Lao lao, Laos's very own moonshine

I’m not much of a drinker but I’d give lao lao a (very trepidatious) try. It’s made in households around Laos and usually sits at 120 to 150 proof. So, you know, sip carefully.

Erin Smith’s fantastic newsletter Dari Mulut ke Mulut has more:

Yet in a way, lao lao represents the real Laos. Every tourist in this country will at some point encounter Beer Lao. But lao lao is the currency of the private Lao world. It’s the drink of intimate friends who’ve known each other since school, of mechanics kicking back after work, of villagers toasting a special occasion.

Beer Lao may be Laos’ most famous beverage, but lao lao is the cheapest and the most consumed. It is a lucky falang who’s invited into someone’s home to join a bunch of smiling guests and pass around a glass of the family brew — which may be infused with anything from olives and wood to snakes, bees or lizards.

The upshot is that if you’ve lived in Laos for a little while, you may not love lao lao, but you know it when you see it.