Traveling to different new places has always been fun. But trust me, your trip is incomplete without tasting the local food of those places and not to forget even the local alcohol as well. One may find the strongest beers and the smoothest champagnes around the world, but there is something more exotic and homely about the local alcoholic drinks, especially in India. The charm of desi daru is incomparable.
Surprisingly, there are many local alcoholic drinks that one may find around the various states in India that can tantalize your taste buds. These drinks can be a bit of a challenge to your food palate because of the varied tastes but it will be totally worth it. From Feni in Goa to Zutho in Nagaland, take a look at these local alcoholic drinks for a boozy weekend:
1. Toddy, Kerala
Toddy or Palm wine is an alcoholic beverage created from the sap of various species of palm tree such as the Palmyra, date palms, and coconut palms. It has a sugary taste and is famous in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, and Maharashtra. People usually drink it soon after fermentation by the end of the day, as it becomes more sour and acidic hour after hour. The flavor of Toddy varies from region to region depending on the collection and fermentation process.
2. Feni, Goa
One of the most famous local alcohols in India, Feni is the specialty of the beach destination, Goa. It is a must-have in Goa for every visitor there. There are two ways to make Feni that includes cashew nuts and coconuts. Classified as “country liquor”, it is not allowed to sell Feni outside Goa. While it may be too cool to have Feni in Goa, it’s pungent smell can be a bit disappointing and mood-killer for your boozy trip.
3. Handia, Jharkhand
The local alcoholic beverage of tribal areas of Central India like Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Orissa and few parts of Bihar, Handia is rice beer. It is prepared from rice, herbs and ranu tablets that are mixed together using 20 herbs. Apparently, it takes about a week to get Handia ready for consumption. While it has a lower alcoholic strength, it served cool for a trippy experience.
4. Zutho, Nagaland
The most popular desi daru of Nagaland, Zutho is prepared by the native Naga tribes after fermenting sprouted rice grains. The grains are mashed and fermented for days after which the liquid from fermentation is diluted and strained using bamboo container. It is a special rice wine that tastes somewhat like a sour beer but with a fruity aroma.
5. Lugdi, Manali
Have a sip of Lugdi after a long day of walk in the beautiful lanes of Manali for a refreshing time. This rice beer is made from fermented rice or barley and is found in Manali. It is quite mild as compared to other local alcohols in India.
6. Chhang, Ladakh
It is a hot beer made by fermenting millet and barley. It is specially served with a stuffing of semi-fermented seeds of millet in a barrel made of bamboo called dhungroo. Later boiling water is poured through a narrow bamboo on the drink. This local alcohol brewed is taken piping hot for a better experience. Trust me! It is an awesome beverage during a cold weather.
7. Apong, Assam
A rice beer prepared by fermenting rice, Apong is traditionally prepared by Mising tribe of Assam. There are two varieties of Apong namely – Nogin Apong and Poro: Apong. While Nogin Apong is whitish in color, Poro: Apong is a darker greenish in color. The method of preparation is also different for the two and so are the color and taste. This local alcohol is protected by the Mising tribe as a traditional knowledge of the ancestors and only they can control its production and distribution.
8. Mahua, Maharashtra
Mahua flowers are fermented to produce this local alcoholic drink, typically famous in Maharashtra. Also considered as a country liquor in India, Mahua is an essential drink in the region during celebrations and festive occasions. Main ingredients for the drink include sugarcane molasses and dried Mahua flowers that make it a colorless and mild alcoholic drink
9. Kesar Kasturi, Rajasthan
The royal liquor from Rajasthan, Kesar Kasturi is much like a whiskey that contains a blend of as many as 21 secret spices. Kasturi being one of the most important spices, Kesar Kasturi is made from exotic ingredients like dry fruits, roots and is saffron in color. It is also consumed on special occasions at an extreme level in royal families. It is a bit harsh on the throat initially so it is consumed in a limited amount so that the person doesn’t get inebriated quickly.
10. Chuwarak, Tripura
A distilled variety of local alcohol, Chuwarak is much like whiskey. It is not usually advised to drink it more after two glasses of Chuwarak because it is so high in alcoholic content that you may forget everything about the night. It is made from rice, pineapples and even jackfruit.
11. Tharra, North India
Locally produced drink in Northern India, Tharra is often brewed illegally after the yeast fermentation of sugarcane and wheat husk. It is often viewed as a crude form of rum and tastes quite bitter. It is one of the most popular local alcoholic drinks in India.
So how many of these local alcoholic drinks have you tried? And how many of these desi darus would you like to try?