The whisky culture in India has evolved with passing years and with 1.2 billion population, we won’t be surprised at the fact that India drinks way more than any other country. According to a research, India drinks more than 1.5 billion litres of whisky every year. However, it’s amazing to note that there is no set way to drink bourbon across the world. One can enjoy it neat or with an ice cube during winters and one can also mix it with ginger ale in a tall glass, for a perfect summer DIY drink.
In an exclusive conversation with Brand Ambassador of Grants Whisky India, Rohan Bhardwaj, speaks about culture and pattern in which Indians drinks and why is whiskey the liquor of all seasons.
The shift in whisky consumption patterns in India
India is the biggest whisky market in the world and certainly a unique one. Whisky seems to be the country’s favourite drink and rightly so, the complexity and versatility that Scotch whisky offers as a spirit is second to none. In the recent years, the rise of Scotch whisky consumption in the country is a fantastic indication that people are upgrading from other spirits available in the country to scotch whiskies. The ever-expanding middle class in the country also means that scotch whiskies are now accessible to more people than ever and would continue to do so.
Factors driving the rise of the whiskey-cocktail culture
Whisky cocktails have existed for more than a century now and have a massive following all over the world. In the last 3-4 years, the love for whisky cocktails in the country has risen tremendously thanks to some really cool cocktail bars in the country. Just 3-4 years ago, there were a handful of cocktail bars in the country but now people are spoilt for choice, and there are at least 5-6 excellent cocktail bars in almost every major city in India.
The second and most important factor that I believe has been instrumental in the rise of cocktails in India has been the amount of travel that our generation is going through. Our generation is the most travelled of any other generations and with travels comes the exposure to food and drink cultures globally. As more and more people travel outside of India, they experiment with different drinks and food which leads to them asking for the same cocktails when they get back to India.
Whisky suit different moods
Whisky is a drink for all moods and climates. I love enjoying Grant’s with some ice and ginger ale after a long day at work as it is a very refreshing drink, something that you need to get over that tiring 8 hours at work when you catch up with friends. At the same time, if I am in a mood for a summer cocktail- I love Grant’s Blood and Sand, a cocktail made with Grant’s whisky, orange juice, vermouth and cherry Heering. Grant’s whisky is a very versatile whisky and can be enjoyed in numerous ways- whether it be neat or in a cocktail. Our triple wood maturation ensures that you get that extra smoothness and richness in your glass.
Tips on some hot whisky and food pairings
A great thing about Scotch whisky is the wide range of flavours that it offers- from your peated Islay whiskies to more fruity and nutty Speyside whiskies. This wide range of flavours and complexity helps makes Scotch whisky a great partner to cuisines from all over the world.
That said, Grant’s is a blend of some of the most amazing malt whiskies from across Scotland which gives it a great balance, complexity and depth of flavour. This complexity and richness make it a perfect match for the rich Indian flavours that you usually find on Indian dinner menus across the country. Pairing Scotch whisky with Indian food is one of the most delectable experiences for your taste buds. The spiciness, subtle smokiness and fruity notes of Grant’s whisky are a great accompaniment for a lot of north Indian tandoor cuisines like Tandoori Chicken and also spicy foods like Kadhai Chicken. Add a couple of ice cubes to your Grant’s which would and you would love it if paired with some butter chicken or black Daal.
The key to pairing whiskies with food is simple: Spicier, bold whiskies go well with spicy food and stronger flavours. Lighter, floral and more delicate whiskies work with delicate flavours.