Buenos Aires preview

Argentina

Argentines are big wine drinkers. They do, after all, contribute the best Malbec in the world to wine lovers everywhere. Dinner is always served with wine, usually red, and usually Malbec. All stores, mercados, and even delis will have wine for sale. The best prices per bottle are typically found in the mercados, and a few popular and inexpensive labels are Norton, Trapiche, and San Julien (each in the range of $16-40 per bottle). All are locally produced in Argentina, and all are found at most restaurants as well, although the price per bottle increases about another $10 or so. Another item to note is that many local labels come in half bottles, which is a perfect option for the single diner.

Good hard liquor or spirits are more difficult to come by in Argentina. The brands that expats might be used to typically cost twice as much as the local brands, so the temptation to buy local rum or vodka is strong -- until you take a sip and discover they're nothing like what you expected. A recognizable brand of vodka might cost upwards of $60, whereas its Argentine counterpart will cost $25. Don't be fooled, though. Spend the extra money -- you won't regret it. The mercados also sell liquor, and there are no liquor-specific s…