Of late, homegrown Indian spirits have been setting the bar high with their top-notch compositions and evolving tastes. There's no better time than now to go local with these distinguished and inventive homegrown spirits infused with desi flavour. Uniquely Indian with a marriage of ingredients and their origin story, we list out the homegrown spirits that were a hit with the Cosmopolitan India SNA Panel.
1. Samsāra London Dry Gin
Your Goa plans may not work out, but this bottle of Samsāra will surely transport you there. Samsāra is a Goa-born, Indian craft gin with diverse spices that truly represents New Age India. Embodying a sense of exploration and freedom, Samsāra is distilled using the classic London Dry method and is crafted using 11 handpicked botanicals that include hemp seeds, rose petals, vetiver grass, green cardamom, and juniper berries. Try this floral and citrusy gin with a subtle whisper of spicy earthiness making it an exceptionally easy-to-drink tipple.
2. Stranger & Sons Gin
Stranger & Sons contains notes of juniper, gondhoraj lebu (lime), coriander, black pepper, mace, angelica root, and cassia bark—all sourced from Goa— and literally engulfs you in the sensation of familiar spices. This gin is young and forward-looking, yet at the same time rooted in our traditions and heritage. As for the taste, you can feel the aromatic, citrus mix build up gently on your palate, followed by the warming, sweet liquorice, and a spicy undertone that lingers due to the pepper! This authentic Indian gin with an illustrated label of the prowling tiger reflects upon the wondrous folklores of India. Its special infusion leads to a genuinely Indian-origin taste at home in the world.
3. Smoke Lab Vodka
Smoke Lab is India's first homegrown premium vodka, made using India's favourite rice; Basmati! A star catalyst in cocktails with a nutty flavour and floral aroma, its fivefold distillation process produces a smooth yet fiery spirit right in the capital city of New Delhi. Packaged in a modern, white bottle, it has an intense and smooth finish with a nutty aroma on the nose, accented by a tinge of citrus.
Mix up some low-calorie vodka cocktails with Smoke Lab Vodka by clicking here.
4. TERAI India Dry Gin
Terai is an exotically Indian gin named after the marshlands running along the foothills of the Himalayas. The bottle itself features a stopper reminiscent of wooden toys from yesteryears—which are handcrafted in Channapatna, Karnataka, fondly called India's 'toy town.' The label features vintage Indian coins, and the bottle is inspired by ancient Indian architecture. It boasts a flavour profile of intrinsically Indian ingredients that begins with lush green notes lifted by citrus zest, a characteristic floral bouquet, and a sweet and piney juniper aroma. On the palate, sweet and herbaceous flavours are balanced by a dry spice and savoury finish. All 11 of its botanical ingredients are sourced from the Khari Baoli— Asia's largest spice market—making it a genuinely homegrown gin.
5. Hapusā Himalayan Dry Gin
Hapusā, made by Nao Spirits from Goa, is the first Indian gin made from indigenous juniper berries. The name itself is derived from the Sanskrit word for juniper, and the botanicals that go into its making can be found all over India. The fact that it contains turmeric and mango makes it a standout gin as far as its composition goes. There are also coriander seeds, ginger, gondhoraj lebu (lime), cardamom, and almond—which are omnipresent in India. There are pine forest and wildflower notes on the nose, with a bold earthiness and a slightly smoky finish.
6. United's Epitome Reserve
United's Epitome Reserve is a real catch for true whisky enthusiasts—created especially by Diageo India. Say hello to the country's first-ever, small-batch, artisanal craft, 100 percent rice whisky. Epitome Reserve was launched in an exclusive batch of 2,000 numbered bottles, another first for India. The golden liquid blend is like no other whisky in India as it's made of locally sourced rice from the northern frontiers of Punjab. A meticulously crafted mix of woody flavours, vibrant characters of rich dried fruits, sweet toffee caramel, vanilla, and butterscotch with rich, spicy notes, the liquid is enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or with a dash of water.
Discover 10 fabulous whiskeys to add to your home bar by clicking here.