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One of the key ingredients for making stem liquor is a grain mix of rice, corn, millet, and sorghum, all of which are ‘close to home’ to ethnic minorities living in the Central Highlands. After bringing them out from the storage sheds, Bahnar women carefully sift and wash the grains. (Photo: Hoang Qui/VOV)
The sifted grains are ready to be made into stem liquor. (Photo: Hoang Qui/VOV)
The sifted grains are crushed with wooden mortars. The finer the grains, the better the stem liquor will taste. (Photo: Hoang Qui/VOV)
Bahnar women sifting the grains to remove their husks. (Photo: Hoang Qui/VOV)
The finely crushed grains are then boiled in hot water, and stirred until the mixture is fully cooked. (Photo: Hoang Qui/VOV)
A special type of yeast is made from a mixture of sugarcane, wild chili, bitter melon, and a native plant called ‘hiam’ to ferment the stem liquor. (Photo: Hoang Qui/VOV)
A traditional cake of yeast of the Bahnar ethnic minority, made from various plants and herbs. (Photo: Hoang Qui/VOV)
The yeast cake is added into the boiled mixture of grains and left to ferment. (Photo: Hoang Qui/VOV)
The mix is then placed in containers, often wrapped tightly with banana leaves to preserve its aromatic flavor. (Photo: Hoang Qui/VOV)
Some of the best stem liquor that captures the essence of the Central Highlands is born from the skillful and dexterous hands of Bahnar women. (Photo: Hoang Qui/VOV)
Today, stem liquor still holds an integral part in the life of Central Highlanders. (Photo: Dinh A Ngui)

The art of making stem liquor by Bahnar women

(VOVWORLD) - For the Bahnar ethnic minority in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, stem liquor, also known as ‘ruou can’ or ‘ruou ghe’, is a spiritually important beverage, as it not only plays a crucial role in many of their rituals, but also helps connect people within the Bahnar community.