BALI

Coffee & Drink

Coffee & Drink in Bali

Most Balinese have nothing against a drink, and alcohol is widely available.

Caution should be taken in buying spirits as a poisonings and deaths have occurred, due to unscrupulous operators cutting spirits with cheaper alternatives like methylated spirits - beer is seen to be safe.

Indonesia's most popular beer is the ubiquitous Bintang, but the cheaper Bali Haiis nearly as widespread. Bintang is a fairly highly regarded classic light Asian beer, but Bali Hai is a rather bland lager, and despite the name it's actually brewed in a suburb of Jakarta. The other local beer is Anker, and both Carlsberg and San Miguel are brewed locally under licence. A wide range of more expensive imported beers are available. Beer is relatively expensive in local terms, though still cheap by western standards; at Rp 15,000 and up a small bottle costs the same as a full meal in a local restaurant. In tourist centres, happy hours are widely publicised before and after sunset, with regular bottles of beer going for Rp 15,000-20,000 and the large bottles for Rp 20,000-30,000. Today, formally mini market cannot sell alcohol drinks anymore, even beer, but by Governor discretion, 'warung' and small vendors still can serve/sell beer with note they should be in a group/cooperation.

Bali produces its own wines, with Hatten being the oldest and most popular brand, available in white, red, rose (most popular) and sparkling varieties. Quality is inconsistent, but the rose is usually OK and massively cheaper than imported wines, which can easily top Rp 300,000 per bottle. Wine aficionados are better off bringing their own bottle in with them. Most restaurants will let you bring your own bottle and some will charge a modest corkage fee. Smaller establishments may not have a corkscrew, so bring your own. The new popular wine is snake fruit wine from Karangasem with sweet and sour taste.

Bali also produces its own liqueurs and spirits, with Bali Moon being the most popular. They offer a wide range of flavoured liqueurs: banana, blackcurrant, butterscotch, coconut, hazelnut, lychee, melon, peppermint, orange, blue curacao, pineapple and coffee. Vodka and other spirits are also produced locally, with Mansion House being the most popular brand. Be aware, though, that many of these local spirits are little more than flavoured rice spirit. Cocktails in Bali range from Rp 30,000 in small bars to Rp 100,000 in high end establishments. Bali Moon cocktails are available in almost every bar, restaurant and hotel in Bali. Liqueurs are available in many retail outlets; just enquire within if you wish to have fun making your own cocktails.

Bali's traditional hooches are arak, a clear distilled spirit that packs a 40° punch;brem, a fermented rice wine sold in gift shops in attractive clay bottles that are much nicer than the taste of the stuff inside; and tuak, a palm 'wine' which is often served at traditional festivities. Visitors should be extremely careful about where they purchase arak, as there have been a number of serious poisoning cases and even some deaths involving tainted arak.

Tap water in Bali is generally not drinkable, and when it is it's hard to ascertain its quality. Bottled water is universally available and inexpensive (Rp 5,000 or so for a 1.5 litre bottle); restaurants usually use commercially purified water for cooking. The most popular brand is Aqua and that name is often used generically for bottled water. Filtered water shops are also common, providing on-site treatment of the mains water to a potable standard. This is known as air putih (literally "white water"). These shops are much cheaper than retail outlets, selling water for about Rp 5,000 per 11-litre reusable container, and they avoid the waste created by plastic bottles.

Fresh fruit juices cost from Rp 10,000 upwards and their mixes may include watermelon, melon, papaya, orange, lime, banana or almost any other fruit you can think of. In Bali, avocado (alpukat) is used as a dessert fruit. Blended with coconut milk or milk, a little water and ice—and frequently use palm sugar rather than chocolate syrup—this is a beverage you will rarely find elsewhere. Almost all restaurant menus have a section devoted to various non-alcoholic fruit-based drinks.

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