Limit search to available items
Book Cover
Author McHugh, James (James Andrew), author.

Title An unholy brew : alcohol in Indian history and religions / James McHugh
Published New York, NY : Oxford University Press, [2021]
Online access available from:
Oxford Scholarship Online    View Resource Record  


Description 1 online resource : illustrations
Contents Introduction -- Aperitif: Surā, the Prototypical Liquor of India -- ROUND ONE: DRINKS AND DRINKING: Cup One: Surā Made From Grains -- Cup Two: Sugarcane, Wine, Toddy, and Other Drinks -- Cup Three: Surā Brewing and Public Drinking -- Cup Four: Luxurious, Erotic Drinking in Literary Texts -- Cup Five: Drink, Health, and Disease in Āyurvedic Texts -- ROUND TWO: DRINK AND RELIGION: Cup Six: Drink in Ritual, Myths, and Epic -- Cup Seven: The Filth of Grain and the Pain of Drink: Morality, Vice, and Law -- Cup Eight: Surā Regained: Drink in Tantra -- Cup Nine: Firewater and Corpse-Reviver: Alcohol in Later Sanskrit Sources -- Digestif: What Do We Do About This Stuff That Makes Everything Go Awry? -- Appendix: Soma, Ancient Drugs, and Modern Scholars -- Bibliography
Summary "An Unholy Brew is the first book on alcohol in pre-modern India. Using a wide range of sources from the Vedas to the Kāmasūtra, McHugh explores the drinks, styles of drinking, and sophisticated theories of abstinence found in South Asia from our earliest Sanskrit written records through the second millennium CE. McHugh begins with the intoxicating drinks people devised over the centuries, made from grains, sugars, fruits, and herbs. Texts describe a number of types of drinking. We read of public drinking at the brewery-tavern, and at festivals and weddings. Poetic texts depict elite drinking, often in an erotic mode. Medical texts explain how a rich man should regulate his drinking correctly, and how to cure drink sickness. Myths and epic stories explain how drink came into being and was assigned the ritual and legal status it has today. McHugh also explores Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain moral and legal texts on drink and abstinence. Drink is used in some Tantric rituals, and the book presents an account of drink in the work of Kashmiri Abhinavagupta. One later Tantric text contains a detailed description of the goddess Liquor, Surā, translated here in full, along with considerations of cannabis and opium. Finally, what happened to these drinks, stories, and theories in the last few centuries? An Unholy Brew brings to life the overlooked, complex world of brewing, drinking (and abstaining) in pre-modern India, and includes clear case studies of topics such as law and medicine, along with recipes for drinks"-- Provided by publisher
Bibliography Includes bibliographical references and index
Notes Description based on online resource; title from digital title page (viewed on October 13, 2021)
Subject Alcoholic beverages -- History
Alcoholic beverages -- India
Alcoholism -- Religious aspects.
Drinking of alcoholic beverages -- History
Drinking of alcoholic beverages -- Religious aspects.
Drinking of alcoholic beverages -- India
Alcoholic beverages.
Alcoholism -- Religious aspects.
Drinking of alcoholic beverages -- Religious aspects.
Drinking of alcoholic beverages.
Genre/Form History.
Form Electronic book
LC no. 2021027067
ISBN 0197603033