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.
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.