#Hey Rum // Love Old Monk? This Is Why Indians Love To Drink Rum

Thu Dec 01 2016 | 155 Views

Kicking off our winter campaign for the next couple of weeks, here’s presenting everything you’ve probably ever wanted to know about the elixir of life — Rum. From the likes of colonels and admirals to their ‘brats’; from the broke college freshers to the seasoned alcohol-lovers, rum (and Old Monk) has been a love affair for many.

And here we are to stoke those fires, this winter.

First Things First

This is the bottle that has been passed on from generation to generation — an acquired taste, a culture to cultivate without burning a hole in your pocket. So, there are three basic reasons why rum continues to be India’s favourite alcohol, especially when the cold season sets in. And then there are more.

Firstly, It’s cheap. It’s not the kind of cheap that will have you worried about alcohol poisoning, and yet, it’s pocket-friendly enough that people can partake once a week. Especially, when Hercules and Old Monk are synonymous with Indian rum drinking.

Secondly, a lot of the advertising when it comes to rum is entirely word of mouth. And unlike brands who spend a lot of money on marketing and branding, rum just happens to be cheap and versatile enough that people recommend it to one another. It’s the fabric of all weekend drinking and BYOB parties.

Thirdly, it’s one of the most versatile drinks that there is. You can chug rum neat (enjoying the flavour of molasses), mix it with coke or soda. People have their own favourite combinations and they can be as specific as “shaken, not stirred” or as generic as “with ice please, thanks very much”.

What’s In It For Me?

In fact, research says that a lot of alcohol brands in India try to copy the taste of liquor found elsewhere. Whisky in India is not the same as whisky in Europe since a lot of the whisky distilled in Europe is made from grains like rice, wheat or barley. In India, whisky is essentially made from what we know as rum. (Yes, that blew our collective minds too.) In India, whisky is made from rum (a spirit that has been distilled from molasses, a byproduct of the sugar making process) and then mixed with flavours or a little bit of actual scotch or whisky (and we have been fooled, haven’t we?).

In a country like ours, it is a bit commendable though that instead of wasting precious food, we are using a byproduct to create something we end up loving — Rum. But the thing is, rum never pretends. Rum, you can take at face value. Fermented molasses and aged for years (Old Monk is aged for seven years), to make a smooth, dark drink that contains about 40 percent alcohol. And now, they also have a Super Beer.

Old Monk & Us

While there have been quite a lot of whispers about how Old Monk and its maker Mohan Meakin are going under, there has been veritable proof that from 1992 to 2012, the per capita consumption of alcohol has increased by a whopping 55%. And though rum drinking has gone down, there is no actual statistics that Old Monk is leaving us anytime soon.

With the winters setting in, Old Monk is the go-to drink for a lot of drinkers. It makes you feel warm and cosy, (It doesn’t actually do that but more on that later.) and is smooth enough for you to welcome in a night of debauchery. It’s also perfect as a remedy for cold and cough when you take a spoonful with lukewarm water.

For years, drinking rum has meant drinking the Monk. As the oldest distillery in these parts and having a strong army connection (more for morale, amirite?), Old Monk has been hailed as one of the oldest brands that has been supplying a boost to the troops, be it in the defence forces or the merchant navy class.

Food For Thought

Video Courtesy Of: Switch Off Films

All in all, there are a bunch of reasons that make rum special for Indians and having a movie about it, is not the worst thing. But for us, it has to be the flavour of nostalgia, and the easy-going nature of this drink that has us hooked to this wondrous elixir. Look out for our #HeyRum campaign that will talk about all things rum, Old Monk and winters. We have some crazy deals lined up ahead as well.

Have an Old Monk story that you want to share or a note that you want us to pass on? Write in to kasturi@eattreatonline.com.


You can check out how much we have immersed ourselves in our love for Old Monk, this is what you should be reading. And if you just want to go get some rum in your system, here’s a list of bars you can drink rum at. Read all our #HeyRum stories here.


Kasturi Roy

Kasturi has a keen interest in the Arts and burgeoning appetite for travel & culture. She engages with her mania for food, for a living. Based out of New Delhi, she's looking to begin a stationery movement, if only to deal with the impending and existing quarter-life crisis.