The Thai Sabai has been called the national cocktail of Thailand. I stumbled upon it on the menu of ESS Restaurant on the Bangkok riverfront. After a quick internet search, I learned of its prominence.
The drink is based on Mekhong Whiskey, native to Thailand. This liquor is somewhere between rum and whiskey, possessing a totally unique barrel-aged flavor.
The recipe is simple (the best cocktails are) and is similar to a basil gimlet. I was impressed at the first sip. The interplay of Thai basil and Mekhong Whiskey is complex and delicious. This drink is at the same time familiar and unlike anything I've ever had.
At home, big stores like Total Wine or ABC should be able to acquire Mekhong if they don't already stock it. If you can find real Thai basil at an Asian grocer, I would make this the next new cocktail you try at home. It is one of my favorites of this whole trip around the world.
1 shot Mekhong Whiskey
1 shot lime juice
1 shot simple syrup
6 leaves Thai basil lightly muddled
Shake ingredients together and serve over ice with lime wheel and basil garnish
*Interesting note: most of the rest of the world doesn't differentiate between limes and lemons. Many places we've been don't even get yellow lemons. This recipe from the bartender says lemon, but lime is actually used.