Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Is MeKhong Spiced a Whiskey, Rum, or Thai Spirit

I spent the better part of this past Sunday afternoon with Johnny and Jenn at the 10th Anniversary Big Apple Barbecue Block Party at Madison Square Park incurring a BBQ coma. So to work the food off, we decided to walk to Forum and meet up with Jake.

As I checked in at Forum, I noticed that in doing so, I would get a complimentary glass of MeKhong Spiced Rum. I decided to get mine on the rocks. Now before I decided to taste it, I went online to see what the deal was with this spirit. Immediately I found that this seems to be one conflicted spirit. On one page the MeKhong is labeled as being a whiskey but since it is made of sugar/molasses and rice it is considered to be more of a rum. On another I saw it being called a "Thai Spirit". Anyone know what that means? I decided to go straight to the source and see what the MeKhong website says about their self named spirit. Here is its origin:
MeKhong is Thailand's national spirit named after the mighty MeKhong River, which flows along its border. First introduced in 1941, it is the first and foremost spirit in Thailand. Nowadays MeKhong is a source of pride for the Thai people and has come to symbolise the the friendly welcome for which Thailand is world renowned. MeKhong has a wonderfully smooth aroma and inviting taste that will instantly remind you of the tropics of Southeast Asia. Enjoy the taste of an enchanting nation and have a good time...Thai Style!
Alrigty then. Sounds good so far. But what is in it that leads to the contradiction in classification of the type of spirit it is. Here is how it is described on the website:
MeKhong's amber and reddish copper colour paves the way to a balanced and smooth flavour of spicy ginger, toffee, citrus and vanilla flavours - all fused together to provide a unique and well balanced drink. MeKhong can be enjoyed straight, with a mixer, or in cocktails, and of course perfectly compliments spicy Thai food...The MeKhong sugar cane spirit is artfully blended with rice spirit and a secret recipe of natural Thai herbs and spices to deliver its unique taste of Thailand. MeKhong has a slightly lower alcohol content of 35% by volume which improves its mixability
Ok, enough of the company lines. How does it smell and taste. At first smell it has a bit of a light aroma similar to Cruzan Black Strap Rum hence the presence of rum. Although at the taste the spices that are often found in a spiced rum are prevalent, it isn't as sweet and flavorful as let's say the Bacardi Oakheart. It is also not as thick or dark as the above mentioned Cruzan Black Strap Rum. To me, it did taste like a whiskey would once the ice melted. Interesting, No?

I don't believe that its a bad spirit even though it seems to get some bad press as it does in this review by Richard Thomas in his post Mehkong Whiskey Review from the Whiskey Reviewer website. Maybe it does deserve a designation outside of the whiskey world since I don't think it is a whiskey. What I do feel is that it is a light enough spirit to have on the rocks maybe with a coke or ginger ale. It's definitely not an overpowering spirit and one that can be enjoyed regardless of how it is viewed. Here is one such summertime recipe I found listed on the MeKhong website:
Let's Go To The Beach
30ml MeKhong
30ml Malibu
30ml Pineapple Juice
30ml Apple Juice
10ml Fresh Lime Juice
20ml Normal Syrup
1 Dash of Angostura Bitters

Garnish
Red Apple wheel, or pineapple cube on a stick with a mint sprig
If your taste buds are feeling some Thai food, check out this recipe for Crying Tiger "เสือร้องไห้" - Spicy Thai BBQ Beef from the Nor-mai Boise - Cooking With Passion blogpage that they recommend should be consumed with MeKhong Thai Spirit.

Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla