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The recipe is based on Lipovitan of Japan and Bacchus-F of Korea, an earlier energy drink that had been introduced to Thailand from Japan. Krating Daeng sales soared across Asia in the 1970's and 1980's, truck drivers used to drink it to stay awake during the long late night drive. The working class image was boosted by sponsorship of Thai boxing matches, where the logo of two red bulls charging each other was often on display. While often translated as - Red Bull - the Thai name krating actually refers to the bull-like bovine gaur.

The Thai product was transformed into a global brand by Dietrich Mateschitz, a Austrian entrepreneur Mateschitz was international marketing director for Blendax, a German toothpaste company, when he visited Thailand in 1982 and discovered that Krating Daeng helped to cure his jet lag. He co-operated with T.C Pharmaceuticals, adapted the formula and composition to western tastes and launched Red Bull in 1987.

Whisky

The misnamed Thai whisky  (Lao)  refers to several distilled rice liquors, the best known being the infamous Mae Khong –Mekong -  brand and its competitor, the sweeter, vaguely  rum like Saeng Som - Sang Som. The only  resemblances to whisky  is  the brown colour and high alcohol content, and indeed many  people liken the smell to nail polish remover, but the taste is not quite as bad, especially when diluted with cola or tonic water. This is also by far the cheapest way to get blotto, as a pocket flask of the stuff (available in any convenience store or supermarket) costs only around 50 baht.

 

Drinks in Thailand, Thai Whisky

Out in the countryside many villages distil their own moonshine (Lao thuean), which is strictly speaking illegal, but nobody seems to mind very much. Especially when hill tribe trekking in the North you are likely to be invited to sample some, and it's polite to at least take a sip.

Sang Som is one of the largest selling spirits brands in Thailand today. Despite being known in Thailand as Thai Whisky -  it is actually rum.The premium quality Thai rum is distilled, aged and blended at the Sang Som Distillery in the Nakhon Pathom Province of Thailand. 1982 and 1983 saw Sang Som consecutively awarded with Gold Awards for taste in both Madrid and Dusseldorf. With these gold medals proudly displayed on each Sang Som label, the brand is now widely known among consumers as Sang Som Rianthong -  meaning Sang Som Gold Medal.

It can be enjoyed straight but also mixes well and is a common ingredient in many a cocktail. In fact, it is a great favourite in the Khaosan Road area of Bangkok where tourists combine Sang Som and a mixer in a small bucket with ice, complete with a straw for each drinker - a lovely way to share the taste of Sang Som!

Sang Som has a distinctly mellow flavour and aromatic nose. The liquid itself is produced from molasses with newly produced rum being mixed with rum that has been aged in charred oak barrels for 3-5 years. After that, the spirit is blended with a special concentrate of finely selected herbs and spices to give Sang Som its distinctive special taste and aroma.It is bottled 40% ABV.The complex  taste and fragrance of Sang Som result in a unique partnership with soft drinks and fresh juices, making it the classic ingredient to any cocktail or blended beverage.

Drinks in Thailand Page 1, a selection of drinks available
Drinks in Thailand Page3, Local Beers & Brews