Spy Wine Cooler, the number one wine cooler in south-East Asia?
Beer, even semi-good beer like Beer Lao , or Angkor can get a little boring after a while, and unless you wanna go on the hard stuff like Bai Jiu (rice liquor) or cheap local vodka, then your options are few and far between. One of those options at least in Thailand and Cambodia is Spy Wine Cooler.
Alcopops, as we used to call them back in the day are not exactly rampant in most of Asia, with a big exception being Tanduay Ice in the Philippines. You’ll see a fair bit of the cheap Chinese stuff, but by volume (in Thailand anyway), Spy Wine Cooler is the mainstay of the markets in units sold.
According to their website, they have been the leading Ready to Drink brand in Thailand, and South-East Asia for the past 30 years, and at a mere 4-6% is perfect for any occasion, although perhaps not on occasions, except perhaps driving.
In 1986 the company was founded with the alleged intention of introducing “wine culture” to Thailand, and they did this by inventing Spy Classic, a sweet drink, but not exactly wine. Spy is not the sane as wine.
Thirty-four years, and a whole heap of new products later, including sugar free varieties (not tried nor do I intend to try) the product is a mainstay for those such as myself who have a sweet palate not suited to beer.
I’m now going to do the tough task of tasting every Spy Wine Cooler, as and when I can. It surely is a tough job.
Spy Wine Cooler Red
This is where Spy really reminds me of Tanduay Ice in the Philippines. O stead of having a flavour you have a colour. This was Rex flavour. How does it taste? You can tell Spy Red is derived from red wine, with the bitter he’s off wine seeking through. It’s still overall a sugary drink.
Spy kamikaze blue line
Spy kamikaze blue like sticks with colour theme of Spy Wine Coolers, but this time at least adds some ingredients. It tastes quite “blue” and is much sweeter than Spy Red. Not so much like a kamikaze. One of the most acidic of the Spy range.
Spy Classic Wine Cooler
I’ll go out on a limb and say this was the original. Probably one of the best in the Spy Cooler range. Less sweet than blue and some similarity to red. Very refreshing.
Basically the available versions of Spy in Siem Reap are somewhat limited, so it has taken a trip to the boonies of Banlung to continue the blog. So, Butterfly Kiss flavoured Spy Wine Cooler. It is sweet, but not too sweet, bubbly and has the overall taste of berries. Not the best I’ve tried yet, but far from the worst also.
Another one I can’t get in Siem Reap. I love when they name them after colours rather than you know actual flavours. It tasted so white privilege actually it tastes more like Sprite! #spywinecoolerquest? Why not.
Every day is a school day! I’ve finally got my haves on Maitai strawberry spy. This is one of my favourite Spy drinks, although it has next to nothing in common with a Maitai cocktail. This is a classic strawberry alco-pop.
Amazingly I only find new versions of Spy when I’m outside of the city. This gem was discovered at the Floating Village. It’s called Full Moon and was an extremely sweet drink of the coconut variety. Not the best, nor the worst, but I feel at least a conclusion to my Spy Wine Cooler odyssey…
Update – 30-3-22
While perusing a store n the border with Thailand in Preah Vihear I was treated to a new flavour or rather colour of Spy Wine Cooler – namely Spy Blue.
Spy Blue Wine Cooler indeed had a tang to it, did it taste blue like it’s Tanduay Ice cousin? I’d say it tasted dark blue, but also much less wine like. Overall though a decent addition to the overall Spy family of drinks.