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"Booze Traveler" is an original reality series that airs on Travel Channel.

While working in the bars of South Boston, host Jack Maxwell learned one thing — sit down with a stranger and a couple of drinks, and the whole world opens up.

Maxwell sets out across the globe to find the world's most interesting beverages and the people who drink them. Over the course of the season, viewers will follow Maxwell as he travels to various locations around the world including Armenia, Belize, Lithuania, Mongolia and Nepal. At each stop, he connects with locals, immerses himself in regional activities, learns about the country's unique relationship with liquor and sometimes even participates in the alcohol-making process.

Whether it's Tongba, the warm millet brew that powers Sherpas up and down the Himalayas, or the moss schnapps that may — or may not — be made by Iceland's mythical Hiddenfolk, Maxwell is on an exploration of a lifetime. In the premiere episode, he heads to Turkey to understand the country's long, colorful and complicated relationship with alcohol. With approximately 99 percent of its population Muslim, Turkey is deeply divided on alcohol — continuously swinging back and forth between tolerance and prohibition. The first stop on Maxwell's journey is the working-class neighborhood of Besiktas in Istanbul, where revolution is always on the minds of the young, soccer-loving, hard-drinking citizens. He's invited to a rebel group's tailgating party and asked by its leader to share a glass of raki, Turkey's national drink.After game night, Maxwell delights his taste buds with boza, a one-percent, alcohol-infused custard beverage, and then helps his new friends sell the boza throughout the neighborhood. The next day, he has dinner and raki with an elite group of Turkish authors and revolutionaries — absorbing a lesson in history and customs along with the alcohol.

In the neighborhood of Gayrettepe, Maxwell discovers the economic capital is also the hub for Turkish microbrews, where lawmakers are making it almost impossible for breweries to get basic supplies, advertise their alcohol or use social media. At the pub he visits, they use word-of-mouth recommendations and crafty promotions to challenge the government regulations. Over on the island of Bozcaada, rooted in both Turkish and Greek culture, Maxwell has the opportunity to pick grapes with the owner at a local winery and discuss the contradictions of religion, government, and culture of alcohol in Turkey. He then meets up with the women who make poppy cocktails, and joins in their harvest labor. In a country least-expected to be filled with booze culture, Maxwell finds that every glass comes with a very big twist.

Season 2

In the season premiere, Maxwell steps back into ancient history as he explores Greece, a nation that's using its traditions to help navigate itself through an uncertain time. He begins in the remote mountain town of Asi Gonia on the island of Crete, where nearly 30,000 sheep are herded to be blessed during the Festival of Saint George. While there, Maxwell samples homemade tsipouro, a traditional refreshment of distilled pomace liquor flavored by anise, and retsina, a local white wine flavored with pine sap dating back 2000 years ago. Next stop, the coastal town of Malia, where he crashes an ouzo-fueled bachelor party and partakes in the traditional custom of smashing plates, drinks rakomelo (raki and honey) with the bride and her parents and witnesses the most intimate part of the wedding preparation — krevati, a bed-making ceremony to bring good luck and fertility to the new couple.

In the capital city of Athens, Maxwell visits a restaurant that revives ancient food, drink and tradition from 5th century BC — complete with Ancient Greek clothes, feet washing and a symposium. He enjoys enormelo (traditional honey wine and a close cousin of mead) and is given the honor of raising the ceremonial ram head mug and leading a toast. The following day, Maxwell becomes one of the first Americans to try yamas, a new drink made by three innovative Athenians that combines carbonation and the three classic Greek liquors — ouzo, tsipouro and mastika. He learns how these Greeks are trying to innovate the old traditions in order to keep moving forward amidst the economic crisis affecting the country. Maxwell's Greek exploration isn't complete without a visit to the crescent-shaped island of Chios where he discovers its local mastic trees, the producer of the pure mastic gum and mastika liqueur, and learns a new toast — "Pieto na misi piet," which means, "Drink it before it drinks you!"

"Booze Traveler" is produced by Karga Seven Pictures in association with White Reindeer Productions for Travel Channel. For Karga Seven/White Reindeer Poductions, the executive producers are Kelly McPherson, Sarah Wetherbee, Emre Sahin, Maria Bukhonina and Deborah Von Brod. For Travel Channel, the executive producer is Sean McKnight.


Network: Travel Channel
Genre: Reality
Runtime: 60 mins.
Premiere Date: November 24, 2014
Seasons: 2
Production Companies:
Karga Seven Pictures
White Reindeer Productions

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