India’s cuisine may be loved and emulated all over the world but where there’s smoke there’s fire, and where there’s curry there’s a soothing refreshment somewhere close by. Whether you’re sipping tea on the Vivek Express or drinking a cold beer overlooking the Ganges, you’ll be drinking in more than the atmosphere.

Masala chai

Chai, or tea, has been an integral part of Indian society since the British helped popularise it. One of the country’s iconic sights is a ‘chai wallah’, or ‘tea seller’, walking through the streets or a train carriage selling some of the tastiest, sweetest tea you’ll ever find. It’s cheap, it’s woven into the country’s fabric and the chai wallahs can tell you a story or two about India.

Lassi

This yoghurt-based drink is thought to be the world’s first smoothie and is popular all over India. There are a few different types of lassi on offer, though the most popular are a salty lassi, a mango lassi and the infamous bhang lassi, which is infused with cannabis and often served as part of the Holi festival celebrations.

Chaach

Chaach is often confused for lassi. While lassi is made from yoghurt, chaas is made from buttermilk, the liquid leftover when butter is churned out of cream. It’s more watery than lassi, with a slightly sour and salty taste, and spices are often added into the mix.

Kingfisher

The iconic Indian beer. Kingfisher can be found all over India and while it isn’t anything particularly special from a taste perspective, it’ll hold a special place in your heart once your time in India has come to an end. Just watch out for the ‘Kingfisher Strong’ brand; at eight per cent, it’s been known to play havoc with the uninitiated traveller’s stomach.

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