Desi daru

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Desi Daaru
देसी दारू
Desi daru (desi liqour) with Orange flavor.jpg
Desi daru with Orange flavor
TypeAlcoholic beverage
Country of originIndia
Alcohol by volume28.5%–42.5%
Proof (US)50°
ColourWhite and Brown

Desi Daaru (Hindi: देसी दारू), also known as Desi Sharaab (Hindi: देसी शराब) is a category of liquor made in the countryside of the Indian subcontinent, one of whose variants is tharra. It is traditionally prepared from a procedure that has been passed down for centuries. It is the primary and most popular alcoholic beverage in most of northern India particularly the rural parts. It is fermented and distilled from molasses, a by product of sugarcane.[1][2][3] Desi liquor is a broad term and it can include both legally and illegally made local alcohol. The term desi daru usually refers to legal alcohol while other types of desi liquor (arrack and palm toddy) may be categorised as moonshine alcohol.[4][5] It has been consumed in India since ancient times and is known by different names in different parts of the country.


The term desi, from Hindi language term desh (country or region), which is generally an endonym for the compatriot or local is often applied to food or drink that is considered traditional or native. Dārū (Hindi दारू and Urdu دارو) is a Persian-derived term used for any alcoholic beverage in India. Śarāb (Hindi शराब and Urdu شراب) is another Persian-derived equivalent and is used in some areas with less frequency.[6]


Una Brand Desi daru

An article in the medical journal The Lancet estimated that nearly two-thirds of the alcohol consumed in India is desi daru (IMCL - Indian Made commercial Liquor).[7] Globus spirits mentioned that India's desi liquor market is about 242 million cases (over 30% of the beverage industry in India) with a growth rate of about 7% per annum.[8] No data regarding Pakistan is available as drinking alcohol is officially prohibited for Muslims in Pakistan, although locally made liquor is sold on the black market.[9][10]

Social issues[edit]

Illicit illegal desi liquor, being the cheapest alcohol in India, is the mainstay alcoholic beverage for the village population and urban poor. Illicit illegal Desi liquor is less commonly consumed for "social" purposes, it is more commonly consumed for the purpose of quick intoxication. In rural areas, illicit desi daru has been blamed for domestic violence and poverty in the family. There have been several protests against illegal desi liquor shops/bars in villages. There are usually separate bars for legal desi daru.[11][12][13]

Adulterated/premixed Indian liquors[edit]

There have been issues in many bars in India where Scotch/English whisky has been adulterated by mixing some quantity of illicit desi liquor in it before serving it to customers.[14]

Health issues[edit]

Though health risks are associated with all kinds of alcohol, desi daru can be more hazardous than other kinds as it does not undergo a multiple distillation process, is often poorly regulated due to it mostly being bootleg alcohol.[15][16] If care is not taken in the distillation process and the proper equipment is not used, harmful impurities such as fusel alcohols, lead from plumbing solder, and methanol can be concentrated to toxic levels. Several deaths have been reported in India and Pakistan due to consumption of non-factory made toxic liquor.[17][18][9]

In popular culture[edit]

There are several references of desi daru in Bollywood films, songs.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bhaichand Patel (19 October 2009). Happy Hours: The Penguin Book of Cocktails. Penguin Books Limited. pp. 206 ff. ISBN 978-81-8475-162-8.
  2. ^ David Shaftel (2011-11-23). "Boom time for country liquor". Livemint. Retrieved 2015-08-03.
  3. ^ Ratna Bhushan & Boby Kurian (2008-01-22). "Manufacturing norms for country liquor on anvil". Times of India. Retrieved 2015-08-03.
  4. ^ "Desi daroo - definition of Desi daroo". The Free Dictionary. Retrieved 2015-08-03.
  5. ^ "India's deadly moonshine in the spotlight". Dawn. 13 July 2009. Retrieved 22 September 2015.
  6. ^ Carlos E. Cortés (3 September 2013). Multicultural America: A Multimedia Encyclopedia. SAGE Publications. pp. 1162–. ISBN 978-1-4522-7626-7.
  7. ^ "The alcohol economy". Business Line. 2013-12-08. Retrieved 2015-08-03.
  8. ^ "Country Liquor". Globus Spirits. Retrieved 2015-08-03.
  9. ^ a b Craig, Tim (2014-10-08). "In dry Pakistan, deaths from toxic liquor continue". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2015-08-05.
  10. ^ "Pakistan battles growing alcohol addiction". BBC News. Retrieved 2015-08-05.
  11. ^ "Women vandalize country liquor shop". The Times of India. 2015-07-08. Retrieved 2015-08-03.
  12. ^ "Women protest against sale of illicit liquor". The Times of India. 2015-02-10. Retrieved 2015-08-03.
  13. ^ "Women protest against liquor shop". The Hindu. 2015-03-09. Retrieved 2015-08-03.
  14. ^ "Pay for Scotch drink Illicit Desi daru - News". Mid-day. Retrieved 2015-08-03.
  15. ^ "How Nearly 100 People in Mumbai Died From Toxic Alcohol". NDTV. 2015-06-22. Retrieved 2015-08-03.
  16. ^ Palash Ghosh. "Last Call: Poor Indians Continue To Die From Alcohol Poisoning From Liquor Laced With Industrial Chemicals". Retrieved 2015-08-03.
  17. ^ "86 Deaths Blamed on Toxic Indian Moonshine". Retrieved 2015-08-03.
  18. ^ "42 People In India Have Died After Drinking Toxic Alcohol". Retrieved 2015-08-03.
  19. ^ "COCKTAIL song: Daru Desi - Bollywood News & Gossip, Movie Reviews, Trailers & Videos at". 2012-06-02. Retrieved 2015-08-03.
  20. ^ "Top 10 Drunken Numbers of Bollywood - Top 10 - Hindi - Entertainment". The Times of India. 2012-01-11. Retrieved 2015-09-22.
  21. ^ "Char Baj Gaye Song Lyrics of F.A.L.T.U". Archived from the original on 2018-09-07. Retrieved 2015-09-22.
  22. ^ "Rahman and Ranbir rock it, but imtiaz disappoints". The Telegraph. Kolkata. 2011-11-12. Retrieved 2015-09-22.
  23. ^ Bollywood Hungama (2011-10-14). "Ranbir Kapoor talks about the music of Rockstar | Latest bollywood Hindi Movie Features". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 2015-09-22.
  24. ^ "Main Aur Mr. Riight / A tad too cheesy!". The Indian Express. 2014-12-19. Retrieved 2015-09-22.
  25. ^ "Teaser for Desi Daru song from Main Aur Mr Riight is out now | Indiablooms - First Portal on Digital News Management". Indiablooms. Retrieved 2015-09-22.

External links[edit]