In Bali, many restaurants serve dishes from other countries so it may be difficult to sample a traditional Balinese meal. Local drinks however are more easily available, whether it be from a vendor on the beach or from the mini-mart on the corner.
In this post we'll introduce you to some of the most popular drinks in Bali - cheers!
Although alcohol is legal in Indonesia, the government applies high taxes (sometimes as much as 300%) to discourage sales. Particularly in Bali, there is strong competition between bars and clubs that sell alcohol and it's not unusual to come across good deals like 2 for 1 or Buy 1 Get 1 Free on beers and cocktails.
Supermarkets and mini-marts also sell alcoholic drinks at affordable prices if you prefer to have a few drinks at your hotel or villa, and tourists entering Bali are allowed to bring in 1 liter of spirits - a good idea if you like quality booze as the good stuff is ridiculously expensive.
zieak, on Flickr
There's nothing better than sipping on an ice cold beer on the beach at sunset. It's just one of those things that really makes you feel like you're on holiday, and in Bali there are several beers you can try.
Bintang is Bali's best-selling beer (and also probably the best-selling T-shirt). The taste is similar to an American pale lager, like Heineken, and has an alcoholic strength of around 4.7%. It's also possible to buy Bintang Zero, a low-alcohol version with less than 1% alcohol.
The standard price for a small bottle of Bintang from a supermarket is about Rp. 15,000 but can cost as much as Rp.60,000 from fancier bars and clubs.
Anker is Bintang's rival. Made in a Jakarta brewery, this beer has a stronger taste. Anker costs about the same as Bintang, so it really just comes down to your personal preference.
Bali Hai is a cheap local beer that was originally only sold in Bali, however it's now available all over Indonesia. Popular with people looking for an affordable beer, Bali Hai is actually brewed in Jakarta and not Bali, as the name suggests. The taste is a little weak compared with other local brews, but still does the trick on a hot day.
ace.meriel, on Flickr
Produced by a microbrewery in Bali, Storm Beer is the only truly local beer. The beer is thought to have been created by an Englishman at the turn of the last century, and there is a range available to suit everyone.
Alcohol in Bali with more of a kick than beer includes spirits, liqueurs and wine. A word of warning though, some of the mixes can be a lot stronger than expected.
GENuine1986, on Flickr
Arak is a distilled liquor made in Southeast Asia, Sri Lanka and India. It can be made from a variety of ingredients such as rice, fruit or coconut flowers, but in Bali sugarcane is mainly used. Also called the "rum of Indonesia", great care should be taken when buying and consuming arak as if it is not brewed correctly it can contain methanol, making the drink potentially fatal.
There have been a number of deaths related to dodgy methanol and it's strongly suggested to only drink arak bought at reputable resorts and bars; even sealed bottles bought at supermarkets can contain contaminated alcohol. Often mistaken for simply a bad hangover, methanol poisoning can lead to permanent blindness and even death.
Bali Moon is a flavored liqueur available in flavors such as coffee, pineapple, banana and coconut. Used in exotic sounding cocktails, Bali Moon can be found all over the island and ranges in price from about Rp. 30,000 ($3) to Rp. 100,000 ($10).
byte, on Flickr
Tuak is a type of rice wine or sake. It is quite easy to make and therefore inexpensive to buy. Tuak is often used at Balinese festivals and in some local cocktails. The taste isn't for everyone - you'll either love it or hate it.
Visitors may see Brem Bali on sale in souvenir shops. It is a local brew made from fermented rice and can also be consumed as Brem cake. The taste isn't anything special, but it makes a nice gift due to the pretty bottle it comes in.
Bruce J Dargie, on Flickr
Bali is more well known for it's world-class surf than for it's wine, but that's not to say that the wine isn't any good. Introduced by some Australians who began growing wine grapes in Bali, the most famous local wine is called Hatten and is a decent substitute when you don't want to fork out a lot of money for Australian wine.
Of course not everyone who comes to Bali wants to wake up with a hangover. For these folk there are still a number of interesting local non-alcoholic drinks to enjoy.
Kopyor is a special kind of coconut where the meat does not attach itself to the wall, but rather floats around in the water in large, spongy chunks (as opposed to a regular coconut where the meat lines the wall of the shell in one firm layer).
The word "kopyor" is Javanese and means "mixed up parts" or "broken". The difference between kopyor and a normal coconut can be heard when shaking the fruit, and many people prefer the sweeter taste of the kopyor which can also be eaten as a dessert.
Te Panas is a refreshing local tea, usually drunk black and with lots of sugar. It can also be infused with ginger for a more unique taste.
Moalbers, on Flickr
Indonesia is the world’s third largest coffee exporter, and coffee lovers should try out the local brew known as Kopi Bali. The beans used in this kind of coffee are usually of high quality, also making it a great gift to take back home with you.