The Best & New Indian Spirits of 2023

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2023 has truly been a blockbuster year for Indian spirits. Despite the steady influx of foreign spirits on store shelves, the top Indian spirit launches shocked us with their handcrafted creativity, revolutionising the craft spirits game as a whole. It’s like Oscar season for Indian spirts, competing with the long-reigning Scottish fathers of single malt and the Caribbean rum bigwigs.

As 2023 comes to a close, TheGlitz has compiled a definitive list of the year’s top spirits in each category. However, if you enjoy top-shelf Indian spirits, this guide will help you choose and pop a bottle or decorate your bar cart for your next house party.

Best Indian Spirits at a Glance

INDRI

Indri - Indian spirits
Indri

Starting our list with single malt whisky is Indri, a brilliant sherry-peated bomb. The perfect combination of peat and sherry, when harnessed together, spells terrific. This peated winner from Piccadilly Distilleries features handpicked six-row barley, carefully matured in Pedro Ximenez (PX) Sherry Casks for a significantly long time amidst the subtropical climate of Northern India with scorching summers and mild winters.

Look for an amber hue with a faint, smoky whiff. The first sip opens with rich toasted nuts and candied dried fruit tones, followed by subtle spices, oak, and hints of bittersweet chocolate. The long, lip-smacking finish offers an array of magical delights.

Stats:

ABV: 46%

RAMPUR

Rampur Select single malt
Rampur Select single malt

Rampur Select single malt proves to be a surprisingly nuanced libation, offering both a pleasing and complex experience. From the stables of Radico Khaitan, one of the oldest distilleries, established in 1943, Rampur Select is a non-chill-filtered single malt handcrafted and aged in the foothills of the Himalayas. This unique expression is a non-age-statement single malt finished in sherry and wine casks. Styled as “The Kohinoor of Single Malts,” take a ride, Speyside.

Look for a honey hue that is incredibly floral on the nose, with a bit of fruit and spicy notes thrown in for good measure. The palate unfurls a modest number of aromas and flavours that reflect the essence of a long Indian summer, leading to a warm, appealingly long finish.

Stats:

ABV: 43%

Related Stories: Top Indian Whiskies

GREAT INDIAN GIN

Great Indian Gin - Nagpur Orange, The Original and Shimla Green Apple
Great Indian Gin – Nagpur Orange, The Original and Shimla Green Apple

A no-brainer addition to the premium gin category is Great Indian Gin (GiG) from the World of Brands. GiG stands true to its moniker. All three variants are exclusively blended by Indian Master Blender NJ Menon, who has the distinction of blending over 300 distinct blends in his lifetime.

Crafted using a triple-distilled blend made with Indian juniper and infused with nine handpicked natural botanicals, including cassia bark, coriander, angelica root, fennel, and liquorice, The cylindrical, heavy-bottomed bottle is quite appealing and sort of resembles a supersized bottle of Acqua Di Gio. Any resemblance between the two should be dispelled by the former’s nose’s powerful juniper scent, which is accompanied by zesty lemon, juicy orange, and sour apple, depending on the variety. Great Indian Gin makes an excellent G&T, where its rich, quirky expressions and piney juniper notes shine through, scoring a high five on the palate, pocket, and punch.

Stats:

ABV: 41%

CHAMBAL

Chambal gin
Chambal gin

Chambal gin is a new entrant in the captivating world of gin. An exquisite blend of hand-selected botanicals is ready to transport you to an unrivalled realm of flavour and beauty, meticulously prepared by Bapuna Alcobrew, 3rd generation distillers and blenders. It pays respect to the rough Chambal ravines with a fiercely untamed flavour profile, inviting every sip to embark on a distinct and daring journey that resonates with the region’s untamed personality.

Chambal Gin is meticulously infused with botanicals to produce a flavour symphony. Experience the enchanting aroma of juniper berries and the warm embrace of wild cinnamon bark with each sip. Delicate layers of black and green cardamom dance over your palate, accented by a citrus burst from dried lemon peel. The almond infusion provides a velvety smoothness that culminates in a harmonic and refined finish that lingers, leaving a tantalising essence of Chambal’s untamed charm.

Related Stories: 4 Gin Cocktails

CAMIKARA 12YO

Camikara 12YO
Camikara 12YO

For the uninitiated, Camikara, which translates to “liquid gold” in sanskrit, stands true to its Indian heritage. From the house of Picadilly Distilleries, Camikara is a pure cane juice rum (not jaggery or molasses) that has been matured for 12 years in American oak casks. With no added colour, flavour, sugar, or spice, it makes for a delicious sipping rum that is best enjoyed neat.

On the nose, there is a bouquet of aromas: candied orange, ginger, toffee, raisin, prunes, and leather. The first sip on the palate brings a marriage of honey, vanilla, and bitter chocolate, followed by ripe bananas, orange peel, dark chocolate, and charred oak. The finish is long with a mouthful of delicious cake, making you want for more. Camikara Rum is also the first Indian rum to ever win a gold medal at the prestigious IWSC Awards in 2023.

Stats:

ABV: 50%

SHORT STORY WHITE RUM

Short Story white rum
Short Story white rum

Short Story White Rum from Third Eye Distillery is the go-to spirit for Gen Zers. An excellent portrayal of Caribbean rum made by blending Indian molasses rum with three different rums from the Caribbean region—a high-ester Jamaican rum tempered with cask-aged Dominican and Trinidadian rums.

The tropical, grassy nature is obvious on the nose, with a long, complex finish. Short Story is sharp and well-branded. The information on the bottle is clear and concise, with no jazzy narration or fancy tales about ingredients and processes. Short Story short, it laps up everything you throw its way, whether it’s a Daiquiri or a simple Cuba Libre.

Stats:

ABV: 40%

Related Stories: 15 Spirits Every Home Bar Should Stock

SMOKE LAB SAFFRON

Smoke Lab Saffron flavoured Vodka
Smoke Lab Saffron flavoured Vodka

INTRODUCING Smoke Lab Vodka. India’s first and most awarded premium vodka by NV Group. Following the successful launch of their first two expressions, Smoke Lab Classic and Smoke Lab Aniseed, they have now released Smoke Lab Saffron.

This saffron-infused artisan vodka is manufactured one batch at a time at their state-of-the-art distillery, made with the highest quality, locally sourced Basmati rice, and 5X distilled with pure Himalayan spring water. Blended with handpicked Kashmiri saffron and fragrant Indian spices, it has a dessert-like creamy texture. All Smoke Lab vodka boasts a zero-carbon footprint using sustainable practices and is vegan and gluten-free.

The nose of this saffron spirit is quite distinctive. It kicks off with a citrusy-sweet note that is heavily reminiscent of Turkish delight and exotic wood. Each sip coats the palate with a delicate personality of creamy-desserty saffron with undertones of cardamom, malai kulfi, and dark chocolate. The refined hints of Pampore saffron flow into a clean, crisp finish. With such a gentle profile, smoke saffron is best enjoyed over ice or as a foundation for creative cocktails.

It should come as no surprise that the US-based Beverage Information Group (BIG) recently named Smoke Lab a 2023 Rising Star Growth Brand.

Stats:

ABV: 37.5%

MAGIC MOMENTS REMIX PINK

Magic Moments Remix Pink Vodka
Magic Moments Remix Pink Vodka

Magic Moments Remix Pink Vodka from Radico Khaitan Limited is a noteworthy addition to the Magic Moments vodka line. This premium segment of vodka is strategically positioned to meet the growing demand for coloured and flavour-infused alcoholic beverages.

Listed as a notch above Magic Moments Remix tastes, this distinctive pink vodka sets the pattern for versatility by adding a sophisticated touch to both formal occasions and intimate gatherings. Pink vodka is presented in an elegant, clear bottle that highlights its vivid pink hue.

Crafted with 100% natural flavours of black mulberry, elderflower, and raspberry, this variation promises a nuanced flavour that will appeal to a broader range of consumers. A very crisp vodka with aromas of sweet berries. Equally enjoyable served neat, with tonic water, or in a cocktail.

Related Stories: 10 Finest Vodka Brands

You may also like: Tuborg Ice Draft… the amazing crisp lager

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