers that aren’t going to be found in many other places. I don’t think you can get the Contessa Pale Ale on draft anywhere else in the United States. That’s pretty special.
The Italian Margherita – Tequila, Caravella Limoncello, fresh lime juice is different than what you’d be served out on the promenade. And it’s probably just as Italian. It was pretty good – there were some ice shards floating around in the drink, which was a little strange. It otherwise tastes much like a margarita should. There was a solid amount of tequila in it, but the limoncello helped mellow it out. Recommended if you’re looking for something not Italian in the Italy Pavilion.
While you might be expecting the United States to offer a nice selection of domestic bourbons, our choices here are going to be extremely limited.
Fife & Drum Tavern, located on the front left of the Pavilion, is your best, and really only, bet.
Luckily, the Red Stag Lemonade is actually very good. The recipe changed in late 2012 and the portion size is now much larger. The previous Lemonade had less ice and was so strong that it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they received complaints about it. It didn’t quite taste like something I’d make (strong), but it was close. There’s probably a similar amount of bourbon in the new version, but it’s much less offensive because the ice helps dilute the flavor from the bourbon. In fact, there’s only a slight bourbon taste, which is helped by the sweetness in the Cherry Red Stag. I highly recommend it as it’s quite refreshing and will help cool you off in the summer.
Pictured on my counter is a 1.5L bottle (a regular bottle is 750ml) of Sutter Home wine that cost me $6.99 at the grocery store, or less than the 187ml you’d be served here. It is toilet wine in just about every sense of the term – not bad if you’re at the grocery store, but it’s a tough sell at seven bucks for a quarter of a regular bottle.
You’ll find one of Sam Adams’ four seasonal beers depending on when you visit. Alpine Spring is their spring seasonal – an unfiltered lager with Noble Tettnang hops from the base of the Alps. Or so they say. With an ABV of 5.5%, it’s a light, crisp beer with citrus and floral notes. There isn’t a whole lot to it, but there isn’t necessarily supposed to be. It’s an easy drinking spring beer, particularly in Florida where it’s already going to be warm in February.
Their Summer Ale, coming in at 5.3% ABV, is not a personal favorite. It tastes strongly of lemon peel and wheat. Others appreciate the zesty lemon and citrus flavor.
Octoberfest is more up my alley. This 5.3% marzen has traditionally tasted of malty caramel, cinnamon, and allspice. The perfect beer for a (relatively) cool Epcot night. But potentially not your best choice at 3:30pm in September when it’s still 93 degrees out.
Finally, Winter Lager is a 5.6% bock style beer that has a subdued spiciness about it. Similar to the Octoberfest, you should taste toffee, cinnamon, and ginger in a mild mix of spices. It’s very good…assuming the temperature is less than 60 degrees. Best enjoyed in the evening.
Liberty Inn, located in the back left of the Pavilion, is your only other opportunity to purchase an alcoholic drink here in the U.S. They only serve Bud Light and Sam Adams. Lines are usually nonexistent at the Fife & Drum, so there’s no reason to head inside unless you’re trying to get out of the heat or rain.
Kabuki Cafe is located on the left side of the Pavilion.
They advertise Kirin Draft, which is a 20 oz. Kirin.
Kirin Ichiban is probably my least favorite beer on the planet. It tastes like sweet, metallic bread – sort of like a Natty Ice at a 1000% markup.
For the same $8, you can opt for the advertised “Frozen Kirin Ichican.” It isn’t a beer Icee. Rather, it’s a regular Kirin draft with a sort of whipped Kirin topping. It serves to keep the beer cold and is a novel concept here in the States, but it makes drinking the beer unpleasant. I have not heard of anyone that liked the Frozen Ichiban. I drank mine with a straw to bypass the foam, which is a huge beer foul.
They also sell bottles of Sapporo and Asahi. Sapporo is a Japanese rice lager that comes in at an even 5% ABV. While Sapporo is the oldest brewery in Japan, they actually brew this version in Ontario Canada. It tastes of dull rice and corn, but is smooth and easy drinking. Not explicitly recommended, but I prefer it to the Kirin. Asahi Super Dry is a similar Japanese rice lager that is more refreshing than it is flavorful. Also coming in at 5%, it’s unlikely to offend, but isn’t going to taste like much other than rice and corn.
The Japan Sake Bar is located inside the Pavilion on the left side, across from Mitsukoshi Department Store.
Here, you can pick up a mixed sake cocktail or a straight glass if you prefer.
An example of the Pineapple Sake Cocktail. It tasted very much like a pina colada. There isn’t a lot, if any, flavor from the sake. The pineapple flavor overwhelmed it. If you really like pina coladas, this would be a good, cold, refreshing choice. It was quite refreshing, though the booziness is questionable.
The Green Tea Amasake Mist. I enjoyed this a lot too. It wasn’t as overwhelmingly sweet/sugar-y as the Moroccan frozen drinks a couple of Pavilions over. The taste is a lot more subtle to the point where you want to keep drinking it to get just a little bit more flavor. As opposed to the drinks in Morocco where you want to drink more just to get it over with. I bet the Strawberry version would be even better. Recommended.
Sake is a type of Japanese liquor brewed similar to beer. I’m not smart enough to differentiate the options. I can tell you that all four have the same alcohol content, but the more expensive the sake, the more polished the rice used in production. The flavor is also more complex and the smell more fragrant. You may want to spend an extra couple dollars to experience the art of sake rather than giggling to each other, yelling “SAKE BOMB” and ordering the $6 sake warmed. Or not.
Finally, Katsura Grill in the back of the Pavilion offers the same plum wine, sake, and Kirin beer as the other locations.
Morocco’s main alcohol distribution center is located at the front of the Pavilion on the left.
The Moroccans are not exactly known for their mixology.
The Sultan’s Colada is on the far left – Rum, Pineapple / Coconut Juice and Almond Liqueur. It’s a fancy way of saying it’s a frozen pina colada. The only difference between an alcoholic and non-alcoholic “Slushy” is about an ounce of Castillo Rum (Puerto Rico) added to the bottom of the cup. In other words, these aren’t authentic Moroccan drinks or particularly boozy. The Habibi Daiquiri – Rum, Strawberry, and Orange Blossom Water on the right was the tastiest in my opinion. But it’s basically a strawberry daiquiri.
Casa Beer is the beer of the Morocco Pavilion. A bottle will run you $5.99, poured into the prototypical plastic cup. Casa Beer is similar to an American macro lager like Budweiser. There isn’t a lot of flavor or substance, but it does carry a 5% ABV and will taste good when it’s 95 degrees out. About as far from being special as possible as far as character is concerned, but it is from Morocco!
Les Vins de France, a kiosk across from Les Chefs de France at the front of the Pavilion, is your first opportunity.
Wines by the glass are available.
The Paul Bocuse may be the way to go as you at least wouldn’t find it in your run-of-the-mill wine shop.
The Grey Goose Citron Lemonade Slush (left) and Grand Marnier & Grey Goose Orange Slush (right) are among the most popular drinks in the World Showcase. They aren’t as sweet as you might expect, but they do mask whatever alcohol is present well. You can certainly do worse.
The pricing ($14.88) on a shot of Nuvo sparkling vodka seems rough. A bottle at the local Total Wine runs $26.99. It’s vodka “infused with wine and fruit nectar” creating a bubbly, raspberry flavor to the vodka. Too rich for my blood, but you might have interest.
The Kronenbourg is an average 5.9% Euro pale lager – a little sweet, very refreshing, with a crisp finish. It isn’t anything particularly special, but it’s a bit better than the last few beers we’ve seen.
Boulangerie Patisserie is another option, but waits will probably be longer than Les Vins.
One positive of the Boulangerie is that it opens at 9am. Just about everything else in World Showcase opens at 11am. While they do not specifically offer a mimosa, they do sell champagne and orange juice. I’m just saying.
The United Kingdom
The Rose & Crown Beer Stand is the easiest place to grab a beer or cider.
The options are not astounding, but they do offer a larger selection than most stands.
Bass is a 5% Euro Pale Ale produced by England’s Bass Brewers Limited. It’s a competent, classic English beer that may taste a little watered down – only mildly bitter.
An 18-ounec Stella Artois from Splitsville. Another 5% Euro Pale Lager, I would argue that the flavor doesn’t justify the usual premium pricing. That said, it is about as smooth as lagers get – clean and just a little sweet.
And an expertly poured Guinness from Raglan Road. Just about everyone should be familiar with this 4.2% Irish Dry Stout. It tastes of black coffee and roasted malts. I don’t particularly care for it – at 4.2% it’s basically a Bud Light as far as alcohol content and it tastes watered down to me. A lot of people love it though!
Strongbow is a pretty average dry cider. It’s sweet and tart at the same time with a minimal amount of carbonation. It isn’t a sugar bomb, which makes it easily drinkable in the Florida sun.
The U.K. serves the Pear version of Magners Irish Cider. My preference is the Original. Magners Pear sort of tastes like somebody mixed canned pear juice with a perfectly good bottle of cider. It tastes more like pear wine than anything.
Rose & Crown Pub is a favorite of many. I don’t enjoy it myself – it’s too cramped and crowded and you’re basically always in someone’s way. But you can get any drink to go. Click here for the full menu.
Rose & Crown offers the beers we’ve seen previously along with Boddington’s Pub Ale. Is it weird that it’s one of my least favorite beers of all time? Of all time? It’s watery. Metallic. Thick. Milky. Am I way off base here? It would be a tough choice if this and Kirin Ichiban were the only two available. I’d probably go with the Kirin.
The Welsh Dragon – Peach Schnapps, Melon Liqueur, Crème de Menthe, Orange Juice, and Pineapple Juice is a popular drink. It’s much too sweet for my tastes. Rose & Crown also offers a host of scotches.
Canada may be the biggest disappointment in the World Showcase. Your only easily accessible options are here at this cart located to the left of the entrance down to Le Cellier.
The Cart may or may not offer Unibroue beer. It’s “seasonal” and most often found during the Food and Wine Festival in late September through mid-November.
We’ve discussed Moosehead previously in the Whispering Canyon review. At the time, I said: Moosehead Lager is a decent 5% ABV American Pale Lager brewed by Moosehead Breweries in New Brunswick, Canada. This is basically your Budweiser option, though it has more flavor than your typical American macro. Moosehead Light is even lighter, coming in at an even 4% . It’s half decent for those looking for a Bud Light, but it’s far from full bodied.
Labatt Blue is a Canadian Pilsner/American Adjunct Lager coming in at 5%, like most domestic macros. For a cheap beer in most stores, Labatt is a more flavorful choice than Miller, Budweiser, etc. For $7.25, they’re not as good of a value, but still a better choice than Bud Light.
The Trois Pistoles (twaw pis-tolee), a 9% ABV Belgian Strong Dark Ale, is the best of the bunch. Yes, that’s 9% alcohol and it’s about $4 less than an equivalent Moosehead a few feet away. And a 750ml (25.36 ounce) bottle of Trois Pistoles in stores would run you $9 – $11. These Unibroues are an absolute steal. Maybe the best deal I’ve ever seen on a beverage at Walt Disney World. So grab them quickly because Disney is going to switch out the 20 ounce cups for 6 ounce cups once they get wind of this. All of that said, the Trois Pistoles isn’t going to be for everyone – it’s a dark stout-like beer with Belgian yeast. It’s also smooth and refreshing. If you like beer or find yourself trying to get “into it,” camp out at the Unibroue cart. Skip the Torontopolitan.
The Blonde de Chambly (not to be mixed up with the Blanche de Chambly!) is the rarest of the bunch. Chambly comes from the city in Quebec where Unibroue brews its beers. The Unibroue website describes it as, “Crisp acidity of lemongrass followed by sweet honey and notes of pepper, with a sharp, floral finish.” I wouldn’t disagree. Coming in at 5%, it’s going to be a much lighter option, though it’s actually the darker looking beer in this picture. It carries my highest recommendation and is only available in Canada outside of the Epcot.
The beer on the left is the Ephemere (Apple). This 5.5% fruit beer is going to taste of crisp apples, spices, and cinnamon. It’s also excellent.
Although it’s not a country, your last (or first if you start with Canada) chance is the Refreshment Port.
And one option – the Frozen Bacardi Mojito.
The Frozen Bacardi Mojito had a stronger taste of mint than I was expecting. Considering there are probably no real ingredients in the thing, I would have to guess that it’s artificially flavored in some way. That said, I enjoyed this one more than the Moroccan Frozen Drinks and the frozen drinks available at the Mexico Margarita Stand. It wasn’t just mind-boggling sweet and the mint aftertaste, however artificial, was pleasant. Also recommended and really your only frozen drink choice until France.
Beer: For those that like their beers to have flavor and character, the best beers at Epcot are the brews in Germany, the Sam Adams in the United States, and the beers in England. If Canada is serving Unibroue then you can add that to the list as well. Of the lighter beers, the Carlsberg Beer in Norway is the best.
The Kronenbourg, Kirin Ichiban, Dos Equis, Tsingtao, Casablanca and Birra Moretti are middle of the road beers and not expressly recommended by name. They’re all fine, but it’s unlikely you’ll be impressed. Th
Mixed Drinks: By far, La Cava inside of the Mexico Pavilion serves the best drinks in the World Showcase. The Joy of Tea drinks are very good, with the Tipsy Ducks in Love getting a special nod. Tutto Gusto in the Italy Pavilion is also recommended.
Wine: The best wines are found in Italy, France, and Germany. Most countries now serve wine at the various kiosks, but they’re of somewhat questionable quality in several of the Pavilions, including Norway. And you may not find wine in several countries, including Canada and China.
Some Final Tips
Be sure to consume a bottle or glass of water every two or three Pavilions. The heat, coupled with the alcohol, will dry even the wettest person out. You may also see people with custom made shirts that say something to the effect of them “drinking around the world” along with a list of countries on the back and a place for a signature of whoever is working at the kiosk or restaurant. While your author finds this sort of thing a bit tacky, you may want a souvenir from your experience (and you deserve one). I might suggest using the “passport” that’s available for purchase for about $10. It’s a real looking passport with pages, stickers, and stamps and the person working the alcohol will be happy to take a moment to say hello and sign their name in your book. Of course, you can also make your own and bring it along with you. Something like this might work also http://www.kidscraftsplus.com/c=eyKFCB5Z60ay7u522DeTvNZH6/product/E55-00/My-Passport-Book—1.html
As a cost saving measure and for the sake of endurance, you might consider sharing drinks at several of the countries. It’s easy to share, since all drinks are served in plastic cups. Most kiosks and counter service locations should be happy to provide an extra cup as well. You can always purchase a second (or third, fourth, etc.) drink if you particularly enjoy the first.
Good luck and try not to get kicked out.