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Kiss My Mocktail, I Want Wine in Bangalore! Why Alcohol Is Often Banned in India

My afternoon wasn’t the best and I am grumpy. Actually it would probably be more honest to say I am hungry so therefore I am grumpy. It’s a family thing so really this isn’t my fault. My Mom, my daughter…we all basically turn evil when we haven’t eaten enough and today I didn’t go out for lunch and – therefore – I am not a happy camper at the moment.

Tonight I had pre-planned a really exciting, hot date out with my laptop to go for dinner and try something new and I almost cancelled due to my grumpy mood. I considered just going back to the hotel room to order in dim sum and veg out in front of the television but then my inner adventurer got the best of me. So I have ended up at “Roomali With A View” on 100 Feet Road to try out some yummy (well, let’s see) Northern Indian cuisine, relax, write my blog and enjoy a nice glass of red wine. The restaurant is absolutely lovely inside, located on the rooftop of the building and tonight there is a lovely breeze blowing across this amazingly charming restaurant. The music is a slow mix of Indian traditional smooth chillout, of course mixed with a nice healthy dose of car horns from the street traffic below. I ordered Dhaniawala Mutton Korma, which is lamb cooked in a curd based curry, flavored with saffron and fresh coriander. And since my laptop doesn’t care if I eat garlic, I ordered garlic naan tonight instead of butter naan. Then I ordered a glass of wine, and was met with the famous Indian head bob and a very respectful “oh no, mam, no wine” by the waiter. haha… crap! It never even occurred to me to ask first if this was a dry establishment and boy do I regret it now, but the place is so cute that there was no way I was leaving. So instead I will have to draw on my inner goddess to relax and try to de-stress from the end of my day. Not going to be easy today I think.

Side note: the lamb just arrived and I am sat here now multi-tasking between writing my blog and eating this delicious dish like a local, using my naan as my utensil … wondering once again how this dish is considered “NOT SPICY” when it is clearly kicking my ass. Seriously, why is every chef in town trying to kill me?

From a girl who had a fake ID from the time I was 17 and has been drinking and going out dancing ever since, it is really hard to understand why, first, wine and spirits are so expensive here and, second, why alcohol is so uncommon. My dear friend Ivan from Sitges was the first person to burst my alcohol bubble when he told me that there is a 400% tax on wine (and I suppose all alcohol?) here in India. Holy cow! 400% is a huge markup, and he was right. A glass of wine with dinner generally will always cost me more than the lamb and naan that I have in front of me — combined! I really should look up the reason why but my gut instinct is that India has done to alcohol what the U.S. did years ago with cigarette tax, which was insane and completely political. As for the reason why it is frowned upon, I suppose common sense also tells me it goes hand-in-hand with the conservative, traditional values that make India the wonderful place that it is. Albeit frustrating for me at times, I guess I wouldn’t change anything even if I could.

Gulab Jamoon is my new wine replacement! SO yummy! I feel like a pig right now but rest assured I feel like a HAPPY pig 🙂

But I would like to send a message to all the waiters in Bangalore. Please don’t offer me a “mocktail” instead of my requested and unavailable wine… it is just mean! 🙂 And the fact that my waiter tonight served my chilled still water with a lovely, heavy, antique silver goblet to drink it out of just makes me think about the missing wine even more… haha Looks like an old-fashioned wine goblet.

So now the good, the bad and the ugly report of the day. Today was a great day at the office, my marketing manager Romi and I are starting to make some real progress and are attacking the Q1 to-do list with vigor (we are on a fiscal year April to March). I think the pet agent at BCN has found a solution for bringing the cats over finally that includes me having to fly to Chennai to pick them up, go to another airline counter, drop them off, then fly right back with them to Bangalore. Oh joy. The apartment contract should be sorted tomorrow finally although they want a bank draft for my deposit and I am not sure I can make that happen before the banks close tomorrow so that means I might not be able to move in for a week. The movers in Spain finally received confirmation of our initial payment today and can’t fit me into their schedule until sometime next week so I have to continue to rent my spanish flat for at least another week. Everything is turning out to be more expensive than what I expected, unfortunately. Oh well, it definitely could be worse!! Thank God I am loving the job which keeps me smiling 🙂

OMG I just finished off my first “Gulab Jamoon” and am in heaven. That actually made up for the lack of vino and the fact that my mouth was literally on fire! MOM, you have to try this out somewhere…it is yummy balls of soft fried cake that floats in a warm clear sweet broth…this is my new favourite dessert!

XOXO from Bangalore

© Angela Carson, Angela’s Adventures in Bangalore blog and photos, 2011

Angela Carson

At 21 I left uni, jumped into my Jeep Wrangler, and drove from my native California to live an adventure in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I've explored 37 countries on 4 continents, residing in 8 of them (currently Indonesia's Riau Islands is my home). I even have a private pilot's license and was shot at once by bandits!

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. prasad3130

    Although its almost a year later that I am giving this info, I hope it helps your mom in US (I guess). In US, a lot of Indian and a couple of middle eastern retail shops (at least in big towns) should have Gulab Jamoon for sale. They come in tin boxes.

    1. angela_carson

      Actually, after that post my Mom went to an Indian restaurant near her home in southern California and tried it 🙂

  2. Ange, can you get me some Mutton Korma, Garlic Naan and Gulab Jamoon when you come back to the States ? 😀

    1. angela_carson

      Only if you bring me Pop Tarts, Cinnabon and Lucky Charms 🙂

      1. LOL Ange.. If you can get me the food I mentioned , you can get whatever you want, right here.. 🙂

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