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10 Indian Spirits that will Knock Your Brains Out

You may have had the fruitiest of wines, strongest of beers, smoothest of champagnes, but your alcoholic journey remains incomplete if you miss out on these exotic Indian local drinks.
Royal Mawalin
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Royal Heritage Liqueur makes liqueurs that are based on recipes created by royal families from Rajasthan. There were many small kingdoms in Rajasthan until Indian independence in 1947, and each had their own recipes for liqueurs based on herbs and spices such as saffron. A bitter concoction made with dates, herbs, and spices that one participant in the seminar likened to Cynar. You can drink it straight or with soda - it has a great bitter flavor that evaporates cleanly from your tongue.


It is a hot beer made by fermenting millet. Millet is cooked and then fermented, later it is cooled and local yeast substitute is added. It is kept in a warm place for a day or two and later sealed off to ferment. The fermentation takes minimum of 7-10 days and can go on upto 6 months. It's an awesome beverage during a cold weather and is local to the Himalayan region.

Handia is a rice beer made with ranu tablets (combination of about 20-25 herbs). The ranu tablets are mixed with boiled rice and left to ferment. The drink is generally ready within a week. It is served cool and is local to Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
Apo or Apong

It is a local fermented rice beer famous in the states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The rice is roasted until it burns black, then it's allowed to ferment. It's preserved with Bhoot Jolokia pepper, one of the hottest chiles in the world. Apong is served at room temperature, and it's sweet, malty, spicy, and "pretty potent".


Feni is a strong-smelling liquor, made from cashew apples or coconut sap. It's a country liquor indigenous to Goa. Those with a low alcohol tolerance, however, might want to stick with something simpler ... like cashews. Or coconuts.

It is a rice beer local to the state of Nagaland. Zutho had a fruity aroma and sour taste and its unique aroma had characteristics similar to those of Japanese sake and sprouted rice sake.

This drink is made by fermenting 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. It is also called Tadi in Maharashtra.

It's a special type of rice beer from Assam generally served in traditional brass utensils.


Bhaang/Thandai is a famous traditional Indian drink prepared from cannabis leaves, milk, ghee, sugar and other spices.

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