Let’s toast to these local alcoholic beverages!
Alcohol and its inebriated effect have existed across all the cultures of the world. From historical times different societies have developed their own way of processing beverages. However the Indian society varies in the culture of social drinking it has never been teetotaler. Though majority of our society holds a scrupulous view to the drinking culture, the love for alcohol prevalent in the society is an open secret.
We present you a list of local alcoholic beverages which you can explore in diverse regions of the country.
Intoxicated States– Jharkhand, Bihar, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Handiya is basically a rice beer which is prepared by fermenting rice with the help of ranu tablets. Ranu is a mixture of twenty to twenty-five herbs which acts as fermenting agent. This brew which is sometimes also called ‘poor man’s beer’ takes about one week to ferment and is a light alcoholic drink. This sacred drink is offered to Gods by many Adiwasi community of the state and holds a vital social and religious significance. It is also an indispensable part of the weddings and other functions of tribal community. The making and selling of this brew is a major source of livelihood in the associated states. Hadiya is also considered as a vital panacea for Jaundice which helps in keeping the body temperature cool.
Intoxicated States – Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, and Jharkhand.
Few sips of this highly concentrated alcoholic brew are enough to take you under the influence. Mahua is made from the dried Mahua flowers which are commonly found in abundant Mahua trees of central India jungle. This is fermented with ranu tablets and then distilled into the alcoholic brew. It’s a little risky drink which sometimes turns to be life threatening.
- Toddy/Kallu/Palm Wine
Intoxicated States – Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand.
Toddy is nothing but a Date Palm juice extracted from the trunk of the Pine tree by cutting its shell and placing a vessel to collect the juice. Within 2-3 hours the pot gets filled and for a day it can be consumed as fresh, sweet, energetic and healthy drink. However from the next day onwards it turns to be an alcoholic drink which is consumed for a mild hangover. Longer will be the fermenting period; stronger will be the alcoholic effect.
Possessing a dual ironic quality, this drink is famous not only in various regions of India but also in many parts of the world. This mild and sweetish drink can easily traced at local liquor shops.
Intoxicated States – Ladakh and Sikkim
This rice or millet based alcoholic drink is very popular in the Himalayan regions encompassing Ladakh, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet and Northeast India. This mild and sweet brew is prepared by fermenting rice/millet/barley with yeast in bamboo barrels. From religious offering to welcome the guest, Chhang is an important socio-culture part of Ladakh and Northeast India. This low alcoholic beverage is supposed to possess many healing properties.
Intoxicated State – Mizoram
This famous Mizoram grape wine is an important source for the state’s economy. Zawlaidi which means ‘love potion’ is a low-alcohol fermented brew which is extremely popular in the state.
Intoxicated States – Goa
Being the most acquainted local drink of India, Feni doesn’t need an introduction. Exclusively produced in Goa, this popular drink is prepared from cashew apple or coconut. Feni is double/triple distilled spirit that takes four days to ferment. Widely taken by locals as well as visitors, the drink is used to mix with cocktails and juice and get unique flavours. Being one of the cheapest options in Goa, Feni is a part of large business market in Goa.
Intoxicated States – North India especially Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana.
Tharra is a local drink prepared by fermenting sugarcane or wheat husk. Usually an illegal brew, Tharra contains large alcohol content and is consumed by poor people.
Intoxicated State – Tripura
Chuak is Trupuri rice beer usually drunk on social occasions of Tipuri community. Many times it is offered to village elders while celebrating an occasion.
- Sekamai Yu
Intoxicated State – Manipur
The drink, Sekamai Yu derives its name from Manipur’s town Sekhmai which is famous for its locally produced rice beer and wine. Although the sale of this brew is banned by government, it can be found selling in the town in evening.
Intoxicated States – Kerala and Karnataka
Originally an Indonesian brew, Arrack is one the oldest and lost distilled spirits of the world. Said to be the parent of all the modern selling beverages, Arrack is now lost liquor produced in India, Sri Lanka, Philippines and Java. Very sweet and pleasant in its taste, Arrack is made from the fermented sap of sugarcane, fruit or coconut flowers. Although a banned item, this liquor is widely popular in south India and still sold in licensed shops.
So, now you have a list of local tantalizing liquors to dull your sense.
Cheers, let’s drink to the alcoholic culture.