7 Virtual Drinking Games from Around the World

Cheers! Prost. Slainte. Bottoms Up. Don’t let the pandemic put an end to your social drinking activities. Take them virtual instead!

Before the coronavirus turned the world upside down, drinking games livened up parties all over the world. Thankfully, platforms like Zoom aren’t all business—although what you might not know is that they’re also a great way to connect with your buddies and play virtual drinking games from around the world.

A virtual happy hour is a fun way to spend time online with family and friends when everyone has their favorite beverage and there’s a lot of catching up going on. It’s even better when you take things up a notch with one of these 7 international virtual drinking games.

1. Frequent Toasts–Sweden

Ok, first things first, a toasting tradition from Scandinavia isn’t a game as such, but it is fun. Helene Henderson explains the skål (pronounced something like ‘skoll’) tradition in her book, the Swedish Table. The word’s closest English equivalents are ‘cheers!’ and ‘good health’, and it’s heard frequently at social gatherings and parties.

According to Henderson, anyone at the table can say, “Skål!” whenever they feel like it, and when they do, everyone raises their glass and takes a sip, making eye contact before and after doing so. It’s not surprising to hear the toast every other minute.

2. Never Have I Ever–US/Canada

Feigned surprise, real shock, and laughing until you cry are the order of the day when you play Never Have I Ever. It’s a popular drinking game in the United States, Canada, and elsewhere, so you may even have played it yourself sometime. There’s no special equipment needed, and the rules are simple.

Everyone needs a beverage to play the game. The person who starts states something they haven’t ever done. Anyone who has done that thing takes a sip of their drink. The order of play can happen randomly, that is, anyone who feels like saying something can, or the person who says something can nominate someone else.

3. It’s Karaoke Night–Japan

Karaoke has been part of contemporary Japanese culture since Daisuke Inoue unveiled the first karaoke machine in the 1970s. Friends, family, and colleagues love getting together and singing along to pop, rock, country, and other songs.

Not so much a game as a fun activity that you can do together while enjoying a couple of drinks, karaoke can be a fantastic addition to your virtual happy hour. One of the simplest ways to do it is to use a Zoom video call and Watch2Gether and then let people search for karaoke or lyrics videos on YouTube. With those tools, you’ll all be able to watch the person singing as well as the video to which they’re singing along.

If you want to amp up the vibes, choose an online karaoke machine. There are plenty available, and some of them even have hosts.

4. Install a Toastmaster–Georgia

Writing about the Georgian approach to socializing in the Georgian Feast, Darra Goldstein explained that the tamada, or toastmaster, is an integral part of the occasion. In the Eastern European country, which is the birthplace of winemaking, every occasion should affirm life. It’s the tamada’s role to ensure that happens. 

The tamada does this by making humorous, entertaining, witty, and heartfelt toasts during the get-together, and by encouraging others to make toasts as well. Of course, everyone responds to the toasts by raising their glasses and taking a sip of wine. Goldstein also explained that the role of the tamada is important, as they’re responsible for setting the pace for the evening—and if it looks like people are going to get drunk, they need to slow things down.

There are two ways you can approach appointing a toastmaster for your virtual happy hour. The first is to approach someone (or ask for a volunteer) a few days in advance, so they have time to prepare a few toasts. The second is to spring it on some unsuspecting soul at the start of the online get-together.

5. Virtual Challenge Cards–Amsterdam

We don’t doubt that virtual challenge cards existed in one form or another before crowdfunding helped the Amsterdam-based team make Drink Drank Drunk a reality. The drinking game, which you can play online, gives players chances to select various types of cards. 

Some instruct the player to perform an action before drinking, while others are Wild cards, offer weaknesses or superpowers, or to set additional rules that will keep the laughs going. Video calling means you’ll all get to see each other completing the tasks on the cards.

You can play the game online at no cost, or you can purchase a Super Host account, which may come in handy if you intend to make the game a regular feature of your virtual happy hours.

6. Most Likely To–Various Countries

Most Likely To is a drinking game that’s played in various countries. It also doesn’t require special equipment or props, but in the spirit of playing virtually you can always order your drinks online in advance. If it’s a special occasion, you can have premium quality beer, wine, or even spirits shipped to the other participants too.

To play the game, each person needs a beverage. The person to start proposes a situation, such as “Most likely to set off a stink bomb at a wedding,” before everyone reveals who they think would be the person to do it. The person who receives the most nominations must take a sip of his or her drink before proposing a different situation.

7. Play a Numbers Game–Iceland

For a drinking game with a difference, look to Iceland for inspiration. Ingibjorg Fridriksdottir described a game called Búmm (pronounced ‘boom’) to the Washington Post, and it’s all about counting. Before playing it on Zoom, it helps to establish the calling order, which is the order in which players answer and/or drink. 

To play it, the first player starts by saying “One,” and the second person in the order says, “Two,” and so on. Whenever someone gets to seven or a number that’s divisible by seven, they need to say “Búmm” instead of the number. If they say the number or they hesitate, they need to have a sip of their drink. When that happens, the order of play reverses until the next person says “Búmm.”

These 7 virtual drinking games from around the world will make your “new normal” happy hours memorable ones. Give them a try. Who knows, they may inspire you to create a game of your own?