Maharaja Sir Bhupinder Singh held the position of ruling Maharaja in the princely state of Patiala during the British India era, serving from 1900 to 1938. Captain Amarinder Singh, the former Chief Minister of Punjab, is the grandson of Maharaja Bhupinder Singh.
‘Patiala’ peg, a popular alcoholic beverage in Punjab, is traditionally served during celebrations and special occasions. Today, we will explore the origins and significance of the ‘Patiala Peg,’ particularly its high whisky content. The term ‘Patiala Peg’ can be traced back to the royal family of Patiala, specifically during the reign of Maharaja Bhupinder Singh. Maharaja Bhupinder Singh, an esteemed member of Indian royalty and a notable cricket player, held the title of Maharaja of Patiala from 1900 to 1938. Born into the Sidhu royal Jat Sikh family, he played a significant role in the history of the region.
In his book “Captain Amarinder Singh: The People’s Maharaja,” Captain Amarinder Singh, the former Chief Minister of Punjab, shares the captivating tale behind the origins of the famous ‘Patiala Peg.’ He reveals that his grandfather, Maharaja Bhupinder Singh, played a significant role in this story. In the year 1920, Maharaja Bhupinder Singh aimed to secure victory against the Irish polo team.
As part of his strategic plan, Maharaja Bhupinder Singh organized a lavish party for the Irish team on the eve of the game. To give himself an advantage, he devised a unique approach. He arranged for enormous whisky pegs, aptly named the ‘Patiala Peg,’ to be served exclusively to the English players, hoping to weaken their performance.
The following morning, on the day of the highly anticipated game, the British players were plagued by the debilitating effects of their hangovers, rendering them unable to secure victory against the team led by Maharaja Bhupinder Singh.
As the story goes, the origin of the ‘Patiala Peg’ can be traced back to an evening cricket match in the presence of British players, where Maharaja Bhupinder Singh conceptualized this unique measure. It is said that this unconventional measure was devised by the Maharaja himself.
Amarinder Singh further clarified that a ‘Patiala Peg’ is composed of 120 ml of whisky, measured by the space between the index and little fingers when held parallel to the glass. This precise measurement became synonymous with the tradition of the ‘Patiala Peg.’