If you like drinking alcohol and going places, you’ll probably like Booze Traveler, the original Travel Channel show hosted by actor and adventurer, Jack Maxwell. The second season kicks off tonight, and it’ll find Maxwell venturing across the globe in search of interesting drinks and the people and stories behind them. From Italy to Hungary and even Tanzania, he meets locals and immerses himself in local activities while learning about the country’s indigenous drinks and its relationship with those drinks. Sometimes he even participates in the alcohol-making process.
Sounds like our kind of guy. So before we tune in tonight–Booze Traveler airs at 10pm ET–we got a hold of Jack and asked him a few questions. These are they.
As far as jobs go, “Booze Traveler” sounds pretty great. How’d you score that gig?
“Being an actor, I auditioned. They were crazy enough to give it to me. The only thing crazier than that would be for me to say no. Truth is, I’d been getting ready for it since I was a little kid working in the barrooms of Southie.”
What’s a little-known or underappreciated spirit we should all be drinking?
“I don’t know how many people know about camel milk vodka. It’s a lot better than it sounds. Trouble is, it’s a little hard to get.”
What countries that you’ve visited have the best overall drinking culture, in terms of breadth and quality of beer/wine/spirits?
“So many countries take great pride in their beers/wines and/or alcohols. Couldn’t really say. I judge a place by its people. All of the drinking cultures I’ve tried have been pretty great. I don’t know a single place that doesn’t take pride in making alcohol.”
Fair enough. So which country’s people are the most fun to drink with?
“I had a blast drinking with my distant relatives in Sicily. Greece knows how to put them down. The Massai warriors of Tanzania were fun to imbibe with. Hungarian Gypsies really, really know how to drink. And that’s just to name a few!”
Have you come face to face with a local alcohol that you simply cannot stomach?
“Not yet! I’ve been willing to try everything. Some things might have caught me off guard, but I’ve never said no. I get so caught up in the moment. I just wanted to absorb everything about the place, even literally.”
In your travels, what country or culture has had the most unique process of either making their local booze or consuming it?
“In Lithuania, they make some of the strongest stuff I’ve ever had–you can’t even fly with it on the plane. It’s called Zalgiris and 150 proof. The Massai warriors like to mix cow’s blood with their drinks–that’s pretty unique, wouldn’t you say? Every place I’ve been has made moonshine… all very unique.”
Any tried-and-true hangover cures?
“I’ve had a bunch. Oxtail soup in Belize. Boiled bull’s penis in Sicily (true story). Sheep’s brain in Mongolia. The list goes on!”
What place would you most like to visit that you haven’t already visited?
“Ireland. It just feels like such a place full of poets and writers and artists. I know they’re a long suffering people, but they’ve got great soul. I’d love to toss a few back with them and hear some stories.”