10 Most Well-Known Traditional Alcoholic Drinks from Indonesia

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International alcoholic beverages are rampant in supermarkets, small convenience stores and bars. You can choose amongst the regular alcoholic beverages, or try something much more rare to fully experience the taste of Indonesia. Although it may not seem like it due to rarity, Indonesia has a slew of traditional alcoholic beverages in Indonesia.

Here are the list of most well-known traditional alcoholic drinks in Indonesia:

Arak Bali, Bali

If palm wine has no more than a dozen percent alcohol content, Bali wine is thought to have higher levels, reaching 30-50 percent. However, the main function of drinking Arak Bali is not to be drunk but rather used for the purpose of traditional ceremonies with certain rituals. Just like other regions, the aim is togetherness and a sense of familiarity among those drinking it. Arak is made from fermentation of coconut juice and fruits that is mixed with juice or syrup to add flavour and taste.

Tuak Beras, Kalimantan

Tuak beras or Rice Wine is a type of alcoholic beverage that the Iban community drink in Kalimantan. Usually this tuak beras is processed from a type of rice called “pulut rice” (a type of glutinous rice). Usually Tuak beras will be served at certain celebrations such as the celebration of Dayak Gawai, Ghost Gawai, Kenyalang Gawai and so on. Apart from the Iban community, there are also other communities such as Bidayuh, Orang Ulu who also make palm wine in their own way. This type of wine contains alcohol, which is why it can cause a drunken effect when drunk beyond the dosage that is recommended.

Tuak Nira/Tuak Batak, North Sumatera 

Tuak Nira or Tuak Batak is usually produced by tapping the sap from the mayang (flower cobs) on palm trees. The palm wine collected had not yet fermented, the sugar content in it will become alcohol through a fermentation process for several days with an alcohol content of around 4%. Tuak Nira is usually served at special celebrations such as weddings. However, if the palm or palm wine is left too long it will become sour and eventually turn to vinegar naturally without any mixing of foreign material.

Brem, Bali

Similar to tuak, Brem is a fermented liquor from coconut juice and other fruits. Its alcohol content is 37-50%. Made from sticky-rice fermentation, this alcoholic beverage is one of the traditional drinks typical of the Island of the Gods. The drink is not usually made to get people drunk but rather used in traditional ceremonies. Wine for the ceremony is usually of the lowest quality because the best wine will be drunk. This wine is quite popular among tourists in Bali and one of the famous cocktail recipes is “arak attack” which is a mixture of Arak Bali and orange juice.

Ballo, South Sulawesi 

Ballo is wine of the people of South Sulawesi. Ballos are made from nipa trees. Otherwise, it can also be made from rice or palm trees. It has been a deep rooted belief that ballo was used for the royal guests’ banquets. However, as more time passes and the more widespread the audience, Ballo became acceptable to a variety of people. Ordinary citizens and royalty both enjoy this alcoholic beverage, which has alcohol content that is similar to tuak and arak.

Sopi, Flores

Sopi is a typical drink of Flores and other parts of eastern Indonesia, made from the fermentation of sugar palm. The manufacturing process takes a long time. In their culture, sopi is considered a prestigious drink for it is a symbol of togetherness. For that reason, sopi is usually served in special moments, rituals, or regional ceremonies.

Cap Tikus, Manado

This drink is a traditional drink of the Minahasa people in Manado. It comes from Sagoer, which is a liquid that is tapped from palm trees and contains a little alcohol content of about 5%. The alcohol content depends on the distillation technique in which the more its distilled properly, the higher the alcohol content. Afterwards, Cap Tikus will have about 40 percent alcohol. Keep in mind that Cap tikus drink is quite dangerous that there are several warnings from the local people for anyone to hold their drink when it comes to Cap Tikus.

Lapen, Yogyakarta

Lapen is an alcoholic drink that comes from Yogyakarta. Be careful when drinking Lapen, because it is made from pure alcoholic liquid going up to 80 percent. The liquid is then mixed with ordinary water with a composition of 1: 4 or 1: 5. Only after that, the mixture is mixed with fruit-flavored liquid. The government has banned the making of lapen however there are still sold illegally in some areas.

Swansrai, Papua

This beverage, which is produced from the fermentation of old coconut tree water, is a typical Papuan drink. Like wine and wine, swansrai has a fairly high alcohol content, which is around 20-30 percent. Swansrai is often found in the Biak area and can be drunk to familiarize oneself to the community. For that reason, it’s served to guests or close relatives who come to the house.

Ballo, Tana toraja

Tana Toraja has a variety of interesting cultural treasures to explore. One of them is a traditional drink called Ballo. This drink is often served by the Toraja people when they hold meetings or hold religious rituals. Ballo itself is made from palm tree sap and is one of South Sulawesi’s unique drinks because it is often served in bamboo cups. There are two kinds, the first variant has a sweet and mild taste with an alcohol content of about 10 percent, while the second variant is harder and sour.

What do you think of these drinks? Have you ever tried any of it? Share your answers in the comments section below!

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