Drinking Alcohol is popular in Vietnam and is considered to be a part of their drinking culture. Most of the time, Vietnamese drink alcohol drinks on special occasions but they also love to drink alcohol anytime even if there is no occasion to celebrate.
In Vietnam, drinking alcohol is a way to socialize not only with friends and family but to mingle, socialize and get to know strangers as well. The Vietnamese loves drinking alcohol that they even have a name for it which is called “Nhau”, that simply means drinking in groups. Vietnamese people are very friendly that they just love to have a drink with strangers, most especially tourists.
There are different types of alcohol drinks in Vietnam, in this post let us talk about the different Vietnamese Alcoholic beverages. Read on below to know more.
Different Vietnamese Alcohol drinks
A Vietnamese rice wine made with fermented rice, spring water and yeast. Herbs and spices are usually incorporated into the rice wine.
Fruits and animals are also liquified and are then added into the wine and it is believed to provide medicinal health. Traditionally, Kim som is fermented using a large jar. The jar is then covered with banana leaves.
Nowadays, Kim Som wine is now available and accessible in bottles. It is recommended to serve Kim Som wine chilled.
Another traditional Vietnamese rice wine made by the Dao ethnic group, natives of the province of Lang Son which is about 800-1000 meters above sea level. The recipe Mau Son has been passed on generations to generations.
The main ingredients in making Mau Son wine are cooked rice, spring water and yeast that is made using almost 30 different herbs and plants. Mau Son Wine tastes well and smells wonderful.
Fermentation process usually takes weeks before it can be distilled, this is due to the cold weather being a thousand meters higher above sea level. The longer the fermentation, the better Mau Son wine is.
A Vietnamese alcoholic drinks that originates from Phú Quốc, an island off the coast of Cambodia. Rượu sim is a traditional liquor made using rose myrtle berries, sugar, and rice wine.
Rose myrtle berries or Rhodomyrtus tomentosa grows and are seen in the mountainous regions of Phú Quốc. The berries are harvested usually during spring time.
The alcoholic drink is produced by either fermenting the berries and sugar, and or fermenting steeping berries and sugar in rice wine, both process takes several months. The longer the fermentation process is, the better the liquor will be.
There are different varieties of and style for this type of alcohol drink that differs depending on the alcohol content. Nowadays, Rượu sim is now commercially produced and are readily available and accessible in the market.
Rượu Táo Mèo
Another Vietnamese alcohol drink that is associated with the natives of Sapa and H’mong Ethnic group.
It is made using wild apples or Docynia Indica, water and rice wine. Traditionally, the wild apples are harvested, it is then soaked and fermented in water. After which, it is then soaked in rice wine. This process usually takes place for several months before the alcohol drink can be served. If wild apples are not accessible, you can opt to use sliced and dried apples instead.
An amber colored alcohol drink with sweet flavor. Its aroma resembles that of caramel and apples.
Bottled versions are now available and are readily accessible in the market to date.
Nếp cẩm (Sticky Rice Wine)
Another Vietnamese wine from fermented rice wine. Rượu nếp cẩm is made using black rice that gives it that deep purple color.
Traditionally, the rice is cooked and then soaked. After that, it is then combined with the yeast then the fermentation process begins.
This type of alcohol drink is now available in the market for commercial use, however it can still be made at the comfort of home.
Rượu ngô or also known as Vietnamese corn wine, is another alcohol drinks in Vietnam. Distilled using different variations of local corn. Traditionally prepared and made by natives of the northern provinces in the mountains ethnic groups such as Hmong and Dao.
In making this wine, the corn kernels are fermented using spring water and yeast. The yeast is made using different kinds of herbs and plants then the fermentation process begins. The fermented mixture are then distilled and left to age. The longer the aging process is, the better the corn wine turns out to be. Although the output varies with the kinds of yeast used, the ingredients added and the techniques.
Rượu ngô produces a combination of sweet, yet a little spicy flavor. Most of the time, these are available in the local market but commercial bottled brands of this type of alcohol drinks is now be purchased.
Rượu cần is another Vietnamese alcohol drink that is made using glutinous rice. Although a plain rice, millet or cassava can be used as a substitute.
This type of Vietnamese rice wine is not distilled, as compared to other alcohol varieties. Also, fermentation process usually takes place after the rice is mixed with herbs, spices and the roots. And fermentation takes weeks to complete.
Traditionally, large pots are used and is then covered with banana leaves during special occasion. This alcoholic drink is usually used during ceremonies and festivities in Vietnam. Wherein the large pot is placed on the center then served straight and the alcohol drink is sipped with the use of long bamboo straws.
The product produced after fermentation may vary. The flavor of the wine varies depending on different factors such as the herbs and spices used and the technique used to ferment.
Unlike the rest of the alcoholic varieties mentioned, Rượu cần wine is mostly available in the rural areas in Vietnam.
Rượu thuốc is a Vietnamese rice wine. It is known to provide medicinal benefits and are used mostly in different ailments and illnesses.
The alcoholic drink is made using different variations of ingredients such as herbs, plants, and often using different animals such as snakes (snake wine or snake whiskey), geckos, frogs and sometimes scorpions. It is then infused in distilled rice wine for days. The longer the aging process, the better rice wine will be.
Although the wine only constitute for only one animal or a plant, however, a combination of different species is possible. Different varieties of ingredients are also used such as starfish, seahorses and often animal organs are added to the mixture.
With it unique features, this type of wine is commercially found n souvenir shops for tourists to try.
Rượu is another Vietnamese rice wine. Known for under different names, but is best known for as Rượu, which means other alcoholic drinks.
It has two main types: Rượu gạo (Rượu đế) and Rượu cần. The difference between the two varieties is that Rượu Gạo is a distilled rice wine infused with fruits, on the other hand, Rượu cần is a type of Rượu drink is fermented and then made using pots. Often times, it is also infused with herbs.
Another variety is Rượu thuốc, which is a distilled rice wine that is used mostly because of its medicinal properties. It is usually infused with different herbs, plants and animals.
Other Vietnamese Alcohol Brands
Saigon beer is considered to be one of Vietnam’s famous alcoholic beverages. . It a Pilsner-type Saigon lager brewed in Saigon.
Saigon beer has two available varieties: Red and Green. The differences between the two Saigon beer is that red is more stronger with 4.9% alcohol content whereas green label with only 4.3%.
Also known as Ba Ba Ba, is another type of alcohol drink. Although the beer is cheap and affordable, you will not be disappointed with its taste and flavor. Its red and white label can be enticing on sweltering hot day
Perhaps the cheapest wine you can find in Vietnam. Dalat grapes are used to make Vang Dalat wine and are usually found in the regions of Dalat. Dalat grapes usually have a bitter taste giving this local beers that unique taste and flavor that you surely will not forget.
Another Pale lager alcohol drink in Vietnam that can be found in Central Vietnam, locally made and the favorites of locals in Vietnam.
Bia Ha Noi (Draught Beer)
Bia Ha Noi or Bia Hoi Another local draught beer of Vietnam, popular mostly in the northern areas. Similar to Saigon beer and Huda, it a pale lager , a very pale to golden colored lager beer that locals in Vietnam love to drink.