It has been said that two of the Finns’ favorite past times are drinking and complaining about how much it costs to drink in Finland.

I’m starting to understand their sentiment.

It really is expensive to drink here. We are talking, on average, about 8€ per beer, 10€ per cocktail, with wine being the cheapest, coming in around 7€. That’s between $10-13 per drink. Salt Lake City prices, people.

Apparently, Finland experienced a prohibition period which, much like the USA’s similar time period, only created a thriving and lucrative black economy. It seems that we share a national past time of bootlegging. I like these people more and more.

So anyway, now the distribution of booze is strictly controlled by the states making it painfully expensive to drink the frost bite away.  Fortunately, Estonia is just a 2.5 hour ferry ride away and they are less stingy with the hooch. I am seeing some booze cruises in our future.

Jimmy and I went out on Saturday night and were astounded by the lively pockets of night life. We had a few drinks here and there and kept coming across these “Finnish Long Drinks” but were a little nervous about ordering one. Well yesterday, while Jimmy was working, I opted for a liquid lunch atop a darling little barge on the bay. In the interest of my wallet, I opted for the cheapest drink: A traditional long drink. I asked the lady what it was: Its Finnish and grape flavored.

Er…ok, Ill have one of those.

And I must say, I approve. For being a mere 6€ it was a tasty beverage. It is basically a gin-based wine cooler that is sweet, but not sugary. And its cold and goes down pretty quick. 5.5% alcohol, and it comes in grape (traditionally) and also lime or cranberry.
I can officially recommend it if you are looking to drink as cheaply as possible through Helsinki.

With the Russian Orthodox Church behind me, frosty beverage in hand
The darling little barge.
It is a total joke, though, because you have to make it down this steep ramp after boozing in the sun. Not funny, guys.

On the reverse side, Jimmy and I had some nifty cocktails in a hilarious Frida Kahlo themed bar while waiting for an apartment viewing. Note, there were swings instead of seats at the bar. It was in the Punavori district, which we found to be quite….eccentric in the evenings. Think: a very mild San Fran Castro.
Jimmy had a house margarita -which I would recommend to any salty margarita lover- and I had a chili mojito- which got a little hotter with each sip. Check it out:

The moral of the story is that drinking through Helsinki is going to be quite the adventure. But I think we will be visiting Estonia soon….


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