Unit 12: Alcoholic Beverage in Nepal

Food and Beverage Service III Notes Third Semester

Alcoholic Beverage in Nepal


Introduction:

Nepal is a diverse country with many different ethnic groups and communities, each with its unique traditions and customs. One of these traditions is the consumption of alcoholic beverages. The history of alcohol production in Nepal dates back centuries, with traditional brewing methods still used in many parts of the country.

One of the most popular alcoholic beverages in Nepal is rice beer, also known as chang or jaand. This traditional beverage is made by fermenting rice, millet, or barley, and is usually brewed at home. It is a staple at social and religious events, and is often consumed by both men and women.

Another popular alcoholic beverage in Nepal is raksi, a distilled liquor made from rice or millet. Raksi has a high alcohol content, ranging from 40 to 60 percent, and is usually consumed in small quantities. It is often served at festivals and special occasions, and is considered a symbol of hospitality in many Nepali communities.

Nepal is also known for its production of traditional alcoholic beverages like tongba, chhyang, and aila. Tongba is a millet-based beer that is popular in the eastern region of Nepal. It is served in a wooden container called a dhungro and consumed through a straw. Chhyang is a rice beer that is brewed with various herbs and spices, giving it a unique flavor. Aila, on the other hand, is a distilled liquor made from grains and is popular among the Tharu community in western Nepal.

Alcoholic beverages also play a significant role in Nepali culture and religion. For example, during the festival of Dashain, a large amount of alcohol is consumed as a symbol of celebration and victory over evil. Similarly, during weddings and other social events, alcohol is served as a way of showing hospitality and building social bonds.

In terms of regulations, the legal drinking age in Nepal is 18, and alcohol is widely available for purchase in bars, restaurants, and liquor stores. However, alcohol consumption is often associated with social issues like domestic violence and road accidents, and the government has implemented various measures to regulate its sale and consumption.

In conclusion, alcoholic beverages play an important role in Nepali culture and tradition. From traditional rice beer to distilled liquors, there are many different types of alcoholic beverages that are popular in Nepal, each with its unique history and cultural significance. Despite the challenges associated with alcohol consumption, it remains an integral part of Nepali society and is likely to continue to be so in the future.

History:

The history of alcoholic beverages in Nepal dates back centuries. Traditional brewing methods were developed by different ethnic groups and communities, each with their own unique techniques and ingredients.

Rice beer, also known as chang or jaand, has been brewed in Nepal for thousands of years. It is believed to have been introduced by the Kiranti people, who inhabited the eastern region of Nepal. The Kiranti people still produce rice beer using traditional brewing methods, which involve fermenting rice or millet in a wooden container. The beer is then consumed through a bamboo straw, which is inserted into the container.

Raksi, a distilled liquor made from rice or millet, also has a long history in Nepal. It is believed to have been introduced by the Newar people, who lived in the Kathmandu Valley. The Newars developed a sophisticated distillation process, which allowed them to produce high-quality raksi with a high alcohol content. Raksi became a popular beverage among the Newars and was often consumed during religious ceremonies and social events.

Other traditional alcoholic beverages in Nepal include tongba, chhyang, and aila. Tongba is a millet-based beer that is popular in the eastern region of Nepal, particularly among the Limbu and Rai ethnic groups. It is made by fermenting millet in hot water, which is then stored in a wooden container called a dhungro. Tongba is consumed by pouring hot water into the container and stirring the mixture with a bamboo stick.

Chhyang, a rice beer that is brewed with various herbs and spices, is popular in the western region of Nepal. It is made by boiling rice, millet, or barley and fermenting it with yeast and various herbs and spices. The resulting beverage is mildly alcoholic and has a unique flavor that varies depending on the ingredients used.

Aila, a distilled liquor made from grains, is popular among the Tharu community in western Nepal. It is made by fermenting grains like rice, millet, or barley, and then distilling the resulting mixture. Aila has a high alcohol content and is often consumed in small quantities during religious ceremonies and social events.

In recent years, commercial breweries and distilleries have also emerged in Nepal, producing a range of beers, wines, and spirits. Despite this, traditional alcoholic beverages remain an important part of Nepali culture and are still produced and consumed by many people in the country.

Beverage tradition in Nepal:

Beverage tradition in Nepal is deeply rooted in its culture, and alcoholic beverages play an essential role in various social and religious events. Different ethnic groups and communities in Nepal have developed their unique techniques and ingredients for brewing alcoholic beverages, which are an integral part of their cultural heritage.

Rice beer or chang is the most common traditional alcoholic beverage in Nepal. It is made by fermenting rice, millet, or barley and is typically brewed at home. Rice beer is a staple beverage at social events, especially during festivals like Dashain and Tihar, and is also used in various religious ceremonies. It is often served in a large wooden or clay pot, and people drink it through a bamboo straw inserted into the pot. Rice beer is believed to have medicinal properties and is considered to be a cure for various ailments, including digestive issues.

Another traditional alcoholic beverage in Nepal is raksi, a distilled liquor made from rice or millet. Raksi has a high alcohol content ranging from 40% to 60% and is usually consumed in small quantities. It is popular among the Newar community in the Kathmandu Valley and is often served during festivals, weddings, and other social events. Raksi is also used in various religious ceremonies and is believed to have medicinal properties.

Tongba is a millet-based beer that is popular in the eastern region of Nepal, particularly among the Limbu and Rai ethnic groups. It is made by fermenting millet in hot water and is typically served in a wooden container called a dhungro. Tongba is consumed by pouring hot water into the container and stirring the mixture with a bamboo stick. It is often consumed during winter months as it provides warmth and is also believed to have medicinal properties.

Chhyang is another traditional Nepali alcoholic beverage made from rice, millet, or barley. It is brewed with various herbs and spices, which give it a unique flavor. Chhyang is typically consumed during festivals and other social events and is believed to have a warming effect on the body. It is also used in various religious ceremonies and is believed to have healing properties.

Aila is a distilled liquor made from grains and is popular among the Tharu community in western Nepal. It is made by fermenting grains like rice, millet, or barley and then distilling the resulting mixture. Aila has a high alcohol content and is often consumed in small quantities during religious ceremonies and social events.

In conclusion, traditional alcoholic beverages in Nepal are deeply ingrained in its culture and are an essential part of various social and religious events. Each beverage has its unique flavor, brewing techniques, and cultural significance, which reflects the diversity of Nepali society. Despite the emergence of commercial breweries and distilleries, traditional Nepali alcoholic beverages remain an important part of the country’s cultural heritage and are still produced and consumed by many people in the country.

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