haywards 2000 - BC!
Time for history class again. This is what real Indians do – here are the recipes folks! :d
Liquors made from kinva
Kinva: 1 part rice : 3 part beans with added spices.
For eg: 1 drona – raw mango pulp/ cooked mashed beans
1/3 rd drona rice
1 karsha of the 6 mixed spices.
Medaka: 2 parts rice : 3 prasthas of ferment and 16 parts water.
For eg: rice wine – 3 prasthas of kinva
½ adhaka of rice
1 drona of water
Prasanna: Flour wine (white)
2 parts rice to 3 ferment and 16 parts water
For eg: 5 prasthas of kinva
12 adhakas flour
24 dronas of water
Bark and fruit of kramuka
Addition to Medaka and Prasanna:
5 karshas each of the following: patha, lodha, tejuvati, cardamom, valuka, liquorice, grape juice, priyangu, daruharidra (turmeric?), black pepper and long pepper.
Clarifying agent for Medaka and Prasanna:
A decoction of liquorice and jaggery
Varieties of prasanna:
Mahasura – white liquor and mango juice replacing in part the spice mixture given above. This is to be clarified with a handful of mixed spice, burnt jaggery, and pulp of herbs like partha. The liquor can be made sweeter by adding 5 palas of jaggery.
For average quality: for 8 tulas of water –
1 tula of wood apple
5 tulas treacle
1 prastha honey
For higher quality add 1 quarter more of the 3 ingredients and for lower quality add 1 quarter less.
Spices to be added – 1 karsha each of cinnamon, chitraka, vilanga. A quarter of the quantity of each of these is to be kept in the liquor, tied up in a small piece of cloth and suspended.
Maireya: Decoction of the bark of the meshashringi with jaggery; spices to be added: long pepper and black pepper or tripala (nutmeg, arecanut and cloves)
Madhu: Grape wine - imported from Afghanistan
Harahuraka imported from Archosia.”
(Innnnteresting eh?! A round of applause for L.N. Rangarajan’s excellent translation please!)
Alcohol was certainly not an ascetic’s staple, but neither was it just for the reprobates. There are some parts of tantra where alcohol (of a type called “somapanam”) is consumed as part of the rituals. I would also remind you that bhang is still served at some north Indian weddings today as part of the traditional feast – amidst the array of strictly censored and approved food for pujas!
During surgeries, certain kinds of alcohol were administered to the patient to induce a soporific effect. Some medicines were also alcohol based. The generic name for alcohol made from sugarcane, fruits and even some roots, is “arka”, a Sanskrit word meaning “essence”. The arrack which we speak of today, is an anglicised corruption of arka.
So did our ancestors simply frolic and be gloriously drunk? Was it a one long bacchanalian orgy? Well, no. These were some of the provisions and legislations ensuring that though booze was available, people didn’t overdo the happy-and-high act:
The manufacture and sale of alcoholic drinks was basically under state monopoly. Again, there was an exclusive post for inspection and control - the Chief Controller of Alcoholic Beverages. Private manufacturing was very very limited and strictly controlled. The fine for selling, making or buying liquor in an unauthorised place was 600 panas.
There were separate drinking halls - a more charming version of the modern day pub by the sound of it – its actually stipulated in the arthashasthra that these should be pleasant always, well stocked with plenty of perfumes, water and fresh flowers!
Only people who were known to be of good repute could buy and take away alcohol in small amounts. Others could drink only in the halls. Large quantities of alcohol could not be purchased, taken away or stocked. Selling on credit was not allowed. Drunkards were punished. Like prostitutes, drinking hall owners had to report anyone who spent too lavishly and beyond their means.
Since drinking halls were common in all parts of the kingdom, some times these were also the scene for espionage and crime: a little poison could well find its way into someones glass to dispose of them. Doctors were required by law to report anyone suffering from poisoning by drink or food.
The master of the drinking hall was accountable to the Chief of Alcoholic Beverages: if there was any cheating, adulteration, illegal sale, etc. he was held responsible. If a customer had had too much to drink and had fallen asleep, secret agents would make note of his ornaments, cash and clothes – if there was any theft of these within the drinking hall, the liquor seller had to repay the loss and pay a fine. Hence sometimes the sellers also employed beautiful young women to serve the liquor, so that they could draw the customer into conversation and verify his identity and right to be in the hall.
and so on.
here's a toast to real indian culture! :d
ps: thanks to sanketh for the brilliant title! i loved it :))