Local alcoholic beverages have lapsed into a sleepy hollow with everyone chasing foreign liquors. Neither are they given due appreciation nor exposure. Hence, we give you ten drinks to appreciated our indigenous breweries. Here’s a list that will fire some alcohol-lovers’ dreams and inspire the traveller in some.
1. Goa’s Feni – The indigenous demon drink of Goa, Feni has two varieties depending on its source – cashew nut apples and palm toddy. It’s sour, fruity flavour and versatility makes it one of the most crazed Indian liquors. You can gulp it down straight or mixed with lime, coke or any other tasteful liquid you prefer. Native advice suggests that feni should not be mixed with other alcoholic drinks.
2. Assam’s Apong – A malty, spicy and sweet spirit brewed by the Mising tribe, Apong is made from the fermentation of rice that’s roasted black and fermented with the Bhoot Jolokia peppers. Served at room temperature, a couple of drinks down, you will surely feel tipsy.
3. Rajasthan’s Kesar Kasturi- This drink from Rajasthan is concocted from 26 spices and is a winter drink. This drink also has high medicinal values due to its herb components. A burst of flavours, from aniseed to butter to natural aphrodisiacs like saffron, it’s worth a try, but, it’s not for everyone’s palate.
4. Ladakh’s Chhnang- A beer made from rice, barley or millet, it’s served semi-fermented in a bamboo and with hot water poured over it and then sipped through a narrow bore. Essentially a summer drink, it’s also served in winters in hot bowls.
5.Jharkhand’s Mahua –Illegal in Jharkhand, Mahua is obtained from the Mahua tree and is a fruity and pungent liquor. It’s a strong liquor; pure may have 20-50% alcohol content. Padel, a descendant of Darwin had famously said that Mahua beats Scotch and French wine.
6. Mizoram’s Zawlaidi – A wine made from Mizoram grapes, it has an alcohol content of 11-14%. Zawlaidi literally means ‘love potion’. It’s advised to have it in moderation unless you want to have a strange night’s love affair.
7.Bihar’s Handia – An illicit drink, take care where you procure it from, it has a very spurious content. Made by the Santhal’s, it’s made of fermented rice and a herb called ranu.
8.South India’s Kallu or Toddy – An alcoholic beverage made from Various species of palm tree like dates and coconuts, it ferments within hours and has a 4% alcohol content. Depending on the source or the type of palm, the taste may range from sweet to bitter.
9.Nagaland’s Zutho- A drink of Angami Nagas, it’s a local rice beer found all over Nagaland. It has a taste akin to Japanese sake and has a 5% alcohol content. Zutho has a distinct fruity and sour taste.
10. Kinnaur’s Ghanti – Transparent like Vodka, Ghanti is a riot of flavours made of peaches, wild apricot, grapes and apples. The locals are hooked to this tipple, we bet you’ll be too(the locals are aggressively against all foreign liquors).
Now don’t they deserve some attention?
Ready, steady (unsteady), drink!