In addition to tea, Bhutan has a few other popular traditional drinks essential to the country's culture and cuisine.
One of the most famous drank alcoholic drinks in Bhutan is ara, a distilled spirit made from fermented grains such as maize, rice, or wheat. Ara is often served during social gatherings and festivals and is sometimes used in traditional Bhutanese medicine as a remedy for specific ailments. It is also sometimes served hot with butter, eggs, and sugar, creating a beverage called zow, which is particularly popular in the colder regions of the country.
Bhutan is also known for its beer, which a few local breweries produce. One of the most popular brands is Druk 11000, a lager made with locally sourced ingredients such as rice and maize.Another traditional drink in Bhutan is Suja, or butter tea, which I mentioned earlier. Suja is a hot drink made with tea leaves, butter, and salt and is particularly popular in the colder regions of the country. It is often served to guests as a sign of hospitality.
Bhutan also produces a variety of fruit juices and soft drinks, including apple juice, mango juice, and a carbonated drink called Gold Spot. However, these are less commonly consumed than traditional beverages such as Ara and Suja.
It's worth noting that while alcohol is legal and widely consumed in Bhutan, there are some restrictions on its sale and consumption. For example, it is prohibited to sell alcohol on certain holidays and during elections, and there are restrictions on selling alcohol to minors. The government has also implemented a "sin tax" on alcohol and tobacco to discourage excessive consumption.
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