Guest post: In praise of the Bambalis

Hello everyone, I am Zoe’s flatmate Agne and I am going to tell you about BAMBALIS.

A bambalis. Meeting the most important criteria: cheap (2,79 leva) and big (2 litres)

What’s that?

If you have ever been to Eastern Europe, you have probably seen massive plastic bottles full of beer being sold in local supermarkets and kiosks. Generally they contain 2 litres or more (the more the better).

In Lithuania, where I come from, we call such a bottle BAMBALIS (plural ‘bambaliai’), pronounced ‘bum-bah-lis’, stress on the ‘bum’. Not every bottle deserves to be called BAMBALIS. The main criteria are:

  • Big. At least 1,5 litre capacity, preferably more;
  • Made of plastic and looking cheap. Usually brown or green;
  • Filled with beer (you cannot call a big water bottle a BAMBALIS);
  • It costs little and therefore is loved by people who want to get drunk fast, or by those who like cheerful company. We are not talking about good taste here. BAMBALIS is the gourmet’s nightmare.

In Lithuania the BAMBALIS is loved by village men who sometimes have drinking competitions (several years ago there was the infamous competition during which the winner died from an overdose – although rumour says they were drinking moonshine rather than BAMBALIS). It is a must-have for lakeside sauna-and-barbecue parties, immensely popular during the summer months in Lithuania. It is loved by unpretentious students, fishermen, hunters and mushroom pickers who just like to have a cheerful drink with their friends, typically away from their wives and/or girlfriends.

So, when I arrived in Sofia after spending the last five years in the UK, I was pleased to see the Bulgarian versions of BAMBALIS that remind me so much of my dear homeland.

Spread the word

Here’s one we tried earlier

You won’t find this word in a Lithuanian dictionary but it is widely used. Not just in Lithuania – my English flatmates in Sofia love it; the Bulgarians to whom I describe the term love it; even one of Zoe’s foreign colleagues is now using the word. I am surprised that in Bulgaria there is no term for a big cheap plastic bottle of beer. Here, dear Bulgarians, it is written for you in Cyrilic: бамбалис. Take it and use it. Let’s spread the word.

Bring Your Own Bambalis

To celebrate the BAMBALIS, Zoe and I are planning to throw a Bring Your Own Bambalis party at the wooden outdoor tables close to the bus stop next to our flat in Ovcha Kupel, Sofia. Everyone who happens to be in Sofia is welcome. People with moustaches and mutton chops particularly so. See you there, and don’t forget to grab a BAMBALIS.


About sozofia
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3 Responses to Guest post: In praise of the Bambalis

  1. Orl says:

    It’s called Dvucevka (Двуцевка). It means double-barrel

  2. Orl says:

    Двуцевка can be used on агне ;)

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