Drinking Shiraz in Shiraz
I’ve had a hamburger in Hamburg, a frankfurter in Frankfurt, bought a tie in Thailand, eaten a danish in Copenhagen, had a Subway on the NYC metro, and gone hungry in Wales.
I’ve drunk Scotch in Scotland and bourbon on Bourbon Street. Eaten fries in Freiburg.
Nearly had some gummi worms in Worms, too, but the supermarket didn’t carry that exact product. Next time.
In a few days time, I’ll be in Shiraz, which happens to be the sixth largest city in Iran, one with a four thousand year plus history, and an extraordinary history of wine-making. I’d dearly love to drink some Shiraz wine in Shiraz city.
The chance of handcuffs
One problem. Alcohol is forbidden in Iran, except for the altar wine of specific Christian sects. The religious police can be very strict on wine, beer, spirits and anything containing alcohol.
On my last trip to Iran, one of the tour group was detected with a bottle of wine and a bottle of whiskey in his luggage when we passed through security at the old Tehran airport. He was led away in handcuffs and copped a serious fine before being released.
I’ve been thinking of ways to smuggle a bottle in. We’ll be flying out of the same airport down to Shiraz, and I’ve racked my brains to think of ways of concealing a bottle against the x-ray machine at security.
Maybe I could hide a small amount in an aftershave container or something. Not sure about whether it would be worth drinking, and who has red aftershave, anyway?
I’ve had a beer in Iran. Zero-alcohol beer. Local brands include peach beer, pineapple beer, fermented hop drinks and so on, all with “0.0% alcohol” prominent on the label. Some of them are pretty good. Maybe I could find some non-alcoholic Shiraz…
As it happened, I could. The local supermarket had a range of wine varieties in alcohol-free editions. I don’t know how good this will be – online reviews were not high in their praise – but I can say that I’ve done the thing.
I’ve got a couple of bottles and some heavy-duty bubble wrap containers, and we’ll see how I go. I know that bags are not searched going into Iran, but luggage is scanned for internal flights, and I’ll check with the local tour guide.
There’ll be two dozen of us on the tour. Assuming I can get both bottles in, that will be a small half glass each. Stay tuned for progress and photographs of us drinking Shiraz in Shiraz!
Oh, and say hello to Misty, who was determined to be involved in my tabletop photo shoot.