5 Distilleries That Will Change the Way You Drink

Add these to your travel plans for 2023. 

As the year comes to an end, there’s plenty to look forward to in 2023. For those of you who, like us, plan holidays around food and drink, we have a special round up of unique distillery experiences that will change the way you think about your drink. Add these to your travel plans for 2023. 

Country: Cambodia 

Brand: Samai Rum

Category: Premium Rum

A class act in the Asian spirits revolution, the name Samai stems from the Khmer “new generation” or “a look to the future” and is the first and only premium rum distillery in the stunning country of Cambodia. 

The distillery came into existence 8 years ago when two friends from Venezuela (founders, Daniel Pacheco and Antonio de Haro Lopez) realised that there was a tremendous amount of high quality sugar cane in Cambodia, with not much spirit being produced. A discovery we can all be happy for. 

Everything that goes into Samai rums is from the Cambodian terroir – from the sugarcane molasses, to the organic honey and the famous Kampot pepper. Samai is also proud to be the playground of Cambodia’s first woman master distiller Champich.

Samai currently has 4 products on the market :

  • White rum – aged 2 years in ex-bourbon casks then charcoal filtered (ABV 41%) 
  • Gold rum – aged average 3 years and blended from all our casks – ex-bourbon, new american oak, new french oak, oloroso and Pedro Ximenex -to which we add a touch of organic honey from the Preah Vihear province (ABV 41%);
  • Kampot pepper rum – a totally unique rum in which we macerate and infuse the famous red Kampot pepper from the province of the same name. (ABV 41%)
  • PX rum liqueur – a blend of aged rums and Pedro Ximenex sweet wine from Spain. (ABV 38%)

Visit Samai

Every Thursday, the bar is open to the public from 6pm to 11:30 pm so guests can enjoy a tour of the distillery as well as cocktails, live music, international bar takeovers and chef guest shifts.

How to book: SAMAI DISTILLING CO., LTD.  #9b . Street 830 . Tonle Bassac . Phnom Penh . Cambodia 12301. The simplest way to book a visit or a seat at the bar on Thursdays is through their social media or directly on WhatsApp or telegram at +855 017 860 305.

Instagram: Samai Rum

Website: https://www.samaidistillery.com/ 

Daniel, Champich, Antonio (image:

Country: Sri Lanka

Brand: Ceylon Arrack 

Category: Arrack

Distilled by: Rockland Distillers  

Sri Lankan Arrack is amongst the oldest spirits in the world and Ceylon Arrack is another feather in the cap of the  Asian distilling community. The first written reference to Arrack from the island (Sri Lanka) can be found in Marco Polo’s 13th Century Travelogue Il Milione. Sri Lankan Arrack is indisputably amongst the oldest spirits in the world and possibly pre-dates Russian Vodka

A 100% natural spirit. Arrack is distilled from the sap of the coconut flower. The process of hand collecting the sap from atop tall coconut trees is a timeless art known as ‘toddy tapping’ – a fascinating (if painstaking) activity to witness. Since 1924, Rockland has been creating the finest arrack from the coconut flowers of Sri Lanka. The skills that go into making this traditional “drink of gods” have been passed down through four generations and remain largely the same today. Equipped with deft hand and agile foot, their Toddy Tappers scale the treetops to collect the sap by hand. The toddy then undergoes a natural process of fermentation at their environmentally awarded distillery before being sealed in signature coral bottles for the world to enjoy. 

ESTd.1924, Rockland is the first distillery in Sri Lanka and one of the oldest in Asia, and producing the highest quality, fine aged Arrack has been the Rockland family tradition for nearly a century. All Rockland Arrack brands are made from pure coconut toddy and aged in Halmilla Wood, distilled and blended under supervision of a Rockland Family member. Rockland is also the world’s first certified Green Distillery 98% carbon Neutral. 

Visit Ceylon Arrack

  1. Contact Person : Vajira Caldera 
  2. WhatsApp : +94764196626
  3. Email : info@rockland.lk

Instagram: Ceylon Arrack

Website: https://www.ceylonarrack.com/ 

Country: Denmark

Brand: Empirical 

Category: Uncategorised/Free Form

Based in Copenhagen, Empirical is a flavour company founded in 2017 by Lars Williams and Mark Emil Hermansen who were inspired by the role flavour plays in their ability to create and transport experiences. Taking a flavour-first approach means that they don’t pay attention to the conservative and pre-established norms and the categories they correspond to. Instead, Empirical focuses on finding great ingredients and turning them into sense memories, unlike anything you have ever tasted.

They are free-form spirits.

Since both founders previously worked at NOMA (widely regarded as one of the best restaurants in the world), they apply a great deal of hard work, culinary and scientific innovation which they learned through their careers in kitchens, “to harness flavours differently and democratise the way they are shared.” 

Empirical is rewriting how spirits come into existence using unorthodox distillation processes with the core objective of highlighting base ingredients and one key flavour at a time.

Visit the Empirical Tasting Room

Drop by for a cocktail, a can, a chat or an introduction tasting. Grab a bottle of the last release you missed. Or that tee-shirt you need in your collection. They also offer a tour and tasting openings for you to learn all that’s going on behind the spirits. Visit the Empirical distillery in Copenhagen and experience the process from beginning to end.

Opening hours:

Thursday – Friday: 2pm-7pm

Saturday: 12pm-7pm 

Sunday: 12pm-5pm

How to book: 

Tours are run from Thursday to Sunday and can be booked from our website or directly here. For special inquiries and larger groups, please email visit@empirical.co 

Instagram: @empiricalcph

Website: www.empirical.co 

Lars Williams and Mark Emil Hermansen

Country: Norway

Brand: HIMKOK

Category: Akvavit, Gin, Vodka

Apart from making a regular appearance on the list of the world’s 50 best bars, cocktail bar HIMKOK in Olso also houses a unique and highly regarded distillery, with Norwegian flavours at the heart of it all. The Distillery is equipped with a custom-made 180L hybrid still, mainly producing Norwegian Akvavit, but also focusing on Gin and Vodka. Akvavit, a primarily Scandinavian distilled spirit with roots in the 15th century, is made from grain or potatoes and flavoured with herbs.

True to the HIMKOK ethos, the distillery predominantly concentrates on botanical spirits. This allows the team to work closely with clients to customise their spirits specifically to their wants and needs. It is also important for Himok’s head distiller to collaborate with the team of HIMKOK to create unique and exciting flavours that can be used in cocktails, giving their guests a truly Norwegian experience.

How to book: As a guest of the bar, you are more than welcome to take a look at the distillery. Make a booking via THIS LINK.

Instagram: HIMKOK

Country: France

Brand: BACCAE

Category: Gin, Bitter Aperitif, Absinthe

BACCAE is a French distillery established in 2007 in the Center of Paris by former restaurant owner Julien Roques and offers a wide range of spirits to the Paris Restaurant and Cocktail scene and focuses on creating tailor made products, putting French produce at the heart of it all. Experience is at the core of BACCAE’s vision and the team regularly hosts Gin making and Whisky blending experiences at the distillerie as well as private functions serving in-house cocktails on tap. 

This is where all your gin-making dreams come true – yes, they can walk you through the process and help you create your own recipe of gin to take home with you.

The team welcomes you in the heart of Paris, in one of the capital’s oldest harbours converted into a spirits production workshop, offering the unique experience of producing Gin, which will be punctuated by several tastings of different cocktails!​

The team will invite you to discover the turbulent history of Gin and then help you discover the different components and production techniques of Gin.

​After having tasted different botanicals and their subtleties, guests will be able to tackle the composition of their Gin with the group. More citrus, more spices, more herbaceous? Once the direction has been set, the team will guide the guest through the selection from around 30 herbs in order to create a unique recipe.

​The workshop then moves on to production, during which participants will have the opportunity to learn how to make a Gin-based cocktail! Finally, the bottling will come so that everyone can leave with their custom-made bottle (200ml).

How to book: Book your gin making experience here.

Instagram: BACCAE

We hope you’ll find joy in planning your travels for 2023 and find a way to visit some of these great distilleries and discovering a whole new world with them.

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