During times of austerity, when we have to make cut backs in our personal lives and start to think about saving for a secure future - there is always one expense that people will find the coins to afford: Alcohol. No matter how much governments raise the costs, people are always still willing to pay the price.
Revellers, boozers, social-drinkers, bar-hoppers and pub crawlers; they all enjoy throwing back the drinks and holding on to the good times. There's nothing wrong with having fun and being social so long as everything is done in moderation. Doctors recommend only 3-4 units of alcohol should be consumed daily, which is the equivalent to one and a half light beers. Not that the following countries are paying attention as they consume on average at least 500 pints of light beer or 350 glasses of wine annually.
There are so many stereotypes when it comes to assuming how much other countries drink; those include that the English are permanently drunk when on holiday, the Russians drink vodka with their breakfast, the Germans dress in lederhosen when they drink beer and the Irish are always face down in a puddle at the end of the night. Surprisingly enough, half of these countries didn't even make it into the top five biggest drinkers in the world.
It's not a competition; but if it was, then these 12 countries would be the overall winners. Each of their alcohol consumption is measured in equivalent litres of pure ethanol consumed per capita per year, and if you enjoy a good party you might want to be visiting one of these hot spots quite soon.
There's no denying that Slovenian women are known to be some of the most beautiful in the world; they can hold their drink too. In the capital, Ljubljana, the average person consumes 10.6 litres of pure alcohol each year. America is slightly behind consuming 8.6 litres in comparison.
The main two Slovene beer brands are Laško and Union. A large (0.5L) beer costs usually $2.15 so there is always plenty of change left over even after you've had a dozen.
The world’s oldest vine, at 400 years old, is in Maribor. We aren't too sure how great wine will taste after it has taken four centuries to produce, but there will be someone with enough money to find out one day.
Beer has been part of the Danish culture for 5000 years, the country is home to more than 100 breweries with Carlsberg and Tuborg being amongst the most famous of them all. In Copenhagen 10.6 litres of pure alcohol is consumed by locals each year.
Danes usually start trying beer for the first time around the age of 15 and The World Health Association (WHO) reports that 45% of Danes prefer beer to any other drink.
This is one country that is always up for a party but as a large beer in a bar costs around $7 it's cheaper to gather in someone's house, as bottles from the supermarket only cost $1 each. No wonder everyone is always so friendly.
There are 22 wine regions in Hungary; who would ever have known it was such a good country to visit a vineyard. A large glass of wine in a bar costs around $2.
Budapest residents typically consume 10.8 litres of pure alcohol each year. If you're a tourist and want to drink yourself silly too, then bring your best moves with you as Hungarians are known to love hitting the dance floor.
There is one thing Budapest can also be praised on and that's the unique, stylish designs they use in every bar. No wonder they are barely at home when everywhere looks this cool.
Belgium is bordered by four countries - Netherlands, France, Germany and Luxembourg so there is always plenty of importing and exporting of fine beers.
Surprisingly Belgium is the 13th most important exporting nation in the world, which is quite an achievement for a country with less than 0.2% of the world's population.
A typical resident in Brussels will consume 10.8 litres of pure alcohol a year. A large beer can however set you back $8, so if you do want to keep up with the local culture make sure you're bringing plenty of cash.
Madrid has more cloudless days than any other city in Europe at 250 days per year, the perfect excuse to always have a cold drink close by. The stunning city is also known to consume a sweltering 11.4 litres of pure alcohol a year.
If you've had a bit too much to drink in the morning, there's usually a siesta between 1pm-5pm so you can head back indoors and get your head down if needed.
A beer in the capital costs usually around $2.60 and wine $4.20, but the classier joints in town will charge triple the standard price if you really want to start showing off.
The Portuguese consume just as much pure alcohol a year as their Spanish neighbours - an average of 11.4 litres per resident. A large beer typically costs around $3.50.
An interesting fact about the countries capital, Lisbon, is they were the first city to have bought Guinness from the United Kingdom. With the rate the locals get through alcohol it's no surprise they had to import to keep the shelves stocked up.
If you wish to have a break from drowning yourself in booze and fancy a cultural day, then you can visit ‘Livraria Simão’ which is the world's smallest book shop at only 3.8 squared metres. The shop is so tiny that when you walk in, the shop owner has to leave.
6 Czech Republic
If you have heard the rumour that in Prague the beer is cheaper than water; you heard right. The capital consumes an average of 11.5 litres of pure alcohol per resident, each year. So if you ever visit this picturesque location - be sure to do as the locals do.
The trick is to head to bars which aren't a tourist trap. If you keep just off the beaten path the price of beer drops from a typical $2 to $1.25 (and that's for a large). There is even a John Lennon pub which will serenade you with endless classics whilst you drink the day away.
With the average Dubliner consuming 11.6 litres of pure alcohol a year, Ireland has secured itself a place in the top five on this list. There are many who would assume this to be a lot higher as the country is well-known for throwing back the Guinness.
If you want to get drunk in Dublin then it's no cheap event. A typical large beer costs around $6, but the friendly atmosphere and happy-go-lucky feel to the place makes it all worth it.
Guinness is actually considered low-calorie alcohol at just 198kcal per pint. The Guinness World Record book was first produced in 1954 to help settle pub disputes; it was so popular a second edition was created and the rest was history.
11.7 litres of pure alcohol is consumed by those who live in Munich each year; it would be no surprise if this was all during Oktoberfest - the city's most famous festival. Six million visitors attend the event over it's 16 days and there's always plenty of booze flowing.
The festival has now been running for over 204 years. 1.8 million gallons of beer are consumed by festival-goers each year, the main tent can hold up to 12,000 people (and yes it does get full), around 4,000 lost property items are recorded each year and a large beer costs $13.
Kindly enough there are 15 beds available at the 'hangover hospital' in case you have consumed a bit too much trying to keep up with the German's and need to sleep it off for awhile.
Tallinn, Estonia's capital, is known as one of the most romantic cities in Europe and was also voted 'City of Culture' many times. The residents of this tranquil location were also voted some of the heaviest drinkers in the world, as they each consume an average of 12.0 litres of pure alcohol per year.
A tipple in a local bar isn't too expensive, just $5 for a beer and $3 for a vodka shot. The trick to drinking here is to head to Old Town, as Helsinki is just a two-hour ferry journey away it attracts a lot of day-trippers and so there are plenty of discount, take-away liqueur stores around this area all trading at low prices. You can thank us later.
Austrian's in Vienna are known to consume an average of 12.2 litres of pure alcohol individually each a year. This extremely high statistic is probably due to the consumption of Stroh rum, which is a favourite in the capital but also has a deadly 80% abv.
Vienna is often referred to as the 'city of dreams' or the 'city of music'. It is also the only capital city known to make it's own wine; vineyards in the spring produce incredible quality wine for locals and tourists who want to get a taste.
A perfect day in Vienna always ends with a large glass of wine. Local prices range from $5 up to $12.
Paris is the highest alcohol consuming capital in the world, with the average person ploughing through 12.6 litres of the stuff each year. Wine is not a low-in-alcohol beverage and they do like a glass or five, which soon adds up to a shocking annual intake.
Why is wine the favourite tipple? Well in comparison to beer - it's dirt cheap. A large beer will set you back $8 whereas a whole bottle of wine can cost just the same. You don't have to be a mathematician to work out which you should be ordering at the bar.
In 2013 it was reported by the International Journal of Entrepreneurship that 17% of Paris locals were drinking wine every day and 45% drank wine at least twice a week. For the French, it's just a way of life.