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Mastani – History of Pune’s Iconic Drink

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I’d moved to Pune for work in 2012. I hadn’t heard about the Mastani drink before this and was intrigued to hear about this drink. One had heard tales of Bajirao Mastani. Bajirao I, the famous Maratha General known for his brilliant battle tactics. Mastani, his second wife was supposed to be strikingly beautiful. Mastani was the daughter of King Chhatrasal of Bundelkhand. Her mother was Muslim. Probably that’s why Bajirao’s extended family never accepted her and she was always considered an outsider. Bajirao Mastani‘s love story is now a big Bollywood film, starring Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone.

The Mastani drink fascinated me. My search for its origins took me to Sujata Mastani House, a famous shop in Sadashivpeth in Pune. Sujata is quite popular and has been around since 1968. But somehow I wasn’t convinced that Sujata Cold Drink House (their original name). Could be the reason for the Mastani drink to become such a big sensation. On further digging, I got to know that there’s an old Cold Drink place in Budhwar Peth, Hence I went looking for this place.

Gujjar Cold Drink House – Origin of the Mastani drink

Budhwar Peth is a typical area. Peth is the old name for locality in Marathi. There are 17 Peths in the older part of Pune and Budhwar Peth is one of them. My first experience of Budhwar Peth was somewhat unique. Some streets had rows of women standing in front of shady looking houses and opposite to them had rows of men standing and staring at them. A cop would come by randomly weilding his lathi (stick). Trying to disperse this crowd and giving the men a dose of his lathi. In the middle of all this hullabaloo, I managed to find this old looking but well maintained place called Gujjar Cold Drink House.

I had the Mastani here and it was special. First the syrup’s added to the glass. Ice cream’s added and then a bit of milk poured from top. Gujjar Cold Drink House makes their own syrups and their own ice cream. It started in the late 1930’s by the current owner’s grandfather. The original drink was called Ice Cream Cold Drink. His customers liked it so much that they started saying this was ‘Mast like Mastani’. Soon enough the Ice Cream Cold Drink got a new name – Mastani.

Here’s a recipe of a homestyle Mango Mastani https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZT-3qYXu5Q

Happy hunting and Chowder-on!

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