Drinks in India

An overview of the types of drinks consumed in India, including attitudes towards alcohol…


Due to the tropical weather, Indians drink a lot of water, and usually have a bottle at hand. Water is always served at restaurants, even at the most modest of eateries. During the summer months, many shops and other public places have filtered drinking water available in a large dispenser, often with a single metal tumbler that is used without touching the cup to the lips.

Tap water should be avoided. Most Indians drink only filtered water and have their own filter system at home. Restaurants will generally serve filtered water only, although some offer bottled water.


Tea is the preferred drink in northern India. It is served with milk and a lot of sugar. Black tea, masala tea and lemon tea are also popular.

  • The Indian Tea Board website provides more information: Click here


Coffee is the preferred drink in the coffee-growing south. Traditional southern Indian filter coffee is served with milk and sugar in a metal cup and deep saucer. Coffee drinking is becoming increasingly popular all over India, with a proliferation of local coffee chains such as Café Coffee Day and Barista in most big cities. International chains such as Costa Coffee and Gloria Jean’s Coffees have also arrived on the market.

  • The Indian Coffee Board website provides more information: Click here


Lassi is a popular drink made from yoghurt and served cold. It can be prepared sweet or salty, mixed with spices, or with fruit such as mangoes.


Kingfisher is the most popular brand of Indian beer and is available all over the country. Other brands include Haywards, Royal Challenge, Kalyani and King’s.


Wine drinking is becoming increasingly popular and there are several high-quality local wines available. There are major wine-growing regions in Maharashtra and Karnataka in southern India, as well as smaller-scale ones in northern India in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Kashmir. Two of the biggest wine producers in India are Sula and Grover. Wine is generally expensive because of the high state taxes imposed on alcohol.

  • For more information on Indian wines: Click here

Attitudes Towards Alcohol

Some Indians have a conservative attitude towards alcohol and associate drinking with drunkenness. However, bars and pubs abound in the big cities, and the atmosphere is more laid-back in areas such as Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi.

In Chennai and across the state of Tamil Nadu, the sale of alcohol is restricted to licensed shops and bars located in high-end hotels, which are required to close at 23:00.

In Gujarat, the sale and consumption of alcohol is prohibited. Goa and Pondicherry are the states that have the most relaxed laws with regard to alcohol.