These are worth a shot
By Shaan Bajaj
In the last few years, uniquely Indian spirits have seen a rise in popularity all around the world. Although we often associate whisky with countries like Scotland, gin with nations like Japan, we’re currently witnessing a true alcohol revolution coming out of India, with alcohol aficionados and small time producers aiming to make their mark on the global alcohol market. So what makes Indian spirits unique? Many of them feature botanical, herbs, and even distilling processes that are only found in our Motherland, giving each bottle aromas and essences that you can’t find in alcohol types we’ve all become familiar with. Now if you’re eager to try them, we’ve curated a list of a few brands that have made their way over the Thai border.
Stranger & Sons
Hailing from the tropical beaches of Goa, Stranger & Sons is an authentic Indian gin founded by the team behind Third Eye Distillery. What makes the gin so unique is that its flavour profile focuses on botanicals local to India and includes various herbs and spices as well as four different kinds of citrus peels. The brand launched their product in Thailand on March 2021 across a few popular bars and their presence has only grown since. Local brand advocates Kenny Thianthong (@kennythianthong), Arron Grendon (@arron_grendon) and Saimai (@Saimaibar) have aided with the popularity of the gin here as they have been serving innovative Stranger & Sons cocktails across some of the city’s best bars such as the award-winning Tropic City, ABar at the Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park, and Havana Social over the past few months. If you’re interested in a take-home purchase, you can buy a bottle from Villa Market or Gourmet Market and try one of their recipes off the brand’s Instagram page.
- Stranger & Sons, 45ml
- Indian Tonic Water, 150ml (to top up)
- Fresh ginger, 1 slice
- Chill a tall glass in the freezer few hours prior
- Cut the ginger into a thin long rectangular slice and remove the peel
- Pour 45ml of Stranger & Sons into your chilled tall glass
- Fill your glass with ice and top it up with tonic water
- Garnish with the slice of ginger
- Serve immediately
Amrut, coined the ‘Elixir of Life,’ was established in 1948 and has since grown to become a globally-recognised brand with a presence in 44 different countries. The first single malt to be made in India, their distillery is located in Bangalore, India. Here they manufacture each of their 11 variants of the whisky, including the Amrut Single Malt Whisky, Amrut Peated Indian Single Malt Whisky, and Amrut Cask Strength, among others. In 2010, the
brand shot to fame when celebrated whisky connoisseur Jim Murray named Amrut Fusion single malt whisky as the third best in the world, silencing everyone who once believed that Indian whisky was of a lower quality than its Scottish counterparts. In Thailand, Vijay Tanwani and his nephew Divesh Tanwani are distributors of Amrut. Should you want to try it, the whisky is currently available at Brewski Rooftop at Radisson Blu Plaza, Crown Cigar Lounge (Phuket), Haoma, JHOL and several other places. If you would like to purchase a bottle for your home collection, you can contact them directly (bottle prices begin at THB 2,100).
Vijay: +66 92 998 2396; Divesh: +66 86 363 4500
Launched in 2015, Bira 91 set out to bring new flavours to the craft beer scene. Their flagship taproom is currently located in Bangalore and is where they release a new
experimental flavour every week. Their range of beers are now available in 15 different countries, with three of their unique flavours being made available in Thailand
in 2021. Their Indian Pale Ale is flavoured with tropical fruits and strong bitters for a sweet and spicy taste; Bira White is a wheat beer based on traditional Belgian-style
wheat ales and it is flavoured with orange peels for a citrus kick; last but not least, a beer perfect for to sip by the pool is their Blonde Summer Lager, which is described as a “beer meant to put you in the summer state of mind, no matter the season.” Eager to try them? You can at JHOL or Charcoal Tandoor Grill & Mixology, or buy a few bottles from Villa Market, Tops Supermarket, Emporium, Siam Paragon, Blueport Hua Hin, and Makro.
NAO Spirits has bottled the snowy mountains of the Himalayas in their Hapusa Himalayan Dry Gin. The name ‘Hapusa’ is the Sanskrit word for ‘juniper,’ which is a nod to the juniper berries, and botanicals such as turmeric, ginger, cardamom, coriander seeds and more that are used to distill the gin sourced locally in India. A uniquely Indian spirit crafted in Goa, the gin is distilled in copper pot stills called ‘Agotha’ to give it even more of an Indian touch. According to gin experts, the gin has a slightly smoky flavour to it from all the botanicals, making it ideal for a variety of cocktails, gin and tonics, and in
combination with cold brewed coffees. Launched in 2018, the gin quickly became available in 10 different countries including Thailand where it is now available at Ms. Jigger at Kimpton Maa-Lai Bangkok and Teens of Thailand