Apr 2, 2010

Collectivist drinking

I was reading about how China and Asian countries have a collective mentality, while in the West, we're more individualistic:
A collectivist culture is one in which people tend to view themselves as members of groups( families, work units, tribes, nations), and usually consider the needs of the group to be more important than the needs of individuals. Most Asian cultures, including China's, tend to be collectivist.
It occurred to me that over the past weekend, I had a collectivist drinking experience at a bar.

In America, when you go to a bar, lounge, or club, you order your own cocktail or other drink. Sometimes your buddy might order a dozen tequila shots or some other shooters so everyone can have a quick bonding experience, but for the most part, you pick your own drinks. And of course, when you throw a house party in college, you might make a big bowl of jungle juice to share.

The fascinating thing is that in China, it's common to share a big cocktail with friends in an establishment outside your home. It seems to happen more when out with younger people at a bar or club, where everyone shares the same cocktail.

During our recent night on the town, the ground we were with, totaling around ten people, ordered two different group cocktails:
  • Group cocktail 1: The waiter brings out a fifth of Macallan 12 Year, five cans of Watson's club soda, and a glass carafe filled to the brim with ice cubes. He dumps in 1/3 of the scotch, half the soda water, and pours everyone a glass.
  • Group cocktail 2: Same thing, carafe of ice, but this time a fifth of Bombay Sapphire, diluted with club soda.
When I've been in situations like this, I'll skip the soda + liquor + ice concoction and just drink the scotch or gin neat. I'm on a budget and typically stick to the cheap well brands myself, so it's a real treat when someone orders higher end stuff. No sense diluting it with soda water or Coke.

I've heard that when you drink unmixed liquor, it's much easier to tell if you've been slipped fake booze, so that's another plus.


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