Fine whisky, superior-quality vodka and wellaged wine are the preserves of the bon vivant and signify the good life. But what do you think of a concoction shaken up with rare ingredients that is innovative enough to take you by surprise? Pleasantly tipsy, we’d say.
From sweet concoctions to potent poisons, mixologists in India are taking their craft a notch higher by creating magic with offbeat ingredients and innovative presentation. The result: They are stirring up a storm with cocktails these days that have an elegance of their own and come with a price tag that is not easy to cough up. But they certainly are worth the grandeur, and what’s more, they have been very well received for their ultra-luxurious look and feel, apart from the burst of flavours that have caused intrigue amidst loyalists. Modern mixologists, however, are outdoing themselves with bar staples like bitters, tinctures, seltzers and even Campari being put to good use to get people drunk, in style! So we’d say cocktail-guzzlers, it’s time to ditch the basics and go for imported ingredients, expensive spirits and offbeat garnishes that together have the power to turn cocktail sipping into a lavish experience. We’ve rounded up four such concoctions that promise to live up to your expectations. Cheers!
The Spicy Affair
at Hotel Sahara Star, Mumbai
Head to The Earth Plate at Hotel Sahara Star for The Spicy Affair, a whisky cocktail that will get you in the mood in just one serve. An amalgamation of fine single oak malt Scotch and aged peach that are spiced with a mix of 51 spices and flavoured with mesquite wood smoke, The Spicy Affair makes for an intriguing beverage. However, the real element of luxury lies in the dark chocolate caviar served on the side. Presented in a rose-gold plated, old-fashioned glass, the Belgian chocolate caviar adds a hint of sweetness to this otherwise spicy mix and balances out the flavours to give you a drink so rare, you will remember it forever.
Says Dipesh Sinha, Assistant Food & Beverage Manager, Hotel Sahara Star, “The liquid used to make this smooth and luxurious cocktail is the Glenlivet 25 Year Old Single Malt Whisky that has superior notes of dark chocolate, spiced-fruits and nuts. When combined with the perfect spice mix-that has been uniquely created after careful consideration of aroma and balance—it gives a tantalising flavour. We’ve used spices from all over the world like Spain, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Turkey and even some locally grown Indian spices which make this a unique cocktail.”
Ingredients: Glenlivet 25 Year Old Single Malt Whisky, aged peach, 51 spice mix, mesquite wood smoke and dark chocolate caviar
The Foggy Skyline
at Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel, Mumbai
The name ‘Foggy Skyline’ was inspired by the scenic view of the Powai skyline that can be experienced from the Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel every day at dawn. The Foggy Skyline is a concoction that has a base of one of the finest Scotch whiskies, Johnnie Walker Odyssey, and also incorporates Martell XO Cognac, along with a few dashes of cranberry juice for a refreshing flavour. A squeeze of lime juice makes it more appetising,as it is poured over ice. The drink is finished with cinnamon and 24-carat gold dust.
“The most premium Scotch and cognac are used for the preparation—while our bartenders create it with utmost precision for an experience like none other,” adds Aishwarya Singh, Beverage Manager, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel. Guests at the Renaissance are thrilled by the various aspects of the drink and are often excited to try it. “The name, the storyline, the method of preparation and the ingredients all delight our guests and also keep them bewitched by the astonishing experience,” concludes Singh.
Ingredients: Johnnie Walker Odyssey, Martell XO Cognac, cranberry juice, lime juice, cinnamon smoke and 24-carat gold dust
Charente De Royal
at Novele, New Delhi
A lavish cocktail bar in the heart of New Delhi, Novelécaters to the crème de la crème with creative and innovative concepts and, of course, unusual concoctions. This concept bar stands out for giving customers a unique dining experience. While the bar is tended by UK-based celebrity mixologists Luca Cinalli and Gabriele Manfredi, who are adept at perfecting your drink, Chef Akshay Nayyar specialises in giving every dish an innovative twist to take your dining experience to new levels.
Charente De Royal, concocted by Luca Cinalli, is a champagne-based cocktail, inspired by the Charente River in France, which aims for opulence to meet fantasy with its herbal finish. It adds a hint of royalty to your regular cocktail and takes it several notches higher with an amalgamation of champagne, cognac and pine liqueur that is flavoured with nigella, cocoa butter and candyfloss! The presentation too is intended to win hearts and there is nothing that will leave you unimpressed.
“The drink leaves a sweet yet fizzy aftertaste, while the presentation of the drink in itself is very unique. Upon serving, the drink is topped with a piece of candy floss that is made in-house, just at the time of serving. No artificial flavours or colours are used and everything is produced in-house, and thus the quality is guaranteed,” says the restaurant representative. The drink, we learnt, is very frequently ordered at the bar and is known for both its pleasing taste and the theatrical element that comes along with it.
Ingredients: Cognac, pine liqueur, nigella, cocoa butter, champagne and candyfloss
at Taj Bengal, Kolkata
Trust the Bengalis to come up with the most complex cocktails and make it look so simple and tantalising at the same time. “This cocktail, called Station Master is served at The Junction, the bar at Taj Bengal. A signature drink, Station Master is in tandem with The Junction’s theme that is set in pre-Independence Indian Railways and gives out the vibe of a place where people can unwind after a journey,” states Modhurima Sinha, Spokesperson, Taj Bengal.
The potent cocktail is available at a premium price, as the ingredients used are all extremely premium spirits, such as London dry gin, Louis XIII Cognac, sweet vermouth and bay leaf cordial. People love experimenting and are open to trying out different concoctions which is why this cocktail is also a popular choice. At least two to three of these cocktails are sold every month, we are told.
Ingredients: London dry gin, Louis XIII Cognac, sweet vermouth, bay leaf cordial and fresh pineapple juice