From the wines of Napa Valley to the beers of Bangkok, every country has its own rendition of alcoholic drink, that is crucial to be consumed with sessions of local anecdotes.
Home to various tribal communities who have been brewing their own alcohol for generations, Indian liquors come with a history, local legends and a guarantee to give the expensive scotches a run for their money.
From the Himalayan mountains, to the Goan beaches, we bring to you our top five picks of local liquor that might make you reconsider your favourite alcoholic choices:
Under a chilly Himalayan night, there’s nothing better to keep you warm, than a glass of “Chhang”. The ingredients, millet, barley, and rice are first boiled in a bamboo and once cooled down, the fermentation process begins by adding yeast. The mixture is then stored for three or four days before being served in a bamboo jar for consumption.
Widely popular in the eastern Himalayan region of Sikkim, this drink comes attached with a mythical past. Famous not just amongst humans, but also offered to deities in religious ceremonies, legend has that due to an ancient curse, anyone who drinks Chhang will yearn for more.
A very common intoxication for the northern parts of the country, Bhaang is deemed to be an alcohol consumed by God himself. Weaved closely with the tale of the mighty god “Shiva” this drink is served as part of many festivities, the common one being Holi.
Cannabis or Marijuana leaves are crushed into a paste, then mixed with milk, ghee, fruits and certain other Indian spices to finally get the end product of Bhaang. The streets of Varanasi or “Banaras” is where the truly authentic experience of Bhaang lies hidden. With government licensed shops selling it for minimal expenses, this drink will definitely make your trip to India a memorable one.
A drink hailed as superiority by Roger Moore, has got to be on our list. During his shooting of the Bond film, Octopussy, the veteran actor got hooked on to this Rajasthani local liquor.
Originally created exclusively for the royalty of Rajasthan, since the abolishment of the monarchy, the drink is now available for commercial purchase.
Made from exotic ingredients like saffron, dry fruits, herbs, nuts, seeds, roots and other indigenous spices, this mixture is first blended with ghee (clarified butter), milk and sugar and then distilled into alcohol.
The drink “toddy” is also known as palm wine and is indigenous to the streets of Kerala. A famous drink of South India, witnessing the process of creating “toddy” is an experience in itself. The buds of the palm flowers on the palm trees are cut open and beaten with a hammer to extract the juices. These juices in the form of a milky liquid are then collected in clay pots tied to the tree. The clay pots are stored away for fermentation and then sold in glass bottles in several shacks of Kerala.
With an alcohol content of 8.1%, this drink is considered as a health drink in Kerala. Pair your toddy with a spicy beef or fish curry for a relishing experience.
Goa is famous amongst locals and foreign travellers for two things – its exotic beaches, and its cheap alcohol. The next time you’re sunbathing in the white sands, thinking about which beer to order, opt for the local liquor “Feni” instead.
Prepared with ripened cashew apples cultivated in the field of Goa itself, these apples are crushed to get the juices out. The fermentation process occurs by storing these juices in earthen pots and burying them underground for days.
Feni is infamous for getting consumers high with just one single bottle, and the sale of this drink outside the state of Goa is illegal. With the competition it provides to its rivals, we definitely understand why.