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Vietnamese distillers bottle the spirit of old Indochine

Rum and gin ride a new wave of popularity from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City

Sampan Rhum's dedication to old-fashioned purity has paid off, with the label winning gold medals at prestigious spirits competitions in San Francisco, London and Paris.

HO CHI MINH CITY -- For all the horrors of Southeast Asian colonialism, we've somehow romanticized the idea of the 5pm cocktail hour: safari-suited revelers trying to alleviate the humidity with a stiff gin-and-tonic in the former British and Dutch enclaves, or something rum-based in French Indochina.

While such traditions soon melted away in the wake of independence -- there are signs of its reemergence, in the best possible way.

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