June 02, 2011

Making Moonshine: How to make Bhutanese rice wine

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In the current issue of Tricycle Food columnist Noa Jones shares a Bhutanese recipe for rice wine.

I’m now writing from Bhutan, which is famous for its ara, a potent and ubiquitous form of wine that is surprisingly easy to make. Though often made from rice, ara can be made from millet, wheat, or corn. It’s your basic moonshine with a Bhutanese twist.

I know of two methods to make ara: fermenting and distilling (fermenting is the easier one). And there are even more ways to serve it—hot and clear, cold, swimming with butter and poached egg, chunky style with rice and scrambled egg—all of which will leave one quite drunk and not so ready for a drive home through dense fog on a single-lane road riddled with hairpin turns through narrow canyons. It’s hard stuff, and as I was contemplating sharing the recipe, I started to have some misgivings. This is a Buddhist magazine. The subject of alcohol is controversial. Depending on which yana one follows, alcohol consumption can be either strictly forbidden, winked at, or used as a method.

Read the rest of "Making Moonshine" here.

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