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.
Quality, taste and alcohol concentration vary by source of the drink. However, all variations are strong. Lao satoe, the white liquid by-product from lao-Lao production, is also drunk and it has a very yeasty and sweet taste.
Production and consumption
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. Lao-Lao sold on retail is usually clear, but amber colored varieties exist too.
- Sra peang, a similar form of wine drunk in Cambodia
- Rượu cần, a similar form of wine drunk in Vietnam
- Rice wine
- Rice baijiu
- Sato (rice wine) – Isan version
- Sally Everett (12 April 2016). Food and Drink Tourism: Principles and Practice. SAGE Publications. p. 301. ISBN 978-1-4739-6597-3.
- "The cheapest alcohol in the world: Lao-Lao, Laos rice whiskey". www.priceoftravel.com. Retrieved 17 July 2017.
- Dorothy Culloty (2010). Food from Northern Laos: The Boat Landing Cookbook. Galangal Press. pp. 178–179. ISBN 978-0-473-17236-7.
- The Rough Guide to Laos. Rough Guides Limited. 19 September 2013. p. 40. ISBN 978-1-4093-5038-5.
- "Gender and Aquaculture in Lao PDR". www.fao.org.