London: Nobody had ever imagined that Mandakini, a sugarcane-based spirit inspired by the people of Kothamangalam, would be a huge hit like this. Mandakini Malabari Vat, one of the trending topics of the week among Malayalees, also became viral not only in Canada but all over the world. It was netizens who started their tongues wagging about Mandakini at first. As a result, all the alcohol loving Malayalees in Canada went in search of Mandakini. Since it is only available at a distillery in Vaughan, about 30 km from Toronto, after being placed on the shelf on Friday, the call of the needy came even from neighbouring provinces.
When Mandakini became trending on WhatsApp and Facebook, the Malayalee community was on the lookout for who is behind this. Now it is revealed that a brother duo from Kothamangalam and their friend from Muvattupuzha are behind this initiative. They are based in London, Ontario, Canada. Although the locals here know about them, they do not want to be named for the time being. Jamaican, Cuban and Puerto Rican rums are some of the most popular breweries in the world. Mandakini was born out of the thought of why Kerala, famous for its vat, could not reach the world liquor market.
It was just two years ago, the brother duo and their friend started thinking about producing an indigenous Kerala spirit. Although they went to many distilleries with the recipe of VAT, it was only Don Dimonte from Last Straw Distillery in Vaughn who was ready to test the Malabari VAT. That is how sugarcane-based spirit, which was discussed under the names of Nadan Vat and Malabari Vat, made its debut as ‘Mandakini’.
How did they choose the ingredients?
Sugar from sugarcane has traditionally been the basic ingredient in VAT. Mandakini is no different. The brother duo and their friend approached plenty of local distillers in Kerala. It was then they realized that all of our native distillers were great craftsmen and extremely skilled. Anyone can make a wash, but to make a vat requires the same skill as a cook. Twenty such combinations were obtained from many, and they tested the possibilities of all of them in the distillery.
Since many of the tested recipes were spice rums, they were forced to exclude them. The main reason to do so was spice rums were not that popular in the market. Their goal was to present a world-famous rum. The idea of how to get recognition for a favourite folk product of the respective country also came up. Therefore, it was decided that a moderate amount of spices should be added. The idea of Malabari vat came about with the decision to establish the touch of Malabar, which is famous for its spices.
Although now Mandakini is available only in Don Dimonte’s craft, at his distillery in a small town in Canada, their dream is to present it in the international market. It can also be booked online from anywhere in Canada. Like Malabar Biryani and Porota, Malabar’s vat will soon be on the table. But for Mandakini, finding a place on Canadian Liquor store shelves is still a long way to go.
Who and what is Mandakini?
Although the word means ‘calm flowing’, Mandakini is also a famous river. In addition, two things related to cinema influenced the naming of this brand. Mandakini, the famous actress, is best known for her role in the 1985 Hindi film ‘Ram Teri Ganga Mayuli’ and The drug known as Mandakini in the Malayalam film ‘Mariam Vannu Vilakkoothi’ are the two things that inspired this famous brand name.
Apart from Nadan Vat, Desi Daru, Nattu Sarakku, and Nattu Sara were written in Hindi, Punjabi, Telugu and Tamil on the bottle. The goal of this marketing strategy is to attract all Canadian spirit lovers to Mandakini. As a result, many people have come to Vaughan to buy Mandakini, even from miles away. The makers of this new brand say they are so happy that Malabar’s unique liquor has become a worldwide hit.