Chopstick Cinema

Celeste Heiter's Adventures in Asian Food & Film

Beverages to Go With My Monsoon Wedding Curry Dinner

Indian cuisine includes a wide variety of both spirited and non-alcoholic beverages. Chai is a hot beverage made with black tea, milk, and sugar, spiced with cinnamon, cloves, ginger and cardamom. Lassi is a cold milk beverage, similar to buttermilk, and is sometimes mixed with the pulp of fresh mangoes. Shikanjami is fresh limeade, Kanji is a cold beverage made with fermented carrots, and Thandai is a milk beverage seasoned with various seeds and nuts.

India also produces beer, wine and whiskey. Beer was first introduced to India during the British colonial era, when a hearty variety called India Pale Ale was brought over from England in ships. Breweries were soon established all over India, with Lion Beer being its oldest commercial brand. Lion is still produced today, along with many other brands, including Kingfisher, Cobra, Guru, Indian Tiger, Kalyani, Khajuraho, and Taj Mahal. Rice beer is also produced in the northeastern regions.

Wine has been an integral part of Indian culture and cuisine for thousands of years, however, varietal wines similar to those of France, Italy, Germany and California, have not been produced in India until recently. Most wine produced in India is made from imported varietals such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, blended with domestic grapes. The most common labels include Costa & Company, Grover Vineyards, Indage Group, Shaw Wallace, Sula Vineyards, Vinbros & Co., and Omar Khayam, a sparkling wine.