Lao-Lao

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Lao-Khamu men drinking lao-hai from an earthenware jar. Water is added to the jar to maintain the liquid level as the alcohol is sipped.

Lao-Lao (Lao: ເຫລົ້າລາວ) is a Laotian rice whisky produced in Laos. Along with Beerlao, lao-Lao is a staple drink in Laos. Contrary to what the romanized transcription would lead one to think, the name lao-Lao is not the same word repeated twice, but two different words pronounced with different tones: the first, ເຫລົ້າ, means "alcohol" and is pronounced with a low-falling tone in the standard dialect, while the second, ລາວ, means Laotian ("Lao") and is pronounced with a high(-rising) tone.

Although lao-Lao is traditionally drunk neat, a cocktail that is rising in popularity is the "Pygmy Slow Lorange", named after the Pygmy Slow Loris, a species endemic to Laos. Various flavoured lao-Laos are made by macerating such additives as honey or scorpions. It is women who often distill lao-Lao and sell it as a source of income locally, often being their second major income.[1]

A less powerful version of lao-Lao, called lao-hai, is especially popular with the Khamu ethnic group in Laos, and is drunk from large communal earthenware pots (hai) through long bamboo straws.

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