The different regions of Thailand each have their own unique cuisines. Thailand’s signature beverages can accompany virtually any Thai meal, and you’ll find the drinks of the country to be just as delicious as the meals.
A number of tropical fruits prevalent in Thailand are used to create a variety of fruit juices, freezes and shakes. Banana, guava, papaya, orange, pineapple, grape, watermelon and mango are just a few drink flavors you’ll find on a Thai drink menu, and are sometimes combined with various Thai liquors to make cocktails.
Thai tea is a popular beverage you’ll find in many Thai restaurants. It can be served on ice or hot, and is made from black tea with a variety of added ingredients, including coconut or condensed milk, star anise and crushed tamarind seeds. Lime Thai tea is flavored with lime and sugar, and dark Thai tea is prepared without any milk.
Imported beers from places like Europe and North America have become popular in Thailand, but domestic Thai beer manages to maintain a degree of popularity within Thailand’s borders. The most common Thai beer is lager, with an average alcohol content between 5 and 6 percent. Beer is often served in a glass with ice in Thailand, and the two most popular beer brands in Thailand are Singha and Chang, both of which are exported to various other nations.
Thai whisky is a general term applied to several types of Thai liquor. Mae Khong and Saeng Som are often labeled as whisky, but are actually brewed from sugarcane and are technically rums. Rice whisky, or lao khao, is distilled from rice and often made at home, like moonshine. Herbs are sometimes added for flavor and medicinal purposes, resulting in a rice whisky drink called ya dong.
Thai rice wine, sato, is brewed from glutinous rice, is similar to Japanese sake and has an average alcohol content of around 8 percent. In Isan, the province where Thai rice wine originated, sato is normally served at room temperature and in a communal bowl from which you fill your glass. Sato that is brewed in earthenware jars or jugs is referred to as lao hai, and is often consumed through a straw.
The westernization of Thai cooking has somewhat altered the composition and spicing of Thai meals in order to appeal to western tastes, but many Thai beverages remain true to their origins.