The Best Liquor In Vietnam
Mexicans have tequila. Cubans, rum. Americans, uh, Budweiser. In Vietnam, the booze of choice is ruou (pronounced zeo), an elixir so smooth and multi-faceted it can be consumed with the sophistication of Dr. Frasier Crane.
The rice whiskey comes in multiple varieties and colors, but we hear the best comes from Binh Dinh province along the country’s south-central coastline. Locals follow ancient, meticulous protocols to create the stuff, using the fresh water of the Con River, pumping it through bamboo pipes, distilling it in terracotta pots and heating it over low flame.
While we sucked down Japanese rice wine during sake bomb binges in our college days, ruou should be sipped slowly and at room temperature. Like any good alcohol, the cool burn as it goes down feels like a giant Listerine breath strip soothing the throat.
In addition to claims that it "cures melancholy" (what alcohol doesn’t?), it's also used as a fever remedy. Just one wiff, and, voila, you're cured--or too drunk to remember you felt sick in the first place.