Millet Wine

A woman in a smoky kitchen, taking a break by the door.

She is one of three working here to make Rakshi this morning. Rakshi is the local alchoholic drink, made from distilled millet wine. In Nepali kitchens, cooking is done with a wood fire, and there is never a chimney. When something large is cooking, like a vat of rakshi, the room fills with smoke.

NOT FOUND: IMG_2667.jpgAnother woman assembling the brass still over the fire. She then sealed the gaps with buffalo dung and filled the top with cold water. The wine boils in the bottom bowl and rises up through the large, middle section, which has a smaller collection bowl within it. When it hits the bottom of the top bowl full of cold water, it condenses and drips into the collection bowl.

Rakshi is the drink of hospitality, offered to guests to make the feel welcomed. Chandra and I were offered some of her rakshi. It was incredibly light and smooth, a joy to taste. Not what I expected to come from a dung-covered still in a smoke-filled room. Nepal constantly surprises me with its joys and smiles woven within the fabric of struggle and hardship.