Some associate it with big, fat Indian weddings, some with celebratory nights, and others will evenings of heartbreak. But you can't deny the fact that the Patiala peg is an integral part of any Indian's vocabulary, no matter how young or old you are!
The Patiala peg has been around for years and is accepted as the perfect measure of one's drinking 'capacity'. While we all may have many a crazy stories that have come out of its consumption, the drink described to be 'as high as the distance between pinky and index finger', has a story of its own. (Or actually a couple of them)
So, apparently, Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala had a very competitive Polo Team made up of Sikh warriors. One day, the Maharaja decided to invite 'Viceroy's Pride', a team of tall Irish men, for a friendly game of 'tent-pegging', a sport where the enemy camp's tents were made to fall in a way in which the soldier's inside the tent would get captured.
The Maharaja feared that his team would lose, so he devised a scheme to prevent it from happening. A night before the match, the Irish men were served whiskey, but a double shot of it. Known for their ability to drink at night and play in the day, the Irish men woke up with a bad hangover and lost the match. They did complain to the Maharaja about the size of their whiskey drink but all that he could say was:
'In Patiala, our pegs of whiskey are large!'
Another story about the Patiala peg is that the Maharaja would arrive fashionably late to the lavish parties he threw. Guests, who had to wait for about 2 to 3 hours, would be wasted by the time he would arrive. Hence, the tradition of pouring oneself a large drink to be sipped throughout the evening was born and along with it came the term 'Patiala peg'.