Drinking Age in Bulgaria
Bulgaria is one of the European countries that does not have a minimum age for drinking alcohol. It does, however, have one for buying it. Until you are 18 years old, you can drink all you want, but someone else is going to have to get it for you. Alcohol is included at most festivals, holidays and community events. Wine or some other drink is usually served at evening meals when it is just the family as well.
Bulgarian Alcoholic Beverages
Beer, wine and spirits are readily available in the country. Once you are of age, you can buy it in most stores, restaurants and taverns. If you are not 18, you can still drink in public, at a restaurant or tavern, as long as someone else pays for it and brings it to the table.
There is a large and profitable wine industry in Bulgaria. In fact, it is the fifth-largest exporter of wine in the world. You should take a few days to enjoy a wine tour or two and sample everything from a rich, dark, fruity cabernet sauvignon to a crisp, elegant, fruity chardonnay. If you are a wine connoisseur, Bulgaria will be a trip you will never forget.
Bulgaria also brews a wide variety of beers. There are 13 breweries in the small country, two of them owned by Heineken and two by Carlsberg. The Bolyarka brewing company is one of the large locally owned and operated ones, producing the Warsteiner brand and a number of rich lagers. Beer drinkers will have a fine time trying the local brews when vacationing in this country.
When it comes to liquor, Bulgarians call rakia their national drink. This clear, brandy-like liquor is made by distilling fermented fruits to create a very strong drink. It may have different names, depending on the fruit used. It is drank with the appetizers to the evening meal, and if a drop is spilled, they say it is for the deceased members of the family. It is used ritually at funerals, with a portion being poured onto the ground for the departing soul. On the other side, it is used at weddings too. The father of the bride goes from table to table, pouring a shot of rakia for each of the guests as a way of encouraging a blessing for the bride and groom.
The other liquor of Bulgaria is mastika. This is a drink similar to the anise-flavored ouzo in Greece. It is often mixed with a spearmint liqueur to make the popular drink called “The cloud.”
Alcohol and the sharing of drink is more than just a social event in Bulgaria. It is used ritually, in business and for medicinal purposes. The absence of a legal age for drinking does not cause any issues with young children running around under the influence. While they often drink with dinner and special events, most do not partake otherwise. Visitors to the country will enjoy the freedom to drink as they wish and sample some new drinks in the process.