A nice drink leads the wise man to sing at the top of his lungs; laugh to his belly’s content and tempts him to narrate stories rarely told. He turns the mystery and sometimes ponderous and serious business of liquor tasting into a light, delightful experience. What is funny about alcohol tasting is the fact that we take it too seriously. Hence let me take you on an irreverent jaunt through the world of brews of Rajasthan and cheerfully expose the silly snobbery that can so muddy the simple pleasures of drinking. Let us not worry about matching the aromatic flavors of the hardy desert spirits with cheese but would want you to only dwell on their fine nuances.
The past as it turns out makes a great future sense. Today every well-known Indian dish is the product of a long history of invasion and the fusion of different food traditions. Culinary knowledge in India was not limited to cooking techniques, but also included concerns for health and nutrition. This link between food, pleasure and health has been around for a long time, as attested by old recipes. The only thing more indecipherable than the untidy scrawl in which the recipes are written are the instructions themselves. Weights and measures are in ancient standards of ‘Tolas’, ‘Chataks’ and ‘Seer’.
A knock on the door made me jump out of my cozy bed. Draupadi stood there with a beaming smile and the morning tea tray. (A well laid tea tray is a dying art.) As she placed the tray on the table I drew the curtains back in the big window of my spacious room. The Kachnar trees outside the window were swaying in the breeze and the purple, fuchsia flowers stood out starkly against a grey sky mirroring the colour palette of my room. I suddenly spied the Yellow sunbird I had seen the previous afternoon, as it took off to chase a bumblebee, through the canopy of flowers and leaves. What a sight to wake up to!