What could be better than having a cold beer on a hot sunny day when surfing in Nias Island? Indeed, there is something better!
Let’s forget Bir Bintang, Heineken or Guiness for a while and taste the authentic Nias alcohol beverage instead.
ALCOHOL BEVERAGE OF NIAS, TUO NIFARO
Tuo Nifaro or Tuak Nias is the traditionally made alcohol beverage that every Surfcamp in Nias Island would recommend you to try.
The word ‘Tuak’ means palm liquor. Although Tuo Nifaro is not commercially manufactured in Nias, many visitors have been seeking this authentic alcohol beverage. For Nias community, the liquor is not just a drink, rather, a ‘mandatory’ for any celebrations. It is part of their tradition to drink Tuak in tuak foodstall that usually opens at midnight. Steetside foodstalls would serve this alcoholic beverage and the people would sit on bamboo table; gather with the other drinkers to play cards or simply discuss about daily life.
Each Tuo Nifaro has a different alcohol percentage because there is no precise standard in making one. Medium scale stalls often produce their own Tuak with larger quantity to meet the demand. So, whether or not you will get drunk, that really depends on the drink and your own health condition.
HOW NIAS PEOPLE MAKE TUO NIFARO
Palm sap is a precious liquid in Nias Island because it is used to make Tuo Nifaro. The sap of palm trees is extracted through bamboos and usually it takes the whole day to fill one container of 5 liter juice. This liquid is called Nira – the basic ingredient to make Tuo Nifaro.
After the extraction process is completed, it will be fermented for another 24 hours. The unique thing about fermenting the Nira is that it doesn’t need any bacteria because the palm already contains bacteria Saccharomyces tuac that could produce up to 5% of ethanol. This stage produces raw Tuak.
The next process is raw Tuak distillation. Using conventional equipments, raw Tuak is placed in cans that each accommodates 20 liters of this liquid. Using 4-5 meter of bamboos, the vaporized tuak is transferred into bottles. This process takes 6 hours to complete, using an extremely low heat to stabilize the consistency.
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Hogo Duo, the finest quality Tuak
The first bottle (Hogo Duo) from distillation process is the finest quality of Tuak with a very high percentage of alcohol, up to 90%. This is why, the first bottle is not for drink but often time it is used as traditional medicine to treat diabetes or stroke.
If it’s not for medicinal purpose, for every 20 liters of raw Tuak produces one Hogo Duo and four Tuak with lower percentage of alcohol. Then these 5 bottles of liquid will be combined to produce consumable Tuo Nifaro.
*For precautions, always ask your tour guide to find the recommended Tuak in town. Many Tuak manufacturers may have not legally been approved by the government.