Sabai Sabai: A Thai Welcome Drink Featuring Mekhong Liquor

Mekhong Thai Liquor - Sabai Sabai and Ginger Lime Long-Tail Cocktails
Brian Macdonald/Digital Vision/Getty Images
  • 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins,
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 drink (1 serving)

The Sabai Sabai is also known as the 'Thai Welcome Drink' and it features Mekhong, a unique liquor from Thailand. It is often referred to as the 'official' drink of Thailand and it's quite fascinating. If you're seeking an exotic, yet easy cocktail to mix up, look no further. 

You can think of this as a 'Mekhong Collins' because it is similar to a John Collins. It can be served on the rocks or 'up' in a cocktail glass, though you could also serve it tall like any other collins drink. Any way you choose to serve it, it is a great drink and the basil is a nice touch against the sweet and sour.

What You'll Need

How to Make It

  1. Pour the Mekhong, juice, syrup, and basil into a mixing glass.
  2. Add ice and shake vigorously for 7 to 8 seconds.
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or an old-fashioned glass filled with fresh ice.
  4. Top off with club soda.

Tip: Slap the basil leaves between the palm of your hands to awaken the herb's essential oils before mixing.

(Recipes from Mekhong)

What is Mekong Liquor?

Mekhong is called "The Official Spirit of Thailand" and is often thought to be a style of whiskey.

Yet, it does not fall into any well-known category of liquor and is unique unto itself.

The amber color of this liquor is deceptive. It is actually a combination of distilled sugar cane and molasses which makes it very rum-like. Yet, it's also similar to sake in that it includes 5 percent rice spirit (though sake is brewed and not distilled). Additionally, Mekhong is flavored with an undisclosed mixture of native Thai herbs.

Mekhong truly is an original distilled spirit and unlike any other that you will find in the world. It is certainly an adventure in international liquor and one that every cocktail enthusiast should try at least once.

The Mekhong brand was launched in 1941 and has been sold throughout Southeast Asia. Eventually, it hit the the UK and European markets and in 2008, this unique spirit was launched in the United States.

Another Way to Enjoy Mekhong

The Ginger Lime-Tail is another easy drink featuring Mekhong. This mix is also a sweet and sour highball that tops everything off with ginger beer for a little extra snap.

To make the drink, pour 2 ounces Mekhong with 1/2 ounce lime juice and 3 lime wheels in a collins glass filled with ice. Cover it with a shaker tin and give the drink a good shake. Top with ginger beer and add a dash of Angostura bitters.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 82
Total Fat 0 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Unsaturated Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 59,672 mg
Carbohydrates 19 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Protein 1 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)