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What to drink in Thailand?

Sweating and thirst are permanent friends whilst in the tropics. During the hot months of Thai summer from March to May it's easy to become dehydrated. The body needs replacement for the liquids that are lost. Don't forget to drink lots of water. Ice cold water is bad for the stomach, many doctors might say. Most probably they are right. But  what drink tastes nice when lukewarm? –
Ice cubes which look like large thimbles are safe to use.  Crushed ice which may have been processed on the street or on the kitchen floor may not be suitable for drinks. If you have doubts it is best not to use it.
Water (nam):
Tap water is supposed to be drinkable, but often the chlorine added makes it only suitable in emergency cases. That is the reason that specially filled drinking water (1 l for 6 Baht) should be ordered or preferably soda water (soda), 0,5 l for 15 Baht.
This list with prices for drinks we found in the Baan Moo Restaurant in Takua Pa, behind the BoKoSo market.
As everywhere in the world a drink in a simple restaurant costs less than at the swimming pool of a luxurious five star hotel.
Tea (cha):
For foreigners it will be mostly a bag of Lipton tea (cup of tea around 15 Baht). For tea prepared traditionally,  finely crushed tea leaves are put in the pot, hot water added and left to brew. In a true Chinese restaurant a pot of Chinese tea is put on the table before and after eating.
In coffee houses a variety of tea concoctions are offered, too, such as Green Tea, White Tea, Rose Tea, Saffron Tea, Lemon Tea, Aulong Tea and Dired Roselle.
Coffee (gafee):
Normally prepared in Thai restaurants as instant coffee (a cup of coffee for 25 Baht) – what would the world be without Nescafe? Veritable “coffee shops”, which serve fresh coffee and offering up to 20 different varieties, are especially found in big shopping centers. Each cup is single brewed in so-called glass coffee machines. That does not only look great, but it  tastes excellent. There are many choices such as “Blue Mountain”, “Brazil Special” or “Java Arabica” (a cup of coffee costs from 40 Baht).
In the Panpook Cafe in Damnoen Saduak there is a blackboard in the background describing how the 5 most popular coffee preparations of the Thais are brewed:
1. Espresso: Pure rich coffee that is ground shortly before brewing to keep it fresh
2. Caffe Mocha: Dark chocolate with a shot of espresso, mixed with steamed milk, and cocoa powder
3. Caffe Latte: One short of espresso with steamed milk that reaches almost to the top of the cup
4. Capuccino: A short of espresso, topped with creamed and hot milk, foamy milk
5. Americano: One shot of espresso and mixed with a cup of hot water
Milk (nom sot) and milk drinks:
Strict quality controls ensure that the products from various manufacturers, for example Foremost, are pasteurized and hygienically packed, and always delivered in good conditions.
Shakes (pun):
Ice cold milk shakes and fruit shakes – delicious fruity drinks with or without milk, ice cream or yogurt. These are available in tourist places (per glass about 30 Baht).

Soft drinks:
Beer (bia):
A relatively (and incomprehensibly) expensive drink in Thailand. The most famous beer and also for locals one of the most popular one is “singha” brand. (advertisement: “My country, my beer”). It tastes slightly bitter, yet it is a good beer. To quench one's thirst bia sing is best mixed with a lot of ice and a big shot of sprite.
Kloster Bier” as well as “Beck's” is brewed in Bangkok under German licence and supervision.
The green bottles enjoy an increasing popularity, especially among foreigners. “Carlsberg” and “Heineken” is sold in green bottles too; it is brewed and bottled in Thailand. A popular imported beer is “Guinness”.
(0,63 l bottle Beck's, Carlsberg and Heineken: 50 Baht, Singha: 46 Baht, Kloster 60 Baht, Guinness: 83 Baht).

Wine (wai): 
Red or white “Thai Wine” that is produced in Thailand is sweet as sugar water and tastes rather like liquor wine (a bottle of 0,625 l costs 78 Baht). “Masala – Royal Thai Wine” has recently arrived on the market and it is a delicious medium wine. There is rosé and white wine (bottle of 0,625 l costs 115 Baht). Besides these Thai wines larger supermarkets offering imported wines as well: French red wine, German white wine, sparkling wine and champagne. “Wine Cooler” appears to be very popular among female tourists. This sparkling drink made with wine and fruit juice (for example passion fruit) should be very cold when consumed (small bottle for 25 Baht).

All kind of strong drinks are simply called “whiskey” in Thailand, even though most of the locally manufactured drinks neither smell nor taste like whiskey. The spirits made of rice have a sharp and slightly sweet taste and not really enjoyable when drunk straight. However, mixed with coke or soda, a lot of ice and freshly pressed juice of a lemon, you can create a nice drink. “Mekhong Whiskey” (0,75 l for 125 Baht) contains 35 % alcohol and it is the most popular spirit in Thailand. Thai people like to drink their Mekhong during a meal and they dilute it with a lot of water, while foreigners who like strong drinks usually enjoy it for various occasions. Even after drinking a little bit too much, there normally aren't any problems the next morning.
 “Sangsom” is the only Thai rum and a good second choice similar priced with Mekhong (0,75 l for 210 Baht, contains 40 % alcohol). There are two brands of whiskey available and they taste like Scotch indeed: “Gold Whiskey” and “Singharaj” (0,75 l for 220 Baht). An absolutely excellent Thai spirit is “Regency Brand”, a mild slightly sweet brandy (0,75 l for 300 Baht).
When Thai people have a party or celebration they prefer imported drinks if possible. It is normal to bring the bottle bought in the supermarket to the restaurant and here they only order soft drinks and ice. Thai restaurant owners  tolerate this practice.
We warn you about a brand called “Hong Thong” (0,75 l for 90 Baht) and other whiskeys whose brand name starts with “Hong”. They smell and taste like Mehkong but you may have a real bad hangover the next day. That is why you have to be aware when you buy in a shop or you order in a restaurant a bottle Mekhong and that you only accept it with the bottle seal undamaged. Sometimes Hong Thong whiskey can be filled in Mekhong bottles for people who do not know the difference. By the way, this can happen with other drinks as well, that is why it is best to check the seal first.
A choice of Thai dishes is listed in the chapter “language”.
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