Beer may still be the Cambodian tipple of choice, but Francophone Battambang is doing its best to diversify the range of alcoholic drinks on offer. Around 10km south of town, the Phnom Banon Vineyard is the country’s first winery, producing a range of reds including Shiraz and Vietnamese Black Queen varieties. The results, by common consent, leave quite a lot to be desired, although with an annual production (and, presumably, consumption) of more than six thousand bottles they must be doing something right. More palatable are the various palm wines and spirits on offer around town (try Pomme d’Amour or Madison Corner), including assorted brews produced by the Confirel group (confirel.com). These include the feisty Jaya Palm Spirit (40 percent), tasting a bit like brandy, and Kirel Palm Wines (8–11 percent), available in ginger, pineapple and “original” flavours – the last resembling a slightly raw but very drinkable Spanish fino.

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