Up in the freezing cold Himalayas, there is nothing quite like a few swigs to bring some life back into your icy, cold body. Whether you’re trekking, camping, or just simply vacationing up north, you’re gonna want to open up a bottle of spirit to warm your soul up. The fun part however, is finding local alcohol so you can do your trip to Bhutan, Ladakh or Sikkim justice. Make sure to include these exciting experiences in your offbeat travels to the Himalayas.
Here are a few types of local brewed alcohol that you simply have to try while you’re up there:
A Tibetan alcoholic beverage made by fermenting rice, millet, or barley. The drink is famous in Ladakh, Nepal and other Himalayan regions. While there is very little alcohol content in the drink, a glass of Chaang tastes delicious and can be really comforting in the cold. The best Time to enjoy a tall drink of Chaang is during one of the festivals in Ladakh.
According to the locals, Chaang is said to be the favorite drink of the mythical Yeti, or the Abominable Snowman.
Discover authentic Ladakhi cuisine with Offbeat Tracks.
Red Rice Beer
Red rice is one of Bhutan’s staple foods. The rice however, is used for more that just food. Red Rice beer is an absolute favorite in Bhutan. The Beer can be found at most breweries and alcohols stores. Unlike regular beer, Red Rice Beer has a red-brown color and tastes sweeter in comparison.
Drinking alcohol, especially beer, is one the favorite pass-times of Bhutanese people. Bhutan is home to one of the most exciting brewing cultures in the world.
Experience the Bhutanese brewing culture for yourself.
Another variation of Chaang, where water is passed through fermenting barley. Tongba, like Chaang, is famous in Ladakh, Sikkim, and Nepal. Once again, the alcohol content is low, but the beverage is a great accompaniment to most spicy mountain cuisines.
Tongba is served hot, unlike most beers. The hot beer tradition was originally a western European concept. Tongba tastes sour and and yeasty, and its a bit of an aquired taste.
Find all this and more when you plan you trip to Sikkim.
A smooth warm drink made from apples and apricots. Chulli is consumed mainly in and around Himachal Pradesh. The drink tastes sweet and fruity, and is clear like vodka. The beverage is great refreshment and goes well with spicy dishes.
Chulli is said to have healing properties, and therefore can be used to treat mild cases of cold and cough. Imagine having to take a shot every time you got sick.
A rice beer brewed in Manali, Himachal Predesh. Lugdi is a great way to keep warm on a cold night in the hills. The drink taste pungent and has low to moderate alcohol content. The Himachal dish Khatta is great accompaniment to Lugdi.
You may remember Lugdi from the 2013 movie ‘Yeh Jawani Hai Diwani’, which was set in Manali.
Zutho is an alcoholic beverage made in Northeast India by fermenting rice and other starch rich ingredients. Famous for its powerful odor, the beverage is often enjoyed by itself and has a really sweet taste to it.
Zutho is also commonly known as Zu, Khe, or Thutshe. The beverage is attributed to celebrations of birth, death, and marriage. The Hornbill Festival in December is a great time to enjoy the drink.
Check out Zutho and other exciting experiences in the wild Northeast, plan your trip to Nagaland today.
The next time you find yourself in the Mountains, and in need of something boozy, don’t forget to try out these beverages and drink like a true local. Also, check out Offbeat Tracks to experience brewing culture in Bhutan, Sikkim, or some of our other destinations.
Remember, drinking at high mountain altitudes is a little different from drinking down here. Alcohol increases the effects of altitude sickness and can lower your body’s oxygen intake. Drink responsibly.