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Can a cocktail shake up tourism in Bangkok?  Feb 20, 2009

Bangkok - Cuba's got the Mojito. There's the Singapore Sling and the Manhattan. Thailand hopes a newly created drink called "Siam Sunrays" will enter the world's cocktail lexicon and help draw tourists back to the country.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand unveiled the drink Thursday, calling it "Thailand in a glass - the new punch in Thai tourism".

The cocktail consists of a shot of vodka, coconut liqueur, a dash of chili pepper and sugar, lime juice, a few slivers of lemongrass and ginger - shaken not stirred, then strained into a glass - with ice and soda water.

It's the latest strategy to revive Thailand's key tourism industry, which was battered by political protests last year that culminated in a weeklong shutdown of Bangkok's two main airports. The airport seizure stranded more than 300 000 travelers at the start of the peak holiday season, dealing a devastating blow to Thailand's tourist-friendly image.

"Successful signature drinks are one way to fast-track holiday destinations onto the world tourism map," the tourism authority said in a joint statement with the Thai Hotels Association.

Siam Sunrays was the winner of a competition sponsored by the two agencies to create a national cocktail.

"Thailand's new signature drink is based on very Thai ingredients," the statement said, adding that the drink was now available at hotels and resorts across the country.

Can a cocktail shake up tourism in Bangkok?
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