From the ubiquitous curry leaf and spicy cumin seed to the piquant burst of pani puri masala and zesty shikanji, cocktails across city bars are looking to homegrown flavours for inspiration
Pani Puri Margarita
The piquant sum of its homemade pani puri water, tequila, triple sec and citrus mix, the pani puri margarita is an ode to Mumbai's die-hard love affair with the street food staple. "I always loved the pani puri my mother made. Once when she made it, I had some tequila At hand. I decided to experiment, and it was a match made in heaven. It's more like mother's love mixed with my favourite spirit," says Pranav Mody, manager and mixologist, The Sassy Spoon, Nariman Point.
At Express Towers, Nariman Point.
Cost Rs. 490
Tamarind and dates and all the other ingredients -- house tamarind sauce, curry leaves, cumin, ginger, ginger ale -- in this cocktail are inspired by the taste of the Indian street chaat, all put together to balance the flavour of the gin and the colour of the drink. "Tamarind and dates were added to the drink to remind the drinker of Indian street food. They also lend a certain freshness to the cocktail, which is a take on the Moscow Mule, but with the Theory magic," says Ema Pereira, mixologist, Theory.
At Kamala Mills, Senapati Bapat Marg, Lower Parel.
Cost Rs. 850
MMS (Monkey Masala Soda)
Monkey Bar is a well-known destination for its unconventional cocktails thAt junk all the rules and strike off the sugary sweet concoctions -- replacing them with a host of original, trendy drinks. For the MMS, kaffir lime is muddled with vodka and a house made masala soda, making for a refreshing, simple and smooth cocktail. "It's no longer about regular cocktails, but a whole new spin, where innovation and freshness are firmly At the forefront," says Nakul Chandra, brand head, Monkey Bar.
At Summerville, 14th and 33rd Road, Linking Road, Bandra West.
Cost Rs. 320
China to Kolkata
Part of the special monsoon cocktail menu at Shizusan Shophouse & Bar, this cocktail uses peaches, native to northwest China, and the gondhoraj lime, which is Bengal's favourite ingredient. "Gondhoraj is fruitier and sharper than the regular nimbu, giving the cocktail a disctinct flavour. This one's our take on the classic Peach Margarita," says Tanai Shirali, director of operations At Shizusan.
At Skyzone, Highstreet Phoenix, Lower Parel.
Cost Rs. 525
An Indian spin on the Whiskey Sour, this cocktail is exciting from the word go. It is a mix of Bourbon, home-made shikanji (North Indian-style lemonade) puree, sweet and sour mix, rose syrup, rose water and egg white. All this is garnished with some rosemary. "Indians love shikanji, and most of them like whiskey, too. I wanted to blend two strong but complementary flavours thAt add a natural woodiness and sweetness to the cocktail. Shikanji adds a greAt fragrance, especially when garnished with rosemary," says Taufeeq Shaikh, bartender, Estella.
At Nichani Kutir, Juhu Tara Road, Juhu.
Cost Rs. 625
'Same-same, but different' is an oft-heard phrase when in Thailand, and the Thai-quilla cocktail is like a drinkable version of this oxymoronic saying! This Indo-Thai mélange is an amalgamation of kokum and tequila, along with Thai basil and fresh lime. "Kokum or Indian mangosteen lends a distinct sour element thAt blends exceptionally well with tequila. The basil adds a Thai twist to it, helping the cocktail go well with our restaurant's Asian flavours philosophy," says Farrokh Khambata, chef-owner, Umame.
At First floor, Cambata Building, next to Eros Theatre, Churchgate.
Cost Rs 550
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