Ultimate Guide to Indonesian Anggur Merah (Amer)
Who doesn’t like a good drink? If you’re wondering what kind of signature alcohol that Indonesia has, well, it is no other than Anggur Merah. Anggur Merah is Indonesia’s finest red wine, it has become the company of many young adults in Indonesia for centuries. It’s sweet and fresh taste will not only get you high for sure, but also, it’ll lead you to a tastebud journey you have never experienced before. Although Anggur Merah has been in Indonesia for many years, some people forget that Anggur Merah can be enjoyed in many ways, not just in traditional ways. So, here we give you the basics and also 5 secret recipes to make drinks from Anggur Merah.
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What is Anggur Merah?
Anggur Merah, or more commonly referred to as Amer is one of the popular alcoholic drinks in Indonesia that comes from kolesom wine. The drink is actually made as a Djamu or traditional medicine with refreshing properties, but it developed its popularity for recreational use. This drink can complete the time you spend with friends and old acquaintances while sharing stories about each people’s experience close to midnight. The drink is sweet and it has properties similar to syrup. The most popular brand and is commonly consumed for its Anggur Merah product is Cap Orang Tua. Sometimes Indonesians use the phrase “talking with the elders (orang tua),” or “chilling with parents (orang tua),” as a euphemism for drinking the product.
Anggur Merah History in Indonesia
The history of Anggur Merah or Kolesom wine in Indonesia cannot be separated from the legendary brand Cap Orang Tua. Everything starts from Chandra Djojonegoro and his sibling that started a business selling herbal wine in Semarang in 1948. Two years later, they start to work with the Lum, NV Handel Maatshappij May Lian & Co. family forming the Orang Tua Brand in Semarang. From there, the Orang Tua corporation diversified and their Amer brand ascended to the level of legend as more and more people spread the deliciousness of this recreational drink.
Anggur Merah vs Red Wine
When you translate Anggur Merah directly, then it can be understood as red wine. But it needs to be noted that what we discuss here is a type that is with traditional roots in the form of Djamu. So the taste is very different from red wine in general. Red wine will very much show its wine or grape taste, not sweet; and bitter even, with its own distinct alcohol trait. However, for Amer, there will be more taste comparable to syrup combined with its Djamu or traditional medicine taste.
What does Anggur Merah or Amer taste like?
Amer’s taste is a mix of a dominant alcoholic taste that comes from the fermentation of Kolesom wine; so it will taste a bit herbal and a bit like Djamu like its intended initial use. Other than that, there’s a sweet syrup twist that is quite dominant in Amer. The syrup element is a bit thick in the overall taste.
Is Anggur Merah or Amer Halal?
Basically, everything with alcoholic content is haram since it has the potential to be intoxicating. However, as a Djamu, which is for medicinal use, it can be categorized as ma’fu, which is to say that it is forgivable. However, in this case, we recommend that you take the consultation with your trusted Ustad/preacher or expert in accordance with your Islamic school of thought!
How much Alcohol is in Anggur Merah or Amer?
Whether it is from the Orang Tua brand or other brand, it usually has around 20% alcohol content.
Anggur Merah Benefits
Several research indicate that those with a habit of consuming Amer have a corelation with the increase of good cholesterol, increased insulin sensitivity which decreases the probability of having diabetes, decreasing the chance for stroke and heart attack, and reducing the chance for an early death. It needs to be noted that these benefits are only found in those that drink Amer in moderate consumption because if it is consumed excessively, it may cause you to die at a young age.
Those with risk of cancer are also not recommended to consume alcohol, such as smokers. So, consume it moderately: one serving for women and two for men. One serving here is understood as 12 ounce of beer with 5 percent alcohol, 5 ounce of wine with 12 percent alcohol and an ounce of liquor with 40 percent alcohol. Bototm line, don’t overdrink and be mindful of your health!
Popular Anggur Merah Brands
Anggur Merah Orang Tua
This particular brand of course dominates the scene. Even mentioning its acronym “OT” can be understood as a synonym for this Anggur Merah product. This brand is the easiest to find; you can find this almost always easily everywhere. Its sweet, syrup-like, and alcoholic trait that is balanced forms the unique trait that is hard to be beaten by other brands.
Anggur Merah Colombus
This one has lower concentration of overall contents and an alcoholic aftertaste that relatively sticks more than other brands. You won’t taste the powdery taste from the herbs but there is still traces of the Djamu taste even though the alcohol taste dominates. Because of its low contentration of contents, it does not easily make people nauseated when drinking in relatively big portion.
Anggur Merah Kawa Kawa
With deep colors indicating its content concentration, the initial taste will be delightful, but you need to watch out because the alcoholic aftertaste is quite accentuated and is a bit sour. The Djamu taste does not really dominate. The powdery taste will not show up as much, so it’s quite smooth when you try it.
Anggur Merah Macdonald
There are powdery taste in this one, and it’s a bit more textured. However, it’s sweeter than the Orang Tua brand. It won’t be as delightful to be consumed in large quantities since it can make you a bit nauseated faster. The alcoholic content is not too pronounced, and it leans a bit more on grape syrup. Perfect for those preferring sweet alcohol.
Anggur Merah Javan
The smell of alcohol is a bit more pronounced than other brands. The taste is not too distinct or delightful, but the taste of alcohol trumps the wine taste. The sweetness is less than other brands. Some might even find that the wine taste is almost non-existent.
Price of Anggur Merah or Amer
The price for Anggur Merah varies, but you can get the Orang Tua brand under Rp 100,000.00; usually Rp 65,000.00 or Rp 85,000.00. Other brands can reach up to the hundred-thousand price range.
Where Can You Buy Anggur Merah?
To find them conventionally, Amer is sold in almost any traditional medicine or Djamu kiosk or stores. The price is what made it so accessible and it being sold in any type of stores.
Amer seller online can be found in e-commerce such as Tokopedia, Blibli, and Shopee, but you can also find some in Instagram. You can find sellers that have their own delivery system specialized for each cities in social media.
Drinks Mixed with Anggur Merah or Amer
1. The Tip of The Iceberg
Many people say The Tip of The Iceberg is classic yet the most enjoyable way to drink Anggur Merah. All you need is Anggur Merah and ice cubes, put it together and there you have it. The ice cubes will make your Anggur Merah rich in flavor, its taste would be like any expensive wine that you have tried. The cold sensation is suitable for you who want to feel fresh from hard work. Here’s another secret tip for this recipe! Grab a shaker and pour The Tip of The Iceberg into it, then shake it until foams come out, and voila, enjoy the taste!
2. Rocket Queen
The Rocket Queen is another way to make your Anggur Merah unique in taste, it collides the taste of root beer and Anggur Merah, making the taste strong and not so sweet, for people who enjoy a much more neutral taste, without much taste of the fermented wine, then this is the perfect recipe for you. All you need is a measure of 3:1, three glasses of Anggur Merah and one glass of root beer, but you could adjust the recipe all you like, the more you add root beer, the stronger the taste will become. Last, add some ice cubes to perfect the taste!
3. Beer Me Up
Beer me up is probably one of the most common cocktails that people in Indonesia has made, this cocktail is quite similar to The Rocket Queen, the only difference is that you mix Anggur Merah with beer, not root beer and using a measure of 2:1, two glasses of Anggur Merah and one glass of beer. Now, you’re probably wondering what kind of beer is suited for Anggur Merah since there are lots of types of beers, well, you should try mixing it with all types of beers, here are some flavors that you’ll get :
- If you’re a beginner or you’re looking for a soft, sweet, and a variety of taste, you should definitely mix Anggur Merah with a type of ale beer (white beer, wheat beer, etc.) or malt beer, it makes Anggur Merah more sweet with floral and caramel notes in the beers and as it reduces the thickness of Anggur Merah. If you’re looking for a much softer and sweeter taste, try using the measure of 1:1.
- If you are looking for a much stronger, exotic, and thicker taste, you should definitely go for the black beer or stout beer. Its bitterness will add the exoticness in Anggur Merah, making it the dominant taste of this drink.
- If you’re looking for something strong but don’t want to lose the taste of Anggur Merah, then the lager beer is the one for you. It is, at some point, much stronger than the black beer, so, in case you don’t want to throw up, you should use the measure of 3:1, three glasses of Anggur Merah and a glass of lager beer.
Here are some extra tips! Add ice cubes and also some slices of lemon or lychee for variation in taste!
Who doesn’t know the classic Sangria from Spain? It’s a fresh wine cocktail that is perfect for a party! It’s exotic, refreshing and classic taste will blow people away especially when using Anggur Merah.
Here’s what you’ll need :
- A bottle of Anggur Merah
- 1-2 glasses of fresh fruits that have been chopped into cube shapes (orange, lemon, apple, etc.)
- 2 glasses of soda (Sprite is the best recommendation)
- ½ glass of liquor, any type (Not obligated)
The liquor will ensure the taste of alcohol since the taste of fruits and soda can be quite strong.
First, mix the fruits, liquor and Anggur Merah together, wrap it with plastic wrap and leave it for 8 hours in the fridge to ensure that the liquor and Anggur Merah can be absorbed by the fruits for a richer taste. After that, add the soda. Voila! There you have it! Don’t forget to add ice cubes for the final touch.
5. Pomegranate Mulled Wine
Would you like a more relaxing type of drink from Anggur Merah? Then pomegranate mulled wine is the cocktail for you.
Here’s what you’ll need :
- A glass of pomegranate juice
- A bottle of Anggur Merah
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 5 whole cloves
- 5 star anise
- 1 glass of pomegranate seeds
- Lemon slices or orange slices (up to you)
- ⅓ glass of honey
Over a medium heated pot, brew the pomegranate juice, Anggur Merah and honey together, make sure there aren’t any bubbles or else the alcohol will steam up, when it’s warm enough, add cinnamon sticks, star anise and some pomegranate seeds, heat it for 30-60 minutes on low heat. Don’t forget to garnish your drink with lemon or oranges. Finally! You’re finished! Drink it on a cold day or night, the warmth from the cloves and served warm will make you never want to leave the bed!
There you have 5 ways to enjoy the local taste of Anggur Merah. If you are wondering where you could buy Anggur Merah, go to the nearest herb shop or a shop called Sidomuncul, and knock yourself out! Share these recipes with your loved ones and see how they react to the new world of Anggur Merah!
Read more about Indonesian Local Liquor!