When you think of Thai alcohol do you think of booze with snakes in it? Or do you have flashbacks of Hangover II – big on promise, but disappointing on consumption? Or perhaps you think of a beach paradise, albeit a rather blurry one?
In a video clip totally unsanctioned by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) independent digital media company BuzzFeed got a group of Americans together for a Thai alcohol taste testing session and recorded the results.
Dividing the eight people into teams of two, the hardy volunteers are led down a Thai alcohol discovery tour. First to tempt the American taste buds is a welcome cocktail named sabai sabi. Made using the Kingdom’s notorious Mekhong Whisky, it earns descriptions as varied as “christmassy”, “Powerade”, and “f**cking delicious”.
Descriptions of Singha beer from Thailand’s oldest brewery, Boon Rawd Brewery, were not so flattering, including “it smells like a garage after you’ve played beer pong in it for a while”; “freshman year of college”; and “beer pong beer”.
Next to undergo the scrutiny of American taste buds was a Siam Sunray cocktail… Thailand’s “signature cocktail”. Comprising vodka, coconut liqueur, and sugar syrup shaken with crushed small Thai chili pepper, young ginger, Kaffir lime leaf, and lemon grass, and then strained into a glass of crushed ice with soda water to fill, it’s here that the Americans, confronted by glasses garnished with slices of lemon, lemongrass tips, and a large green chili pepper are quickly propelled out of their comfort zone.
Descriptions such as “smells like a Vegas hotel”, “Spring break, Vegas”, and “a vacation-ass drink” precede copious amounts of coughing as the drink is consumed. From here on in it’s all downhill, particularly for those who had played with their chili pepper garnish, let alone one tester who decided to eat his. (ProTip: If you touch your eyes after handling chili peppers, rubbing your eyes with human hair is a traditional method of easing the pain used in parts of Southeast Asia).
Thailand’s second most popular beer, Chang, brewed by Thai Beverage (ThaiBev), fared little better than its market competitor, being described as like “popurri and pee”, a “minor Heineken, a Meineken”, and “nothing, because we haven’t made anything this bad”.
Up next was SangSom, a local Thai ‘rum’. Responsible for many lost weekends in its home country, the American tasters described it as “like nail polish remover”, with one taster saying he “didn’t have a tongue anymore”.
As to which of the five drinks the tasters thought was the best and what their thoughts were after trying Thai alcohol? For the answer to that question you’ll have to watch the video through to the end.
Since being uploaded to YouTube just over a month ago the video has garnered more than 11 million views, while on Facebook it has received more than 2,500 Likes and 321,000 views.
Video uploaded to YouTube by BuzzFeedVideo