India Today - - LEISURE -

In­dia has al­ways had an iden­tity cri­sis about al­co­hol: is it a per­ni­cious colo­nial hang­over or sec­u­lar plea­sure? De­spite the ris­ing tide of pro­hi­bi­tion, whisky con­sump­tion is one of the few fields in which our coun­try leads the world (we’re talk­ing quan­tity, not qual­ity). The coy­ness con­tin­ues, but some high-spir­ited en­trepreneurs have come up with new tip­ples that show­case our na­tional ge­nius for spir­i­tual ab­strac­tion.

With pre­mium In­dian whiskies like Am­rut and Paul John win­ning in­ter­na­tional prizes, you might think that our less cel­e­brated wine-mak­ers might have a case of you know… sour grapes. In­stead the clever peo­ple at Sula em­braced the ancient In­dian con­cept of ju­gaad and pro­duced a ‘pre­mium whisky’ called Eclipse, us­ing a com­bi­na­tion of grape spir­its (some­thing they are pre­sum­ably not short of) and a dash of Cap­tain Had­dock’s favourite sin­gle malt, the Loch Lomond. An English Wine of sorts.

Af­ter de­mon­eti­sa­tion and its dis­con­tents, In­dia’s big brew­ers are bank­ing on a good hot summer of chilled beer. A dozen new brands are ex­pected to be rolled out this year. Craft beers are the next big thing and strong beers have al­ways been in­or­di­nately pop­u­lar. No won­der Carls­berg de­cided to lead the way with their lat­est of­fer­ing Tuborg Clas­sic—a ‘pre­mium strong beer with Scotch malts’. Sounds like it re­quires at least two cheers: skål and slàinte.

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