ALCOHOLIC DRINKS OF MEDIEVAL INDIA
So like pre-kingfisher. Based on a 12th century Indian Sanskrit encyclopedia of regal hobbies. Right now I know more about this topic than is healthy or normal. There are many such lists.
- •Pale rice beerPandura sura. Made from rice or other grains. As with sake today, moulds on cooked grains were used in the process of transforming the grain starch into sugar for the yeast to ferment. Still made today in Odisha and West Bengal where is called handia or haria. Fizzy milky tasty and cooling.
- •Black rice beerKrishna sura. The Guinness of medieval India. You roast the grains in a bamboo tube till dark before brewing in the manner of the pale rice beer above. Apparently they still make something similar in Assam today called apong. If anyone is going to Assam let me know.
- •Grape wineProbably made from raisins. Mridvikasava. Still available today as a medicine. Especially in Kerala where they ferment it with fried tannic dhataki flowers in large clay pots. The ones I have had there are dark sweet and delicious. And good for circulation. Like a slightly herbal Pedro ximenez sherry.
- •Coconut toddyWidely available in south India and the date palm version too in Bengal. Fizzy milky-colored with a weird taste like beer burps. Made from the sap of the coconut flower stalk. Also can be made from palmyra palms, caryota palms and date palms. Could probably be made from the canary island date palms of Los Angeles...
- •Mahua wineUnique to India. Mahua/Mohwa. Made from madhuka flowers for over 2000 years. Bassia longifolia being the scientific name. These nectar filled flowers drop by the pound in spring and can be made into a wine which is also often distilled. Often has a moonshine vibe these days legally and socially. If India is sitting on an untapped ocean of Indo-tequila this would be it. But sadly it's deeply uncool low class associations probably prevent that.
- •Jackfruit wine.Still made today. Apparently pungent. Note that early India had a lot more types of booze than early Europe or east Asia. But gets no credit for this.
- •Sugar cane wineCalled siidhu in Sanskrit. Probably none of these drinks were distilled, so were more wine or beer strength. Something like this sugar wine still made in Philippines today. In India sugar drinks all get distilled these days as far as I know. Most cheap booze in India now is molasses based spirit flavored to taste like other drinks. Sugar cane was domesticated in India so the sugar connection is ancient.
- •Coconut water wineOnly seen this mentioned in this text. Not the same as toddy, which is made from sap, sort of like Palm tree maple syrup. This stuff is made from the contents of yoga studio rehydration boxes. Never seen being made these days.