The World in Liquor

Singani – Bolivia

Singani is a type of grape brandy that’s only manufactured in the high valleys of Bolivia. It’s been a revered national product since it first started being produced in the 16th century by monks who came to Bolivia from Spain. Grapes that are grown for singani must come from plants that are grown between 5,250 and 9,200 feet above sea level. One popular drink that features singani is called sucumbé—it’s made with hot singani mulled with spices added to hot milk.

Sombai – Cambodia

The people of Siem Reap, Cambodia, are extremely proud of their local liquor. Sombai is available in several different flavors, although the base of rice wine is the same for each variety. Some popular flavors include anise-coffee, banana-cinnamon, and mango-green chili. If you’re interested in learning about this local product, the manufacturer has an open house and tasting workshop in the heart of the city where you can pick up products and learn about the distillation process.  Authentic sombai is labeled using a scrap of traditional krama cloth.

Akpeteshie – Ghana

If you’re new to Ghana, it may be difficult to find your first bottle of akpeteshie. It’s not advertised widely in the cities, and the best way to get a taste of it is in a bar, or if you can find a wholesaler who will fill a bottle that you bring in. Akpeteshie is not professionally produced, and instead, bars rely on a home network of distillers to meet their consumer’s needs. Made of distilled palm wine, its usually between 40-50 percent alcohol by volume (ABV) and makes the drinker feel like they’ve been knocked out.

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Mini Guide to Indonesia

Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world with just over 17,000 islands. It has a population of roughly 261 million people, though over half lives on the island of Java. The nation has a long trading history with other Asian countries and has also been invaded by the Dutch and English Empires. Indonesia is therefore a melting pot of cultures with the largest Muslim population in the world, but also with strong influences from Hinduism and Buddhism, particularly in Bali. It’s also a nature lover’s paradise, with plenty of fauna, volcanoes, beaches, and diving sites.

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