It is impossible to comprehend the speed of 2020’s gust of wind. It is also hard to believe that we are already in December- a merry month when most of us plan grand parties, and relaxing vacations- in the midst of great tales and greater cocktails.
With the year that has been lived, there is bound to be a little more than just a craving for trying something new- be it in the way we hold our parties or plan our delish menu.
To add an element of novelty to the cocktail game, there couldn’t be a better place to begin than the larger than life Indian spice cabinet.
The unlimited variety in the Indian kitchen is universally known and while the chicken curry might have its uniqueness with the Southern coconut curry or the Western Kolhapuri- we can’t miss out on using the condiments lying on our kitchen shelves to create some of the most delicious cocktails.
Though before getting into the recipes, there are a few tricks to help master the Indian bartending book right from the start.
- Stay simple– To say that the number of spices on the Indian culinary table is vast would be an understatement. Planning to make a concoction of all your favourite flavours will definitely be a disaster call. Stick to simplicity by choosing just one or a maximum of two condiments.
- Don’t over-stock– We all know how exciting parties are but don’t go overboard when you go grocery shopping. In fact, there might be no need to go shopping as you’ll be using what’s already there in your kitchen.
- Pick your flavour– And go all out with it. Creativity is limitless when it comes to art and drinks. While we have some interesting recipes for you, make your own space, get the ingredients out and pour more or less of what you like and voila– you will be enjoying your very own nouvelle soiree.
The Modern Punch
Lychee and Peach liqueur
White cranberry juice
1 lemon cut into slices
Mixing a quick punch
The recipe is quite simple really. All that needs to be done is bringing the ingredients together in a punch bowl topped with ice. To make it refreshing, add a few ice cubes in the serving glasses.
The modern punch tastes lovely when it’s cold and fresh. Give it a perfect look by garnishing it with a lemon slice.
The ginger ale lends the Modern Punch its Indian flavour. You don’t need to mix every ingredient listed above. Use what you have, and invent your classic family punch.
Gin Basil Smash
Good quality Gin
Cocktail for the gin lover
This recipe requires very little effort and is considered a delicious cocktail- which is best enjoyed in little sips. What would be an added bonus while making the smash is using fresh homegrown basil leaves from your house garden.
Begin by adding fresh basil leaves with lemon juice in a shaker. Put all your energy in bashing them up until the lemon juice has a vivid green color. Mix the rest of the ingredients with ice and end by double straining the mixture into an ice-filled glass.
The Gin basil smash is extremely refreshing and scores brownie points when paired with hot and spicy Indian food.
Cinnamon and Tamarind Whiskey
Freshly squeezed lime
An experimentalist’s first love
The flavor of tamarind and alcohol might seem a little novel to some, so do a quick survey to uncover your party’s experimentalists. Once you know the number of experimenters- begin by combining the bourbon, lime juice, simple syrup and a tsp of tamarind paste in a cocktail shaker.
Add ice and shake for a minute or so. Strain the mixture into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish with an orange slice or a piece of candied ginger to top it up.
Make sure the tamarind paste is high-quality to get the best out of this recipe. Shake well to let the ingredients mix perfectly, while enjoying your delicious creation.
The Rum-Cilantro Classic
A glass of freshness
This cocktail is refreshing, simple and approved by every person who tries it. A mix of sweet and sour, begin by adding cilantro leaves in a cocktail shaker with lime cut into eight pieces, a tsp sugar, and a little bit of syrup. Shake like the world depends on it.
Post this, add some ice and white rum to the shaker. Shake a bit more and strain into a highball glass half filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a lime wheel and a cilantro leaf to complete the cocktail.
The rum-cilantro classic is great for small as well as large gatherings. It’s sweet and sour flavour suits both palettes and pairs well while not being too heavy on the stomach.
Now that you know how to put your spices to their best use, go ahead and make your favorite- and share your tales on Instagram @ilivindia.
Please note: Many of the recipes are inspired by popular restaurants with a focus on their cocktail menu like Indian Accent, Indika and Meena Test Kitchen.