First Coined In The Early 1900s, A Maharaja From Punjab Blessed The World With ‘Patiala Peg’

by Mallika Khurana
First Coined In The Early 1900s, A Maharaja From Punjab Blessed The World With ‘Patiala Peg’

We have all heard of Patiala pegs at some point in our lives, and mostly, it is during a celebration. Even if we were mostly unaware of what it exactly meant, we could gather that it was a potent drink that originated in Patiala. A large amount of alcoholic beverage (usually 120 ml), particularly whisky, is referred to as a ‘Patiala Peg’. The word was first used in reference to the extravagant and opulent city of Patiala. However, the story behind the drink is far more interesting. 

The Maharaja Of Patiala Named This Drink Patiala Peg

Patiala peg story
Photo Credits: Canva

The Patiala Peg has a fascinating past that begins in the early 20th century, during the reign of the Maharajas. According to legend, Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, who was renowned for his love of opulence and luxury, had a distinctive way of indulging in his whisky. Over the past century, many versions of this story have floated around. As per the story, the Viceroy Pride, a polo team from Ireland, were invited to play against the Maharaja’s team. 

The Punjab team was quite skilled at the sport, but the Irish players didn’t seem like newbies either. Coming up with a clever way to ensure their victory during the match, the Maharaja served the foreigners copious amounts of alcohol. The next day, they were to compete in a match of tent pegging. During this game, the players had to collect objects with spears while riding horses. This was allegedly the first time the term “Patiala peg” was coined.

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It Is The Perfect Drink For Celebrations

Patiala peg history
Photo Credits: Canva

There are quite a few versions of this story. As per Maharaja Bhupinder Singh’s grandson, Captain Amarinder Singh’s biography, the Irish team arrived in India for a cricket match and not tent pegging. A generous pour of whisky that was larger than usual became more popular over time.

The Patiala Peg now represents the spirit of indulgence and celebration in Indian drinking culture, transcending its original association with the city of Patiala. It is frequently savoured on celebratory occasions.

No matter how this drink came to be, it is certainly a treat. Isn’t it?

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva