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Patiala Peg: How Maharaja Bhupinder Singh Devised The Jumbo Classic Toast

Published on 8 June, 2017 at 5:52 pm By

Ever heard of Diljit Dosanjh’s popular song ‘Patiala Peg’? North Indians widely use this term when it comes to parties and drinks. However, most of us have no idea how the term came into existence.


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A “Patiala Peg” is not just a mere glass of whiskey but has evolved as a matter of pride and masculinity over the years. The rough volume of a Patiala Peg is around 120 ml. This is roughly four small or two large drinks in colloquial terms. However, the typical way to measure a Patiala Pe” is to hold your index finger and little finger parallel to the side of your glass and pour till that level. The measure of the index and middle finger is also widely in use.

 

“Patiala Pegs” are only requested by those who cherish whiskey. It is not prevalent to ask for one when you prefer vodka or other spirits.

Main reason behind the name “Patiala Peg”:

Though there are many theories behind this characteristic term, the one which revolves around Maharaja Sir Bhupinder Singh is well known. Bhupinder Singh is known for living an extravagant life with 365 women (queens as well as concubines) in his palace and more than 27 Rolls Royce cars. He is also known for owning the beautiful Patiala Necklace which had 2930 diamonds including the world’s seventh largest, called De Beers. The founder of the State Bank of Patiala, he lived life absolutely king size.

 



It is believed that the Maharaja had a polo team consisting of legendary Sikh warriors. Once, he invited the Irish team, Viceroy’s Pride, for a friendly tournament of ‘tent pegging’ (a game where players on horseback have to collect small objects with their spears). The members of the Irish team were as influential as their Sikh counterparts. Wondering if they might lose the match to the Irish, the Maharaja served them a feast with enormous drinks, the day before the match.


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On the day of the match, the Irish team woke up dazed and wobbly. This affected their game and they did not play their best. When they went to the Maharaja and complained about their drinks, he famously replied, “Yes, in Patiala our pegs are large!” According to captain Amrinder Singh’s (Grandson of Maharaja Bhupinder Singh) biography, it was actually a cricket match against the Irish instead of tent pegging.

 

Another theory refers to similar parties thrown by the Maharaja but instead of pouring drink after drink to keep themselves entertained while they waited for him, people would just pour one enormous peg and sip it all evening. Thus, the term “Patiala peg”.

Whatever be the origin of the term, it is fascinating to note how this term has become an attribute of pride and indulgence,especially for people from Delhi and Punjab.


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