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 beverage somewhere close by. Whether you’re sipping sweet, milky chai on the Vivek Express or drinking a cold beer overlooking the Ganges, sitting down to drink one of these popular Indian beverages is a great way to drink in the atmosphere.
1. 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 delicious, it's cheap and it’s woven tightly into the country’s fabric. When you buy a cuppa from a chai wallah, we have no doubts they'll be able to tell you a fascinating story or two about India.
This yoghurt-based drink is thought to be the world’s first smoothie, and it's super popular all over India. There are a few different types of lassi on offer, though the most popular include salty lassi, mango lassi and the infamous bhang lassi, which is infused with cannabis and often served as part of the Holi festival celebrations.
Chaach is often confused for lassi. While lassi is made from yoghurt, chaach 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 sweet or savoury spices are often added into the mix to provide Ayurvedic benefits. Chaach goes down very well on a hot day.
Kingfisher is the iconic Indian beer. It 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.
Our tours in India