Indian Pale Ale: An Icon of Empire

  • Alan Pryor
Part of the Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series book series (CIPCSS)


Indian colonies, once established, had to be supplied with the necessities of life that were ‘appropriate’; in other words, European. In the crucible of a tropical climate new products such as mulligatawny soup and curry, which became established in the sub-culture of British India before being introduced to the palate of mainland Britain, emerged. In 2008, Elizabeth Buettner spoke of the incorporation of chicken tikka masala into the British culture by the end of the twentieth century, where the original dish, chicken tikka, had been hybridised by the addition of masala sauce to satisfy British tastes. In a time of racial tension in Britain, this was seen as an example of food being seen as a non-threatening sphere of cultural diversity.1 In the early nineteenth century, a similar invasion took place with the introduction of Indian pale ale to the British drinker. Like the chicken tikka masala, it brought connotations of India but with a different message for a different time, where the exotic element of India had been tamed by its commodification into ‘non-threatening’ food items, such as curry, mulligatawny soup and Indian pale ale.


Bitter Taste Early Nineteenth Century Indian Market Agency House Brew Industry 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  • Alan Pryor

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