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On this edition of The NOLADrinks Show with Bryan Dias, we explore the spirits of India! It’s a country with a long and diverse story of alcohol production. We chat with Monica Badlani with Somrus Cream Liqueurs, Ashok Chokalingham of Amrut Distilleries, and Vrushab Habib of Heritage Spirits.

Please note – The opening and featured interview portions of the show were recorded before the US general election. The “Parting Shot” was not!

The NOLADrinks Show – Spirits of India – Nov20Ep2 – Monica Badlani of Somrus Cream Liqueurs, Ashok Chokalingham of Amrut Distilleries, and Vrushab Habib of Heritage Spirits.

Pictured above from left – Monica Badlani of Somrus Cream Liqueurs, Ashok Chokalingham of Amrut Distilleries, and Vrushab Habib of Heritage Spirits.

The NOLADrinks Show – Spirits of India – Nov20Ep2

We start it all off letting you know what’s up with this week’s show. We also let you know a bit about what’s coming down the pike on the program.

Then, we have our featured interview on the spirits of India! We discuss the history of liquor production in India, it’s varied landscape, and what today’s scene looks like – both domestically in India and internationally on the export market.

We are joined by three terrific guests from three different producers, two of which are based in India while the third is US-based with strong Indian ties and influences.

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We’re joined by Ashok Chokalingham, head distiller and marketing director for Amrut Distilleries, a fine producer of spirits including world-class whiskies. Also joining us is Vrushab Habib, product director for Heritage Spirits, which produces, among other things, a traditional Indian liqueur from the state of Goa, Kafi Feni. Rounding out our fascinating guest panel is Monica Badlani, COO and a partner with Somrus, a US-based producer of fine cream liqueurs that draws heavily on their Indian heritage.

The NOLADrinks Show – Spirits of India – Nov20Ep2 – Here’s a bit (but not all!) of what we tasted on the show – Somrus Coffee Cream Liqueur, Kafi Feni by Heritage Spirits, and Amrut “Fusion” Single Malt Whisky.

Pictured above from left – Here’s a bit (but not all!) of what we tasted on the show – Somrus Coffee Cream Liqueur, Kafi Feni by Heritage Spirits, and Amrut “Fusion” Single Malt Whisky.

Of course, part of the show is tasting various expressions from these terrific and diverse producers, learning about their stories, and how and where they fit into the overall picture of Indian spirits. We talk about the high level of quality these producers seek to achieve, often against a backdrop of mass-produced liquor of lesser quality. We discuss the markets for these spirits, as well.

Ashok, Monica, and Vrushab stick around for our podcast-only segment, “Another Shot with NOLADrinks,” where we continue the conversation and taste more expressions. During this segment we’re also joined by Jane Campbell of Glass Revolution Imports, Amrut’s US importer; Vignaraj Gadvi, a colleague of Vrushab; and New Orleans-based spirits broker and educator, Phil Minissale of PM Brokerage, which represents Amrut and Kafi Feni in the NOLA market.

Cheers and Be Well, You All!

~ Bryan