If I would have to say what is the drink that better represents India, without a doubt Chai would be my answer. This sweet spiced tea is incredibly addictive! To prepare it, the best back tea is boiled in a mixture of milk and water with a blend of spices (cardamom, fresh ginger, cloves, cinnamon,…) and sugar. Every masala chai is different from the others, and every household has their own particular way of preparing it but they are all just incredibly tasty. After tasting the Indian Chai I don’t know if I’ll be able to get used to Irish Barry’s tea again. Good coffee can also be found in India, but mostly in the south where locals tend to replace the chai with coffee that is brewed in the area.
Many are the options to calm the thirst on those hot days when visiting India, from the fresh fruit juices to the different soft drinks such as Slice (mango flavored drink), 7th up (soda), Limca (lemon & lime fizzy drink), Thumbs Up (Indian cola) and the usual Sprite, Coke, Mountain Dew and Fanta. But our favorites were fresh lime soda and Mirinda (which brought Isma many memories from his childhood).
Beers, wines and spirits aren’t too widely available in India (both taxes and religion have something to do with this). In many bars and restaurants you won’t find any alcoholic beverages in the menu, but if you ask for it they might sell it to you under the table. Aside KingFisher and King’s (that we tried in Palolem), we didn’t get to find any other local beer. In Palolem we also found an Indian rum named Old Monk, which was sold to us as the rum that the Indian soldiers used to drink, and true or not we gave it a go!
And of course, I can’t forget to mention lassis, a yogurt and fresh fruit smoothies that are so good for breakfast. Plain and banana lassis are the most traditional ones, but in Jodhpur they have a special lassi flavored with saffron and butter, yummm so good!