One of the sweetest and safest beverages you can get is tender coconut water. You can almost always find it in any beach, roadside or other tourist destinations in the south. In summer Mar-Jul, you can get fresh sugarcane juice in many places and even a lot of fresh fruit juice varieties. Cane juice is also sold by some good company stores such as 'Canola'. 'Kabbu' is another cane juice chain which is found exclusively in the state of Karnataka. Be careful as fresh juice may contain many germs besides unhygienic ice. Some of the better juice shops and restaurants may serve juices topped up with ice cubes made from bottled water, but it is wiser to ask for your juice "without ice". The juice vendors do not always clean their equipment properly and do not wash the fruits either.
India is famous for its Alphonso variety of mangoes, generally regarded as the King of Mangoes among connoisseurs. So do try the Alphonso mango-flavoured beverage Maaza bottled by Coca-Cola or Slice bottled by PepsiCo, both of which contain about 15% Alphonso mango pulp. Both of these brands will sure provide some needed refreshment during India's scorching hot summer. Both cost about ₹30-50 for a 600 ml bottle.
As for bottled water, make sure that the cap's seal has not been broken, otherwise, it is a tell tale sign of tampering or that unscrupulous vendors reuse old bottles and fill them with tap water, which is generally unsafe for foreign tourists to drink without prior boiling. Bottled water brands like Aquafina by PepsiCo and Kinley by Coca-Cola are widely available. Local brands like Bisleri are also acceptable and perfectly safe. Tastes may vary due to the individual brands' mineral contents. Avoid most locally sold soft drinks and soda's, they are known to have strong dyes and chemicals and can lead to nausea, diarrhea, and headache.
The legal drinking/purchasing age varies from state to state and Union Territory to Union Territory. It varies between 18 to 25 years of age. In some districts of Maharastra the age limt is 30. Alcohol is banned in some states.
Drinking alcohol can either be frowned upon or openly accepted, depending on the region and religion of the area within which you are drinking. For example, Goa, Punjab, and Pondicherry tend to be more free-wheeling and have low taxes on alcohol, while a few southern areas like Chennai are less tolerant of alcohol, and may even charge excessive taxes on it. Some states such as Gujarat are legally "dry" and alcohol cannot be bought openly there, although there is a substantial bootlegging industry. There are beverage corporation owned by most states where you can buy alcoholic beverages for retail price printed in bottle.You will generally find a queue of men, so female travelers may get a wary look. In some of the far-eastern states the age limit may exceed 21.
Favorite Indian tipples include beer, notably the ubiquitous Kingfisher a decent lager, and rum, particularly Old Monk. Prices vary by state, especially for hard liquor, but you can expect to pay ₹50-100 for a large bottle of beer and anywhere between ₹170-250 for a 750 ml bottle of Old Monk.
Indian wines, long a bit of a joke, have improved remarkably in recent years and there's a booming wine industry in the hills of Maharashtra. The good stuff is not particularly cheap expect to pay around ₹500 a bottle and selections are mostly limited to white wines, but look out for labels by Chateau Indage (http://www.indagegroup.com/) or 'Sula (http://sulawines.com).
Illegal moonshine, called tharra when made from sugar cane and toddy when made from coconuts, is widely available in some states. It's cheap and strong, but very dangerous as quality control is nonexistent, and best avoided entirely. In the former Portugese colony of Goa you can obtain an extremely pungent liquor called fenny or feni, typically made from cashew fruits or coconuts.
The sale of alcohol is illegal on certain days of the year known as Dry Days, which are Federally recognized holidays. These days include Republic dayJan 26, Independence DayAug 15, and Gandhi Jayanti Oct 2.
Cannabis in its many forms — especially ganja weed and charas hash — is widely available throughout India, especially in the tourist places like Goa, Rajasthan and small other tourist places where they have more tourist demands but they are all illegal in the vast majority of the country, and the letter of the law states that simple possession may mean years in jail.
However, in some states notably Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Orissa the one legal and socially accepted way to consume cannabis is as bhang, a low-grade preparation sold at government-licensed shops that is not only smoked, but also made into cookies, chocolate and the infamous bhang lassi, a herb-laced version of the normally innocuous yogurt drink. Bhang lassi is usually available at varying strengths, so use caution if opting for the stronger versions. It's also occasionally sold as "special lassi", but is usually easily spotted by the ₹30-50 price tag several times higher than the non-special kinds. An important point to bear in mind is that the effects of "Bhang" are slow and heighten when consumed with something sweet. Also, first time users may want to wait a while before consuming too much in an effort to judge their tolerance.
Everywhere you can get tea chai in most North Indian languages of one variety or another. Most common is the "railway tea" type: cheap ₹2-5, sweet and uniquely refreshing once you get the taste for it. It's made by brewing up tea leaves, milk, and sugar altogether in a pot and keeping it hot until it's all sold. Masala chai will also have spices added to the mix, such as cardamom, ginger, cinnamon, and black pepper. For some people, that takes some getting used to.
While Masala chai is popular in Northern and Central India, it must be noted that people in Eastern India West Bengal and Assam generally consume tea without spices, the English way. This is also the part of India where most tea is grown.
In South Indiaexcept Kerala, coffee especially sweet "filter coffee" replaces tea as a standard beverage.