Nepal, the land of the Himalayas, has a rich cultural heritage that is intertwined with local alcohol. The country is famous for its indigenous alcoholic beverages, also known as local booze. These beverages are an essential part of Nepalese culture and traditions, and their production and consumption have been passed down from generation to generation. Nepal has a long history of producing local alcoholic beverages that are made from different ingredients, including rice, millet, wheat, barley, corn, and fruits. These drinks are made by fermenting the ingredients, and the alcohol content ranges from mild to strong. They are usually consumed during special occasions and celebrations such as weddings, festivals, and religious ceremonies.
Brewing and drinking alcohol are centuries-old customs in many communities. Many households still make their own beer to prepare alcoholic beverages for customary ceremonies and gatherings of family and friends. Nepal is home to a wide variety of regional alcoholic beverages, the majority of which are native and produced in a distinctive manner. Here are some alcoholic treats to enjoy while visiting Nepal:
Raksi is also referred to as Kodo ko Raksi, Local Raksi, or Arak, which means millet-based alcohol. Currently, the term “raksi” refers to all alcoholic beverages, but historically, it was used to describe a particular alcoholic beverage that was made locally from millet, rice, and wheat. The type of grain used affects the flavor of raksi. It has a 20 to 30 percent alcoholic content and is a powerful beverage like vodka and beer. “Rakshi is intense on the nose and sends a burning feel straight down to your throat,” they remark, “which is surprisingly a smooth, velvety sensation.” In Nepal, it is a must. Raksi is known for its distinctive flavor and aroma, which is attributed to the unique fermentation process that involves using a starter culture called “Jand.”
Chyang is created from fermented rice, giving it a somewhat foggy appearance and a little sour flavor that is similar to mild cider. It ranks as the second-most popular native beverage in Nepal. The elder generation views Chyang as a potent beverage, whereas the younger generation, which is accustomed to managing strong drinks like vodka, views it as a moderate beverage. No matter how much the alcohol business has changed or will continue to change, the chyang’s unique blend of sweet and sour flavors cannot be replicated. And the fact that chyang is still the most popular beverage in Nepalese society demonstrates its steadfast irreplaceability. Chyang is one of the most used elements in ceremonies in the Tamang people. Additionally, Newars, Sherpas, and Rai favor it.
The Limbu people, as well as members of other kirati communities and numerous other ethnic groups in Nepal, drink it as a traditional and native beverage. The Rai and Limbu people value it highly from a religious standpoint. In their culture, offering tongba is a sign of respect. Tongba is the name of a container that stores alcohol. However, modern alcohol and container are referred to as tonga. Millet is cooked and fermented to make it. The millet is then placed in the container, hot water is added to the container, and the millet is now ready to be consumed.Tongba functions wonderfully in the bitterly cold month of December. But it also works well in the summer. The drink is consumed through a straw-like pipe called “pipsing,” which is used to suck the drink out of the container.
Every restaurant in Nepal serves the popular desi tequila cocktail known as “Aila,” which has a high alcohol content. Aila is a beautiful jar that is used by Newari cultures to make a variety of drink combinations. It is frequently used to blend alcohol with other ingredients. served from an ancient vessel that resembles a miniature surah jug in the form of a little mud cup. This drink is a necessary present for everyone, including the Newari goddess, as it is regarded by the ancient Newari pillars as the purest thing in the state. To experience an awe-inspiring flavor of Aila, visit a Newari restaurant. Aila’s typical serving style is what makes it interesting. It is first poured from a lower height and then progressively elevated to almost waist height. This pouring technique has a pleasing appearance and flavor.
Another common alcoholic beverage in Nepal is called jaad. It is created by allowing wheat, rice, or millet to ferment for a week to ten days. then is prepared to drink. Due to its cooling and refreshing qualities, it is typically consumed throughout the summer. It is a light beverage with a very low alcohol content. In terms of flavor, it is significantly sweeter and less sour. Typically, it is well-known in Mangolian ethnic groups including the Rai, Limbu, Tamang, and Sherpa.
Overall, the local booze in Nepal offers a rich and diverse range of alcoholic beverages that are deeply rooted in the country’s culture and traditions. From the potent and flavorful Raksi to the mild and medicinal Chang, each local alcohol has its own unique taste, aroma, and cultural significance. Despite the controversy surrounding its production and consumption, local booze remains an integral part of Nepalese identity and is a must-try for anyone interested in experiencing the country’s rich cultural heritage.