Thursday, May 5, 2011

International Spirits: Indian country made liquor

 Daru, Arak, country made liquor; bootleg alcohol goes by many names in India, and is available in many places.  It is the distilled spirit from fruit, grain, sugarcane, coconut palm or any other substance easily fermented. The flavour of the liquor also has great variance, from smooth sipping syrup to fiery rocket fuel.  Although these concoctions are commonly drunk by locals, they can be just as toxic as they taste.
A cheaper option, and in some dry states the only choice, for getting drunk, bootleg liquor is not without its risks.  Illicit alcohol makers commonly spike the liquor with ethyl alcohol to give it a kick. Things begin going wrong when they add methyl alcohol - a potent industrial alcohol- which can easily lead to death if consumed.

Every year 100's of people in India die from drinking contaminated country liquor as one toxic batch can be lead to many deaths before the source is discovered.  If you wish to try India's illegal alcohol, be forewarned that it does present a risk albeit in most cases a slight one.

I sampled some daru in a restaurant in Udaipur.  The clear liquor had a slightly sweet flavour followed by a deep throat burn.    All in all, not great and probably not worth the risk.

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