India is like a reservoir to the thirsty traveller, each part of the country has its own indigenous brew and each brew has a different and exotic flavor. Indian drinks range from Chaang in the North to Toddy in the South, Bangla in the East to the traditional Kesar Kasturi in the West.
The drinks are flavored as per the preference and culture of the area. Here is a list of popular Indian drinks to quench the thirsty traveller:
Chaang is a traditional drink popular in the eastern Himalayas. Besides the comfortable mild high that this drink provides, it also gives the person a natural feeling of warmth and is hence consumed in winters to keep warm. This traditional concoction is prepared by brewing rice or millets into a mild Ale like
This traditional concoction is prepared by brewing rice or millets into a mild Ale like drink. Chaang is consumed in a barrel of bamboo called “Dhungro” through a narrow pipe-bore bamboo called “Pipsing”. This is a must try on a trip to the lower reaches of Mt. Everest or Lahaul.
This colorless rice spirit is peculiar to the West Bengal region. This spirit is prepared by the fermentation of starch. It is a nourishing drink that sells under various brand names including “Bangla” and “Toofan”. It has a whopping 50% alcohol content and is a fabulous base for summer cocktails.
Palm Toddy popularly known as “kallu” is a type of palm wine peculiar to South India. This wine is prepared by fermenting and spicing sap collected from the Lala palm trees. This drink is s usually consumed soon after fermentation by the end of day, as it becomes increasingly sour and acidic and often tastes like vinegar.
This drink is sold at the toddy shops in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and is usually consumed at the end of the day after work. This drink contains the perfect taste of the earthy spices of South India.
This is considered as a royal beverage from the land of the Rajputs, and contains 21 exotic fragrant spices including real saffron. This drink is taken in small amounts due to its rich composition but it gives the palate a royal experience. This drink gives the traveller a taste of the grandeur of the Rajputs of Rajasthan.
This is a rice beer that is available in the states that have substantial tribal populations. It is used as a refreshing drink in the summer. This drink is prepared by fermenting the rice by the tribal people by using “ranu tablets”, which is a mixture of herbs. The recipe for this drink and the procedure to make Hadia differs from village-to-village, as the procedure is passed along generations.
Photo by Horsten, Public Domain
This country liquor is specifically found in Goa. Feni can have either a coconut or a cashew base. This drink is popular for its delicate aromatics, congeners and the flavor elements of the juice from which it was produced.
The alcohol content in Feni ranges from 42-45% depending on the region of its production. The coconut Feni is available year-round but cashew Feni is seasonal and is only distilled from February to May. This drink is a must have on a trip to Goa.
Thus, India is a paradise for people who prefer earthy indigenous brews and offers a wide range of local specialties to cater to any palate. The drinks in India vary from state to state and locally within different tribes and areas. The sheer varieties of the different brews are an astonishing feature.
Beverages in India are a strong reflection of the local produce and their preparation resonates the culture of the area they are peculiar to.
This post is written by Rohit Agarwal
Rohit is an avid wanderer who quenches his thirst for new adventures by travelling. He journals his experiences on websites like Trans India Travels.