Mekhong “Whiskey” is distilled from Thai culture. Sure you can drink similar spirits-Sang Som, Hong Tong, or Mangkorn Tong-but they neither have the pop culture chops nor the historical roots of Mekhong.
Mekhong is old style Thailand- like staying at the old wing of the Bangkok Oriental and getting invited for dinner. It takes you back to a time that no longer exists.
Mekhong was not the first hard liquor produced in The Kingdom. Thais have been drinking lao kao (rice whiskey) and other distilled spirits for centuries. Mekhong was the first blended spiced spirit made by Thais for Thais to compete against the European scotches, bourbons and whiskeys that were flooding The Kingdom during the 1920’s-30’s.
Mekhong’s secret formula is as closely held as Coca Cola’s.
Ginger, coriander, cumin, rhubarb, cinnamon, horse tamarind shell, licorice, lemongrass, chiles, clove, cardamon and fenugreek (wtf is that!)-all go into a blended spirit made up of 95% distilled molasses (sugar cane) and 5% sticky rice. Mekhong is most closely akin to a rum with a little rice whiskey blended in.
It’s 70 proof. Strong enough to get good and drunk. But it’s not strong enough to be considered an actual rum. All rums start at 80 proof and go up from there. That’s why Mekhong is marketed as a Thai spirit.
Mekhong is obviously not a whiskey nor even remotely related and has never claimed to be one. Mekhong is no more deceiving than the ladyboy at the Bangkok bar. You get exactly what the label claims.