The festival of lights is back, and if you’re not spending your Wednesday with family, or taking in the beautiful light displays in Little India, why not make the most of the public holiday and have a midweek drink? Here are five places where you can get your dose of authentic Indian alcohol to suitably celebrate Deepavali.
Purveyor of fine whiskies and spirits La Maison du Whisky doesn’t disappoint, with over 700 different whiskies from around the world. Featured as part of the international lineup is Amrut, a single malt whisky from Bangalore produced almost exclusively from barley grown at the foot of the Himalayas. It’s fruity with hints of spice and chocolate—and some variations even boast a natural alcohol content of over 60%.
Pop by South Beach’s Quaich Bar for some of the oldest and rarest whiskies in Singapore, with many among their impressive 500-strong selection available by the glass. Grab some Paul John Edited, a semi-peated whisky produced in Goa that comes up to around $22 per dram. The single malt brings in Indian six-row barley and peated Scottish barley—perfect if you’re a fan of spicy, woody whiskies.
The 40-seater Indian concept restaurant-bar is every bit as fun as it first promised to be, and serves up a full menu of pan-Indian tapas alongside a South Asia-inspired cocktail list managed by head bartender Kannan Pilai. India’s famous Kingfisher beer is available here along with legendary Indian rum Old Monk—the latter getting a fancy makeover as part of a barrel-aged Negroni-style cocktail. Flying Monkey’s nine house cocktails don’t make use of Indian spirits, but Pilai created them with subcontinental flavors drawn from his family recipes. Mind It! infuses jasmine with Monkey 47 gin; Goa Mamma Lassi is an indulgent smoothie of mango, passionfruit, vodka and rum; and the signature cocktail, The Flying Monkey, is a reinvented Old Fashioned, made from Monkey Shoulder whisky, ginger and bitters.
You probably know them for their signature cocktail using real ants, but Native on Amoy Street should be known more for their individually sourced liquors from around South, Southeast and East Asia, locally foraged ingredients (think betel leaves, curry leaves and starfruit flowers) and inventive mixology. The Mango Lassi sounds harmless enough, but mixes Indian rum, mango, turmeric, molasses and beetroot jelly for a spicy punch. And for heavier drinkers, there’s The Invisible Man—an Indian whisky-based tipple that also uses mulled stout, vanilla tobacco, ginger and banana peel.
If you’re feeling fancy this Deepavali, saunter over to Marina Bay Sands for a taste of the Punjab region spanning India and Pakistan. While the food menu focuses on epicurean delights from cities like Amritsar, Lahore, Patiala and Peshwar, the wine list is a little more international, boasting a curated selection from over 10 regions globally. Zoom in on India and you’ll find the chenin blanc from leading winery Sula Vineyards in Nashik, 180km northeast of Mumbai. The semi-dry, light white wine offers hints of pineapple and passionfruit, and pairs well with dishes containing some sugar and spice.