Boris Johnson has been embroiled in another political gaffe after discussing alcohol in a Sikh temple.

The foreign secretary was in Bristol trying to rally support for the Conservatives, but instead caused upset and offence when he discussed Scottish whisky in the sacred space.

Johnson, whose wife is of Sikh Indian descent, was trying to sell the potential benefits of creating a free trade deal with India, but seemed unaware that the Sikh religion banned consumption of alcohol.

Speaking at the Nirman Sewak Jatha temple on Wednesday (17 May), Johnson said: "What are the consequences of having so many Sikh relatives, and I hope I am not embarrassing anybody, is that whenever we go to India, to Mumbai or to Delhi, we have to bring 'clinkie' in our luggage.

"We have to bring Johnny Walker or we have to bring whisky because, as you know, there is a duty of 150% in India on Scotch whisky.

"But imagine what we could do if there was a free trade deal with India – which there will be. You are talking hundreds of millions of pounds of new exports and more exports is great for a fantastic export city like Bristol."

Johnson's comments drew criticism from a number of people who attended the event, some of whom voiced their concerns publicly.

Balbir Kaur, a worshipper at the temple, told Johnson: "You have just said that the main objective is to get the trade between India and England and the basis of that is alcohol, which is, in Sikhism, against our religion.

"So I wouldn't be wanting to put somebody in power who wants to put more alcohol in India which is causing lots of problems at the moment.

"I am a practicing Sikh and to me that is absolutely outrageous."

Speaking to the Bristol Post after the event, she added: "Although he says his wife is Indian he has no values for India and, to me, that means that the Conservatives are not bothered about what the people want, it is what they want to do.

"In front of the Gurdwara to talk about and promote alcohol is offensive, he not have been stood there talking about that, he should have known that."

Bhai Narinderjit Singh, general secretary of the Sikh Federation, told the Guardian that "no politician in his right mind" would speak in a gurdwara about a trade deal involving alcohol.

"It is a requirement that Sikhs should not consume any intoxicants," he said.

"Anyone [Sikh or non-Sikh] who has consumed alcohol or has tobacco on them is not allowed to enter a gurdwara, Sikh place of worship. There are signs up in all gurdwaras."

The scandal comes amid rumours that Johnson has been sidelined from being a focal point in campaigning for the general election due to his propensity for gaffes and tendency to stray off message.