Alcohol is widely used in Bhutan and forms an essential part of Bhutanese food culture and social life. People in eastern drink alcohol much more than those in western Bhutan. The most common traditional alcoholic drink is a distilled spirit called ara, made from cereals such as maize, wheat, barley, rice and millet. A cider like drink called singchang is also prepared mostly during festive occasions from wheat and barley and fermented grains are mixed with hot water to make bangchang drink. In southern parts of Bhutan, fermented grain is mixed with cold water to be sipped through a straw.