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Issue 110 - Indian Seduction

Whisky Magazine Issue 110
March 2013

 

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Indian Seduction

With a little coaching from the devoted people working in India's most respected hospitality group, Heather Greene learns how to get the most out of drinking whisky from Delhi to Mumbai.

Dense fog delays my flight by almost two hours, and I arrive at the New Delhi airport carrying that post airplane-journey stupor that induces sleepiness and hunger. I imagine myself very soon relaxing on a bar stool in some cosmopolitan whisky lounge or chic bistro with low lights and downtempo music. During the hair-raising taxi ride in which we dodge tuk-tuks, cows, and mopeds with entire families perched precariously on top, I scan streets for signs of a Friday nightlife. But it does not reveal itself so easily and I am surprised. India, after all, is the largest whisky market in the world, and in my naive fantasy, I pictured as many lounges and bars in India's capital as there are cafés in Paris.”Drinking fine whisky in India has been a slow and steady process, it's evolving and changing, with hotel bars like this one being a very popular place to drink whisky,” explains Sheroni Sharma, bar manager at Rick's Bar, located off the lush Taj Mahal Hotel lobby where I eventually find myself. “Whisky drinkers in India are beginning to understand and really know brands, they are ordering them by name all the time now and enjoying them in upscale places like ours.”

The list indeed casts a smattering of the top whisky-world celebrities: Johnny Walker, Glenfiddich, The Macallan. I will see these names over and over again along the way, with very few esoteric marques or smaller distilleries listed on menus. As it turns out, the availability of brands is only as vast as the...

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