While travelling around in India, don’t order a beer with the local cuisine. You must have had the choicest of wines, strongest of beers and the smoothest vodkas, but your alcoholic journey in India remains incomplete if you miss out on these local drinks. These are alcoholic drinks brewed by the locals which can excite your taste buds. Each Indian state has a popular array of drinks that are unique and refreshing. Let’s take a look at some of the best ones –
Consumed in Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
This is a rice beer made with a herbal root ‘ranu’ which is a combination of 20-25 herbs. It is served cold and is usually presented as a gift or dowry. Few tribals believe that they can survive without any food for 10-15 days, post consumption of this drink. The tribal folks consume this drink to avoid sunstrokes too. The drink also has a socio-cultural significance for occasions like marriages.
Consumed in Mizoram.
This is a grape wine famous for its bubbly and smooth taste. It literally means ‘love potion’ and it can sweep one of his/her feet completely. It is produced in a small village of Hnahlan and almost 80% of this village population is employed in the manufacturing of this wine. It is one of the cheapest wines in that category.
Consumed in Goa.
This alcoholic drink is made out of either cashew-nuts or coconuts. It is also used for making various cocktail mixes. Feni is the first alcoholic drink in India which has a Geographical Indication (GI) registration sign, a sign that authentic Feni can be sourced from Goa. Feni generally consists of 43-45% of alcohol content.
Consumed in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
Apo or Apong is fermented rice beer made by roasting rice till it is black after which it is fermented. It is preserved with black pepper and thus tastes sweet, malty and spicy at the same time. This alcohol comes in two types, NoginApong and Poro Apong. Their methods of preparation are different and hence, they differ in taste and colour.
Consumed in Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh & Maharashtra.
This is one of the simplest drinks made by overnight fermentation of the sap of coconut tree or palm tree. The alcohol content yielded depends on a number of hours it is set aside for fermentation. It is also known as tadi in Madhya Pradesh and Kallu in Andhra Pradesh. Serious work benefit is Kerala includes tree climbers extract the juice from the tree & drink it while working.
Consumed in North India.
The tradition of consuming Bhang Thandai during the Indian festivities like Holi & Mahashivratri is very common all over India, especially in North India. It is made with Cannabis leaves, milk, ghee, mangoes, sugar, Indian spices. It has been a part of Indian customs for thousands of years now.
Consumed in Rajasthan.
This is a heritage liquor from Rajasthan which made even Roger Moore its fan. It is a spirit made with saffron and 22 other spices. The recipe for making this was passed on from generation to generation and was secretly guarded. Initially, it was only meant for royal folks for consumption and was ultimately made commercial a few years ago. It is completely flavoursome and smooth and is quite potent.
Other local Indian beverages that haven’t made to this list include Zutho, which is consumed in Nagaland. Kinnauri Ghanti and Lugdi which are consumed in Himachal Pradesh. Mahua consumed in Maharashtra, Chhang consumed in Ladakh and Chuwarak consumed in Tripura.
Do try these special brews and appreciate the art of brewing liquors in India.