Alcoholic drinks in Kyrgyzstan

Alcoholic drinks in Kyrgyzstan
Arak (Kyrgyz for Vodka) the most common and popular form of hard alcohol – watch out for Samagonka – home made vodka. When drinking vodka - watch your hosts – Russians tend to drain their glasses – “down in one” – and so do many Kyrgyz – but a lot of Kyrgyz only drink half the glass.


Balsaam – sometimes known by its trade name Arashan – made from a variety of local herbs and spices, this was popular in Soviet times for its medicinal properties. Slightly alcoholic, it is mixed with coffee, tea, or even vodka and is claimed to be therapeutic for treating colds, coughs and other ailments.

Cognac – Kyrgyz Cognac is the local form of brandy. It comes in various qualities some of which are quite good.

Champagne – dryish and crisp when well cooled.

Wine – Kyrgyzstan does grow grapes and does produce wine. Most of it fairly sweet and not to the visitors' taste.

Beer – many brands of imported beers are now available and a German-Kyrgyz joint venture produces Steinbrau, a German type beer brewed locally in Bishkek. Most local brands are cheaper but do not keep well and need to be drunken свежий - “fresh” (i.e. within three days).

Bozo – an alcoholic drink made from boiled, fermented millet grains – sometimes called “Kyrgyz beer”.