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Made In India: Liqueurs



Made In India: Liqueurs

Give the Irish a break, sip on a homemade brew this summer

So you know your herbal liqueurs from fruity ones, the different colours curacao can create in cocktails and the difference between cordials, liquors and schnapps. But how many of you know that you can get freshly brewed orange liqueur in Goa? Or that saffron liqueur is brewed by the royal families of Rajasthan? If this comes as news, read on to know about 5 home-brewed liqueurs worth the money (and occasionally the effort required to procure them!).

1. Royal Mawalin

The best, most authentic of Indian liqueurs are actually produced as per recipes that have been preserved and passed on from generation to generation in Rajasthan’s royal families. The Royal Heritage Liqueur series by Rajasthan State Ganganagar Sugar Mills Ltd is a herbal delight. The Mawalin, one of the many flavours they produce, is a blend of 38 herbs, dried fruits and spices, and is in fact great for common ailments such as cold. Also try Royal Chandr Haas, with an 80-herb recipe dating back to 1863.

2. Sikkim Cardamom Liqueur

Possibly the least known is Sikkim Distilleries, which happens to be one of the oldest, established in 1954 in East Sikkim. We like their cardamom liqueur the best, made using the peculiarly flavoured locally grown cardamom. But also worth trying are their other flavours such as ginger, coffee, cherry brandy and crème-de-menthe. The only one a bit too experimental and Indianised for our tastebuds is the paan liqueur, try at your own risk! For the rest, know that the availability is limited and you might have to beg friends visiting the Northeast to do the favour.

3. Cabo Coconut Liqueur

Goa and liquor go hand in hand, and we don’t just mean the cute and cheap beers or the lethal feni. Of all the Indian liqueurs, it is Cabo that is better known, at least as far as the beach-state’s regulars are concerned. Developed by Adinco Distilleries in Goa, it is a liqueur made with white rum and coconuts – could it get any more deliciously Goan? Perhaps, if you whipped up a Pine Colada!

4. Voodoo Classique Cream Liqueur

Voodoo is another Goa product, though its composition is more Italian. This cream liqueur is made by Nouveau Impex, who have tied up with Dr Sandro Pontillo of Flavor Chimica from Italy to produce Voodoo with a distinctly Italian whiskey flavour and fresh Indian dairy products. Voodoo is brewed at the premises of Adinco, so you can buy both this and Cabo in one go.

5. Desmondji Orange Liqueur

Citrusy liqueurs are in fact a better choice than cream-based ones as far as summer goes. Especially if you fancy mixing it up. Oranges from Nagpur and pure Indian sugarcane are distilled to produce this slightly bittersweet orange liqueur, which works quite well in cocktails such as Cosmopolitan. Desmondji’s other liqueur is Blue Curacao, pitching them as distinctly cocktail centric.

Image Credit: (1), (2), (3)




Mineli Goswami is a 24-year-old Assamese-East Indian, which usually translates into pretty good weekend feasts. When she’s not at her desk struggling with poetry – more often than she’d like – she’s seen wasting time on an assortment of things such as lugging an antique SLR, breaking nails climbing boulders, and chasing turtles. She’s graduated in history and has an unofficial PhD in Bandra-style jiving.

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