Somrus Delivers an Indian Experience



On September 21, 2018, every cup of chai felt a little more special.

That particular Friday marked the inaugural celebration of National Chai Day, a holiday that pays tribute to almost 5,000 years of strong, sweet, aromatic flavor.

For those who celebrated, from tea fiends to the entire Indian subcontinent, all thanks and gratitude can be directed toward Somrus, the world’s first Indian cream liqueur. The company applied to National Day Calendar, citing chai’s popularity and cultural significance. Then they picked a day important to founder PK Garg (September 21 is his birthday). There were around 18,000 submissions and Somrus was one of the 30 to be picked.

“We told the story behind chai, its relevance and how mainstream it has become,” said Lisa Leventhal, Somrus’s National Brand Ambassador. “It’s a common household word now.”

While National Chai Day could be interpreted as genius marketing, Somrus’s goal is centered on good karma — they simply want to share India’s rich flavors with the rest of the world.

Somrus represents an untapped flavor profile, and it’s filling a need most people didn’t even know they had.


A Message from the Gods

On a flight home from India, PK Garg ate a spicy meal followed by creamy rasmalai, a Bengali dessert. He ordered an Irish cream liqueur to complement his Indian-inspired dinner, but something was off. The flavors didn’t blend the way he hoped they would.

There are hundreds of drinks on the market that embody the places they’re from, so PK questioned why there wasn’t one that embodied a country that holds one-fifth of the world’s population.


At 30,000 feet in the air, PK received a message from the gods: Infuse the essence of India in a cream liqueur.

“Out of the four categories — beer, wine, spirits and cordials — cordials make the most sense for us to live in,” Leventhal said.


From India to Illinois to Florida

Encompassing the flavor profile of an entire country into a single beverage is a feat that takes years to master, and PK’s wife Swati did it on her own.

The two-year process, according to Leventhal, began with “Swati in her kitchen, in her home in Burr Ridge, IL, in front of a pot.”

For PK and Swati, two people who “aren’t big drinkers and knew nothing about the liquor industry,” creating an Indian cream liqueur was a series of experiments. But they were committed respecting the ingredients and keeping it an all-natural product.

Swati made “batch after batch after batch,” infusing milk and cream with pistachios, almonds, cardamom, saffron and rose — a flavorful chai.

Then, she added rum.

“Rum was the best pairing and it was the most complementary to all of the other ingredients,” Leventhal said. “It was so delicate.”

And “delicate” is the quintessential Somrus experience. Its softness is the perfect counterpart to India’s vibrant cuisine.

It’s so perfect, in fact, the cordial was even featured at Epcot’s India booth at the 2018 Food and Wine Festival in Walt Disney World earlier this year.

“They were so excited to have our product,” Leventhal said. “They’ve always wanted to represent India, but they never had an alcoholic pairing that would go well with the food.”

Several Lives

Leventhal was one of Somrus’s first fans, even before the brand recruited her. She discovered Somrus at a trade show in San Francisco a few years ago and she was instantly enamored.

Leventhal enjoys Somrus in tea, coffee and on the rocks, and she sometimes pours it over ice cream. She’s used it in margaritas and gin fizzes, and she’s even mixed it with a rainbow of spirits, from scotch to vodka. When Leventhal would make custom cocktails at home, her friends and family noticed it was always with Somrus and it always complemented the flavors she already loved.

“It’s a product that has so many components and so many different flavor profiles,” she said. “How would I ever have gotten pistachio, cardamom, rose, almond and saffron into a product on my own?”

Somrus draws its initial inspiration from India, but its flavor profile also enjoys a certain versatility.

“Most other cream liqueurs are used as a modifier in cocktail recipes,” Leventhal said. “But Somrus’s flavor profile is so interesting that most bartenders want to enhance those flavors instead. It really is a standalone product.”

Somrus is purposeful in its delivery: This is what I was made for, but this is what I can do.

The beauty is in the consistency and the efficiency. Why spend time meticulously gathering the exact measurements of ingredients when Somrus embodies five flavors in one?

“It’s a one-stop shop,” Leventhal said. “I don’t need five or six different products to make a cocktail when Somrus gets the same, if not better, result.”

When Leventhal takes Somrus to trade shows, the recipes she presents are borne from her own inspiration or Swati’s innovation. There’s even a downloadable book on the Somrus website that features 50 different recipes — proof that Somrus doesn’t have just one life, but many.

An Experience

The versatility Somrus has in its product is reflected in its demographic.

The cream liqueur was developed with the Indian population in mind and while they’ve been “extremely supportive,” they aren’t Somrus’s number one purchaser.

Leventhal said the number one consumer is Caucasians within the ages of 30 to 50, and they’re predominantly female. It’s a surprising fact until Leventhal breaks it down.

“I think people these days are looking more for experiences in life than they are material things,” Leventhal said. 

And that’s precisely what Somrus is: an experience. “Somrus” means “nectar of gods” and its name has origins dating back to 2600 BC. It’s believed the gods saw it as a divine beverage that “had the power to prevent the human body from degeneration.”

Somrus is a cream liqueur that derives itself from Indian history and reflects the country’s cultural identity. It’s helping to broaden horizons and expose people to other parts of the world, and National Chai Day was a leap forward in doing so.

“People are discovering new things. Maybe it’ll inspire them to take a trip to India, go to the Spice Trail and learn about the flavors,” Leventhal said. “It’s about delivering an experience that someone may have never had and it’s rewarding.”

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