It is said the English word alcohol originally comes from the two Arabic words, ‘Al Cohol’. In addition, the words carafe, cork, and jar also originate from Arabic.

I think most people will know alcohol is a banned substance in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Sharjah (one of the seven states of the UAE). However, I'm not sure everyone will know the rest of the GCC countries (Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the UAE) allow the sale of alcohol in specially designated 'booze shops' (as long as you're a non-Muslim expatriate) and/or restaurants.

In the UAE a permit is given to expatriates and states the ammount of alchol which can be bought in a month. You can not go over this ~pretty generous~ limit. In Bahrain alcohol can be bought in any ammounts, as long as you're a non-muslim, whilst in Qatar and Oman alcohol is available in restaurants located within a hotel.

Booze Shops

The advertising of alcohol in any form is banned throughout the entire GCC which means no images, or explanations on the windows of the booze shops. If you do want to buy alcohol you'll need to be shown the shop location by someone who already knows where it is.

I can't imagine anyone would pass a Gulf booze shop and understand what it was if they'd never seen one before. In many cases you simply can not drive by, the shop is located in a cu-de-sac and you need to park your car and walk.

Alcohol in Saudi

In Saudi Arabia and Kuwait the tipple of choice is Johnny Walker (US$ 110/bottle) or a local colourless liquid, often inhabiting the cupboard under the sink, called Sadeeq' [saa-deek] or to translate, 'my friend'.

Qura'nic Quotes

For Muslims alcohol and alcohol derivatives (e.g. gripe water and rubbing alcohol. Items such as deodorants and grapes for the more austere) are not used/consumed because of the following verses in the Koran:

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