Yes, one can easily resonate with the term ‘Patiala Peg’, specifically people living in northern India. A number of songs today use these words quite often to refer to consumption of large quantities of alcohol. So what is a patiala peg and why is it called so?
Patiala peg is a glass of whiskey with roughly 120 ml of alcohol. And yes, it has to be whiskey. No other alcoholic drink can be called a patiala peg than whiskey. The measure is usually taken with the help of index finger and little finger of a hand. The distance between these two fingers makes up a patiala peg. This can also be measured by using the middle finger and ring finger joined together so as to pour a quantity equal to their horizontal height combined.
Patiala is a historical town in Punjab. About 24 kms away from Rajpura, one can reach Patiala by taking a diversion on NH-1 instead of turning towards the road to Chandigarh. Apart from patiala peg, this town is also world famous for patiala jutti and patiala salwar.
Blast From The Past
Maharaja Bhupinder Singh ruled Patiala from 1891-1938. He was quite a host when it came to parties, which were frequent in his palace during his reign. It was during one of such parties that patiala peg was born. There are two major theories that make rounds during discussions about patiala peg.
According to the first theory, the Maharaja had an elaborate team of sikh polo players. One day, he invited the ‘Viceroy’s Pride’ which was a fine team consisting of tall Irish players. The sikh players were quite intimidated by their demeanour. Having sensed this, the Maharaja held a party for all the players of both sides, the night before the game of tent pegging was to take place. He purposefully made extra large drinks for the Irish players. As anticipated, the Irish players were dizzy the next morning and lost to Maharaja’s team. The lost players then complained to the ruler that their drinks were too heavy the last night to which the Maharaja responded, “Yes, in Patiala our pegs are large!”. And thus the ‘patiala peg’ was born.
A second theory states that the Maharaja used to throw lavish parties but kept the guests waiting by arriving late at it himself. The guests had to wait for as long as 2-3 hours for the Maharaja to arrive. By the time the host came in, most of them got wasted. To avoid this embarrassment, the guests used to pour themselves a patiala and sip it throughout the night.
Modern Day Fame
Patiala peg has acquired fame in the recent times due to its use in bollywood as well as punjabi songs. A recent mention of patiala peg was made in Punjab Congress President Captain Amarinder Singh’s autobiography, ‘Captain Amarinder Singh: The People’s Maharaja’, which was released in February this year. In the book he talks about the history of patiala peg and the modern day alcohol abuse of punjabi youth in the name of it.
Well, that was something we didn’t already know about alcohol right? Let us know if you liked it in the comments section below!