Thailand is famous for its spicy food, energetic Bangkok nightlife, and picturesque beaches and villages. Millions of visitors flock to this Southeast Asian nation every year to soak up its unique culture and vibrant atmosphere. From Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Thailand has so much to wow visitors around every corner, including some sumptuous drinks ranging from the simple to the bizarre and everything in between.
Thai drinks are unique, drawing inspiration from various domestic and international influences to create alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to complement the country’s cuisine and culture. From world-class local lagers to a caffeinated drink that birthed a multinational energy drink giant, Thai drinks are as amazing as the country and a treat to savour on steamy tropical evenings.
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- Thailand Itinerary (2 weeks)
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- 20 Thailand Drinks To Try
- Thai Drinks
- Thai Liqueurs
- Thai Beer
- Thai Beverages and Non-Alcoholic Drinks
- Thai Cocktails
Known colloquially as “The Spirit of Thailand”, Mekhong is a distilled spirit made from 95% sugarcane and 5% rice.
Mekhong is Thailand’s first locally produced branded golden spirit. It has smooth flavours with distinct hints of chilli, vanilla, herbs and spices.
Mekhong rum whisky was first created in 1941 and has grown so much that the company even set up the Mekhong museum, where fans of the spirit could learn more about the drink’s history.
It’s impossible to miss out on trying some Mekhong while in Thailand, which is why it’s an excellent Thai drink to kick off our list.
Sato is a Thai rice wine made from glutinous rice/sticky rice, which originated in the country’s northeast in the Isan region, Thailand’s largest region.
Sato was initially mostly consumed at celebrations as a ceremonial drink, however, a surge in popularity has turned it into a drink widely consumed by the Thai general public on almost a daily amount.
Sato is made from a mixture of steamed rice, rice starch, herbs and spices, and yeast before being fermented for several weeks before being filtered and consumed.
Despite its popularity in Thailand, especially in the country’s north, Sato remains a liqueur produced on a small scale due to the drink’s short shelf life.
3- Sang Som
Sang Som is a distilled liqueur made from sugarcane or molasses that’s renowned for its unique and aromatic tastes of coffee, coconut, and soft sugar.
No one knows precisely what type of liqueur Sang Som is, with some calling it a rum while others insist it’s a whisky.
Regardless, this distilled liqueur goes through an ageing process of five years in charred oak barrels before being bottled and shipped, creating a smooth and sumptuous alcoholic drink that’s a Thai classic.
4- Lao Khao
Lao Khao is a colourless Thai liqueur spirit made from fermented rice that’s especially popular among Thailand’s rural inland among working-class citizens due to its low price and availability.
While the drink’s legal production in the regulated Thai alcohol market dates back to the 1950s, many suggest Lao Khao’s roots stretch much further back, with reports mentioning a drink similar to Lao khao dating back centuries.
Translated to English, Lao Khao means “white spirit”, which is a bit misleading given that the drink is, in fact, completely clear.
Nevertheless, this strong spirit with an alcohol by volume of about 30% is one of Thailand’s most popular alcoholic drinks and a great pairing with a spicy Thai meal or a salty snack.
Chang beer first appeared in Thailand around the mid-1990s as a direct competitor to the more established Singha beer.
Since then, Chang beer has risen tremendously in popularity throughout Thailand and other Asian nations, becoming the best-selling beer in Thailand just five years after it was first introduced.
This Thai beer is a lager beer with a distinct amber colour that comes in various styles to cater to the tastes of different international markets.
The original Chang beer is the Chang Classic, a traditional lager beer made from hops, malt, rice and yeast with an alcohol volume of about 6.4%.
Chang beer remains one of Thailand’s most popular beverages and is well worth trying out the next time you’re in Thailand.
Singha beer was Thailand’s first domestically-produced beer when it was first established back in 1933 by the Boon Rawd Brewery.
Singha beer isn’t just a popular beverage in Thailand, with Singha beer being exported to over 50 countries globally.
Brewed with pure barley malt, three different varieties of imported European hops and artesian water, the amber-coloured Singha beer has a unique and refreshing taste that’s easy to fall in love with.
One of Thailand’s flagship alcoholic beverages and the main competitor of other Thai-based beer, Chang, enjoying an ice cold Singha beer is a fantastic option whenever you seek a refreshing and tasty drink in Thailand.
Thai Beverages and Non-Alcoholic Drinks
7- Thai Milk Tea
Thai Milk Tea is the beverage of choice for millions of Thais every morning to start their days.
This vibrant orange-coloured drink is made from strong Ceylon tea, evaporated milk and condensed milk and can be served hot or as an icy cold drink during summer.
Thai Milk Tea can be made in various ways, with some adding cinnamon, vanilla, cardamom, and various other spices to their hot or cold brew for added flavour.
No matter how you prefer your Thai Milk Tea, it’s a deliciously tasty beverage that’s divine any time of the day.
Oliang, which translates to ‘black iced coffee’ in English, is a strong coffee beverage made from Oliang blend coffee, a mixture of coffee beans, soybeans, corn, rice sesame seeds and cardamon.
Oliang is made from the same coffee beans that regular Thai coffee is made from, however, Oliang uses a different brewing and roasting technique to get a distinct flavour from the coffee beans.
Popular in Thailand and Vietnam, Oliang is a delicious icy caffeine treat that’s sure to give you a boost.
9- Thai Lemon Tea
Even though it’s called Thai Lemon Tea, Thai Lemon Tea is, in fact, lime tea and not lemon tea.
The confusion is caused by the blurred line between what a lemon is and what a lime is in Thailand, with limes being more abundant in Thailand.
While you can swap the lime for lemon if you’re preparing this vivid orange-coloured Thai beverage at home, it will alter the taste of the beverage.
Served chilled or hot, a glass or cup of refreshing Thai Lemon Tea is the perfect beverage to sip on while exploring this wonderful Asian country.
10- Nam Oy
Nam Oy is a sugarcane juice that’s extremely popular among locals and tourists in Thailand during the warmer months.
Made by using a powerful juice presser to squeeze the sugarcane, vendors prepare this sweet treat right on site on street corners throughout Thailand.
Nam Oy is also a popular beverage in other countries, with some adding different ingredients, such as kumquat juice, to try and balance the immense natural sweetness of Nam Oy.
Simple yet extremely tasty and refreshing, a tall serving of Nam Oy is bound to be a treat any time of the day.
11- Nam Thabthim
Nam Thabthim is another popular Thai juice widely available in markets and markets across Thailand.
Made from freshly squeezed pomegranate juice, Nam Thabthim is a natural source of vitamin C, antioxidants, and fibres, making this Thai delicacy a healthy alternative full of flavour.
Nam Thabthim is beloved for its sweet-sour, tart flavour and can be ordered at vendors who will press the pomegranate juice as you wait for your order.
Alternatively, premade Nam Thabthim bottled in slim plastic bottles can also be bought, however, if you’re looking for the best Nam Thabthim in Thailand, it’s best to order it from vendors who prepare it on site.
12- Nam Manao
Nam Manao is a simplistic but delicious fruity drink made from fresh lime juice, sugar, and water and is not too dissimilar from Vietnam’s popular Nước Chanh drink.
Just like Nam Oy and Nam Thabthim, Nam Manao is prepared on-site by street vendors throughout Thailand, who use sugar to add a little sweetness to the tangy drink.
If you order Nam Manao in a more formal setting such as a restaurant, your drink will likely be sweetened with sugar syrup.
13- Nom Yen
Meaning ‘iced milk’ in English, Nom Yen is one of Thailand’s favourite sweet drinks, famed for its distinct bright pink colour and unique sweetness.
Nom Yen is a straightforward drink, combining ice cold milk with sala syrup in spectacular fashion to create a simplistic yet deliciously refreshing treat enjoyed by all ages in Thailand.
Nom Yen is especially popular among the younger folk, with vendors selling copious amounts of Nom Yen near Thai schools to children looking for a sweet drink to cool off during summer.
Be sure to order a glass of Nom Yen in a Thai restaurant to wash down the spicy Thai dishes if spicy food is not your cup of tea.
14- Grass Jelly Drink
Born out of Thailand’s love affair with grass jelly, an ingredient in many of the country’s most popular desserts, the Grass Jelly Drink is made with sliced grass jelly cubes and any drink you choose.
Grass jelly cubes can be combined with tea or juice to create a delicious Thai drink that is a hit with the locals.
While exploring Thai markets, you’re likely to come across plastic cups partly filled with grass jelly.
This is so customers can add any drink they want to the grass jelly to create a unique beverage that’s quite simply one of Thailand’s best-kept secrets.
15- Krating Daeng
Created by Chaleo Yoovidhya in 1975 as a refreshing caffeinated beverage for Thai workers in rural Thailand, Krating Daeng is the predecessor of the Austrian energy drink Red Bull.
Made from water, taurine, caffeine, cane sugar, vitamin B and inositol, this sweet, non-carbonated beverage inspired Dietrich Mateschitz to establish Red Bull after Krating Daeng cured his jet lag while on a business trip to Thailand in 1982.
Despite Krating Daeng using the same logo and colours as Red Bull, Krating Daeng is not affiliated with the Austrian energy company.
While Krating Daeng enjoyed a lot of popularity in Thailand during the late 20th and early 21st century, the beverage has since been relegated to the third most popular energy drink in Thailand.
Krating Daeng is still a very popular Thai beverage that’s well worth trying out if regular energy drinks are not quite your taste.
16- Nam Dok Anchan
Nam Dok Anchan, or ‘butterfly pea tea’ in English, is made from the butterfly pea flower, which is native to Southeast Asia.
Popular due to its flowery flavour and deep blue colour, which changes to purple and red as soon as you add something acidic, the Nam Dok Anchan is Thailand’s most Intstagrammable drink.
Not only is the Nam Dok Anchan beautiful to look at, but the drink also has health benefits, such as controlling inflammation and aiding weight loss.
Nam Dok Anchan is an aesthetically pleasing drink that’s both tasty and healthy and an excellent option to order whenever you’re in Thailand.
17- Sabai Sabai
Sabai Sabai, or the “Thai Welcome Drink” as it’s also known, is the official alcoholic drink of Thailand, incorporating Mekhong liqueur with lime juice, syrup and basil leaves to create the perfect Thai cocktail.
This super refreshing and tasty cocktail is commonly served in a Collins glass or on the rocks.
So be sure to try this Thai staple the next time you visit Thailand to get the authentic Thai experience.
18- Thai Basil Mojito
The Thai Basil Mojito is a sweet and carbonated Thai cocktail that’s especially popular in Bangkok, where you can find the drink on menus in bars and restaurants throughout the city.
Prepared using Thai basil, rum, lemongrass syrup, coconut milk, soda water or lime juice, topped with a slice of lime for garnish, the Thai Basil Mojito is your perfect everyday cocktail.
19- Tom Yum Siam
The Tom Yum Siam is a spicy and tangy cocktail inspired by the popular Tom Yum Soup.
Blending unique tastes and ingredients, the Tom Yum Siam is a spectacular Thai cocktail that’s the perfect mix of appealing colours and interesting flavours.
A real feast for the senses, the Tom Yum Siam consists of vodka, lime juice, sugar syrup, red chillies and lemongrass and is topped off with lemon wedges and one slice of chilli for garnish.
Simple to make yet super tasty, the Tom Yum Siam is a fantastic Thai cocktail that’s unlike any other cocktail you’ll come across in Thailand.
20- Siam Mary
The Siam Mary is a Thai cocktail that originated in the bar of the St. Regis Hotel in Bangkok.
It’s based upon the original, timeless Bloody Mary cocktail, said to have been invented by Fernand Petiot, a bartender who worked at the St. Regis Hotel in New York during the early 20th century.
The Siam Mary was invented in celebration of the 80th anniversary of the original Bloody Mary and puts a spin on the old classic by adding Thai chilli, wasabi paste, Thai basil and lemongrass for extra spice.
Fit for any occasion, the Siam Mary is a wonderful cocktail to try out if you’re a fan of the original Bloody Mary and want to try something Thai-inspired during your trip to Thailand.
For more drinks around the world read:
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