Lao-Lao is an integral part of Lao culture. It’s used in important blessing ceremonies and you will likely be offered a shot of the firewater (or a large glass!) in a village visit, no matter what time of day. Accepting a shot or even a sip is a sure way to make fast friends with the locals. It’s also a sure way of instantly growing chest hairs. It’s impressive how rudimentary and traditional the method is, still using an open fire and earthen jars. A sign explains the set up and you can ask to try some. You’ll find that it’s fairly neutral in flavour. Alcohol content should be around 40% — but who really knows. In case you are wondering about the name, the first word “lao” means “alcohol”. The second “Lao” is a different word spoken in a different tone; it refers to the country.
The biggest negative about Ban Xang Hai is the jars of lao-Lao containing wildlife. Whiskey with bear paws, tiger bones and snakes is believed to increase a man’s virility and sexual prowess, and they are also added to give it the wow-factor for tourists.