Stand on your feet and a drink in your hand are how most beach vacations look like. It is most definitely not a bad plan though, after all, like they say the best way to know a foreign country is by experimenting with its local food and drinks. Drinking in Bali can be an exotic experience and trying out new things is what adds to the fun in what can be the night of your life.
No matter where you are in Bali, you are never too far away from a local Balinese restaurant or a cafe where fresh juices, coffee and various local drinks will be on offer. Though chilled cocktails and ice-cold Bintangs are the obvious recommendations in Bali, here is a guide for trying out traditional alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
Beer in Bali is synonymous with the word Bintang. With a distinct flavour of malt and hops, it is similar to an American Pale Lager. Anker Beer made by Jakarta Brewing comes a close second due to its relatively stronger taste and similar pricing. If you are of the drinking age in Bali and have to try something local, Bali Hai is your best bet. A bit bland in taste, it has become fairly popular in Indonesia for people who want to drink cheaply. Storm, San Miguel and Stark are some of the other beer brands found here.
The traditional spirit from Bali can be made using different ingredients such as glutinous rice, coconut trees or sap from sugar palm. But the one in Bali is made from sugarcane. This drink can be as strong as 70% alcohol depending on the brand. It can also be an excellent souvenir to bring back home for friends and family. Before you take a sip, ensure it’s from a known bonafide brand though as there have been known cases of lethal mixing or contamination.
Bali moon cocktails can be found everywhere on the island. A type of flavored liqueur, it comes in differed flavors such as banana, pineapple, coconut, coffee and melon.
Tuak is a kind of palm wine made from rice, sugar and yeast. Since it is so easy to make, it is relatively cheap to buy. The Batak community found in North Sumatra consumes it during their special occasions. Drinking alcohol in Bali is quite common as locals are known to offer a glass of tuak to guests in their homes.
Ranging at 3-10% alcohol content, Brem low alcohol beer Bali is perfect as an alternative to its counterpart Arak Bali. Traditionally Brem was used in Balinese ceremonies as an alternative to blood. Tourists are most likely to see it in ornate bottles on sale in gift shops. Though the taste isn’t anything unique, a lot of visitors buy it as a gift due to its packaging.
Ballo is another variation of fermented sugar sap made in Toraja, South Sulawesi. Made from lontar tree exclusively, it is used as an offering for rituals and for serving the guests. Its high level of sugar makes it unsafe for daily consumption, however, with just 5-10% alcohol concentration, it can be quite soothing when accompanied by traditional snacks.
To bypass the alcohol import duty costs, a few Indonesian wine brands import grapes from regions in Chile and Australia. Drinks in Bali cost can be affordable and local wine Hatten can be a decent substitute when you don’t want to shell out a lot of money.
Want a customized experience?
Teh Panas is a local tea that is wonderfully refreshing after a long day of travel. Traditionally, tea is served black with sugar. A few cafes also add ginger in it to give it a more unique taste.
Authentic Kopyor comes from mutated coconuts. Unlike regular coconuts, these have a loose and spongier filling inside. Though it is slightly more expensive than the regular coconuts, it is definitely worth trying this one for the sweeter taste. Apart from being offered as a drink, it can also be consumed as a dessert.
Non-alcoholic drinking in Bali is an amazing experience as it is known for its coffee all around the world. It is also the world’s third-largest coffee exporter. Hence apart from the regular cappuccinos and americano that is available in the quaint little cafes all over Bali, coffee lovers are advised to try the local brew which is Kopi Bali. The beans used in it are of very high quality, thus making it the perfect souvenir to take back home.
Want a customized experience?
‘Curated by Neha Bhise’