The beginning of India’s love affair with whisky

India drinks more whisky than any other country in the world, and that too by a considerable margin. Wine, beer, and other drinks have been left far behind in the race as we continue with our unwavering adulation towards the good Ol’ Whisky!

Why is whisky the drink of choice here, you ask? Well, mainly because we love the warming tipsiness, the drink brings. Whisky is also pocket-friendly and the ideal choice for binge drinking over a long evening. On the other hand, wine is costlier and often considered an elitist drink in India, which may also explain why stronger spirits outsell wine in the country.

How did our whisky affair begin?

Well, it all started with a parasite.

In the 19th century, a parasite wreaked havoc on European vineyards. Which, in turn, introduced whisky among the English elite. The shift to Scotch for the English was a pleasant surprise, and soon, the drink became a big hit!

In the course of time, whisky reached Indian shores as the British started colonizing parts of the sub-continent. Initially, we disagreed with the drink’s strong nose and palate. However, as the English began mingling with the Indian high society, the drink found takers who loved its spicy qualities. Soon, whisky evolved into a sign of taste, culture, and royalty. As the drink became more accessible with the evolution of Indian grain spirits, it became an inseparable part of the Indian drinking scene finding unique pairings with the local cuisine.

The current affair with whisky

While hard liquors make up about 88% of all alcoholic beverages consumed in our country, whisky remains way ahead in numbers and popularity. For example, beers only have a share of 10%, which is still better than the measly 2% wines command.

Today, whisky boasts a devoted fan base in India. It’s a common component at dinner parties and other celebrations. Also, whisky serves as the perfect potion for warmth and comfort during the bitter cold of November and December.

Nowadays, whisky lovers are more open to experimenting with their favorite drams. They are upgrading and trying new expressions more than ever before, and whisky has also become a hot favorite among cocktail lovers. Numerous craft cocktail bars have cropped up in the country, with metropolitan areas like Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore leading the charge. You can find an extensive range of desi whisky cocktails, too, such as Orange Zingers, Jamuntini, and Desi Whisky Sour.

Easy on the wallet!

A bottle of wine also loses out to whisky on the economies of scale. A single bottle of wine serves two or a maximum of three patrons. On the other hand, a similarly priced whisky can suffice half dozen “happy hour” lovers. It’s not that we don’t appreciate the wine culture; we simply understand economics better.

So, there you have them, our insights into the reasons why India loves its whiskies. Now that you are here, check out The Whiskypedia for popular cocktail recipes, interesting whisky facts, and much more. Keep following The Whiskypedia website and social media for more exciting articles and shorts. We bring the most exquisite whisky experiences curated just for you.