The name Sombai may have derived from sambuca, an anise-based liqueur produced in Italy.
Indeed, this beverage takes inspiration from the Sraa Tram (or soaked wine) that Cambodians drink traditionally. Some leading establishments in Siem Reap use this liqueur to cook, prepare cocktails or accompany a whole meal in order to give a local touch, such as Chef Pola Siv at Mie Café or the Park Hyatt. There are 8 different flavours which are always a combination of 2 fruits or spices.
Even if usually consumed neat or on the rocks, the Sombai liqueurs enter in the composition of several Khmer cocktails including Asana Sling, Lemon Lemongrass Tini, Sombai Blue, Sombai Fizz, Siem Reap Monsoon, and Sombai Sour.
The workshop and its tasting parlour installed in a traditional Khmer wooden house, has become a tourist attraction in town. It also proposes products from the sister brand Joe's Cuisine (speciality foods, like spices or alcoholic jams) and Joe's Kampot Pepper Liqueur.
In popular cultureEdit
In Backup Man, a science fiction novel written by Paul Di Filippo, cocktails made of Sombai appear in a trendy bar of Washington DC: Particulate-filtering airfish drifting gently through the biolit dimness; imene tuki and Karelian rune singing on the sound system; sombai cocktails at twenty NUbucks a pop.
Sombai is considered as one of the top local brands in Cambodia.
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