Intoxicating India, Part three, Alcohol

Strangely enough the third part of the Intoxicating India series is in many places in India the most tainted by stigma.

It does depend however on where you are in India how easy it is to get hold of a drink. Goa is a very laid back state and there are shops and bars selling booze almost everywhere, the ubiquitous Kingfisher beer in 660 ml bottles, I didn’t see Cobra beer even once. Indian wine which is either Cabernet Sauvignon or Chenin Blanc and is actually ok, I’m not saying it’s good here but it is ok.

The statistically best selling rum in the world is the Indian made Old Monk, running in at just under two pounds a bottle in Goa, no wonder it sells well, it doesn’t taste too bad actually but its no Prize winner.

Outside of Goa it is slightly more difficult to get hold of the dreaded booze, the government run drink shops are hidden away but recognisable by the massive queue of men outside waiting to by their bottles of Indian made foreign liquor, Old monk is great but the vodka called White Mischeif is my personal fave.

There are states where you actually need a permit to prove you are a tourist to buy booze at all and then you are rationed, Slur saw no need to visit these states.

Another interesting thing is how the wine is served, there is very little knowledge, even in big hotel bars. The bars in all but the best hotels all look like brothels and there are no Indian women there. When in Mumbai we ate in Indigo, one of Indias finest resaurants, and it really was fantastic, but we bought a bottle of oxford landing Chardonay, admittedly a good Tesco staple, for thirty pounds! I prefered the beach side restaurant in Kerala who made us an ice bucket for our Indian made wine out of a kids beach bucket covered in silver foil. Indian ingenuity at it’s best!

There is a reason why India is famous for it’s charas and not it’s wine, but if you search it out you really can find anything in India.

Intoxicating India!

Lucien Grey

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