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Old Monk chai, and India’s love affair with dark rum

After gin, made-in-India rum is coming into the spotlight - travelling to clubs, personal bars and a chai ki dukaan in Goa.

November 19, 2022 / 08:03 PM IST
India has come a full circle where drinking rum is concerned. (Image: Jaikishan via Unsplash)

India has come a full circle where drinking rum is concerned. (Image: Jaikishan via Unsplash)

Distilled for the Armed Forces, Hercules Rum had a small but committed following. Then Old Monk came along, and dark rum found a newer audience and equally committed set who wouldn't drink anything else and said as much - at office parties, family gatherings and college reunions.

Speaking of college reunions, in the 1970 and ’80s, these were synonymous with the mosaic designed, stocky glass bottle of Old Monk Rum, which sold approximately 8 million bottles annually at peak. The sales may have declined over the years, but the nostalgia and popularity still linger.

A tea stall operator at Café Aguada, on Sinquerim Beach, Goa, now adds rum to their speciality tandoori smoked tea. Explains Arvind, the brain behind this creation, “This is no ordinary tea, but is made using my special home-made chai masala comprising nine spices. As kids, my mother gave this to us in winter to combat a cold. I replicated her idea and what better rum than Old Monk?”

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