Tuesday, 24 February 2009

The Siam Sunray - Thai tourism's own economic rescue remedy...

Turning to booze for inspiration, Thailand's tourism authority and its hotel association (THA) have launched a national cocktail to boost the country's visitor numbers, which have shown a steady decrease since the military coup of 2006. As one would expect, the closure and occupation of Bangkok's two airports that stranded 300,000 travelers for over a week late last year acted to hasten the decline.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) hopes to reverse the trend with its new national drink - the Siam Sunray - which it describe at its rollout last week as 'Thailand in a glass: the new punch in Thai tourism'. In its announcement launching the Siam Sunray TAT expressed the hope the new cocktail will help revitalise the allure of Thailand and become "a part of global cosmopolitan culture" - in the same way that, it claims, the Singapore Sling, Cuban Mojito, New York's Manhattan and, I may add, my own Doha leg-opener, have become.

"Successful signature drinks are one way to fast track holiday destinations on to the world tourism map, and can contribute some added identity to the local food and beverage scene in the hospitality and tourism industry," slurred the TAT spokesperson.

Although I like to imagine a special TAT committee stumbling serendipitously upon the cocktail concept and the Sunray recipe while drowning their misery at falling tourist numbers in a backstreet bar somewhere, the recipe was created by Surasakdi Pantaisong. He was the winner of the 2008 Bar Tender Championship hosted by the TAT and THA at Siam Paragon in September 2008.

If you want to try this at home rather than wait until you can try Tik's version, here's the official recipe.

Siam Sunray recipe
30-40 ml. of Smirnoff vodka
30 ml. of coconut liqueur
15 ml. of syrup
¼ cm. of Thai chilli pepper
3 slices of young ginger
1 Kaffir lime leaf
3 slivers of lemon grass
3 drops of lime juice
Soda water

Crush the small Thai chilli pepper, young ginger, Kaffir lime leaf, and lemon grass together in a shaker to bring out the aroma and flavour of the Thai herbs.
Add syrup, lime juice and Smirnoff and shake well.
Strain into a glass with ice; top up with soda water; garnish with chilli, lemon grass and a slice of lime.

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