All washed up
An exciting technique in mixology infuses fats with alcohol. If you're craving zany, flavoured and textured spirits, here's where to go slurping
In the true spirit of susegad, a Goan eatery in BKC is readying to launch a new drinks menu that derives inspiration from sea creatures. It features eclectic fixes like an apéritif-based Mr Fenny-tastic made with the coastal state's homegrown liquor, feni; as well as not a bloody Mary (Rs 675), a cocktail comprising a mix of gin, tomato water and choriz fat-washed vodka. This drink employs the method of alcohol-washing, which is gaining currency among city bartenders.
"The technique is used to help give spirits a more savoury or umami flavour profile. It involves freezing an alcohol with flavoured butter/ fat/oil, and then skimming off the fat from the top, allowing the alcohol to absorb the oil-soluble and water-soluble flavours within the butter/fat/oil," Rahul Raghav, bar manager at O Pedro, explains. "It's an excellent way to encourage sustainability in bars and allow the kitchen and bar teams to collaborate. We use the leftover choriz butter to make this fat-washed vodka," he adds. Enjoy the beverage with dishes like prawn ambotik tartare or the wood-fired pumpkin flatbread.
AT O Pedro, Jet Airways — Godrej, Bandra Kurla Complex
TIME 12 pm to 1 am
Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Alcohol-washing was invented by Don Lee from PDT, a famed cocktail bar in New York, in 2007 when he fat-washed bourbon with bacon to create a contemporary classic cocktail. We learn this from celebrity mixologist Dimitri Lezinska, who has created the white lady (Rs 600) for a BKC-based restaurant. It comprises an unusual mix of ingredients. "The parmesan offsets the sweetness of the rum, pineapple and white chocolate, while the rum helps bind the drink together," he elaborates.
AT The Good Wife, The Capital, BKC
TIME 12 pm to 1 am
Pitter patter in a glass
At this craft cocktail bar and brewery, alcohol-washing finds its way in a drink inspired by the first spell of showers that usher in the monsoon season. Aptly called first rain (Rs 800), this drink contains mustard oil-washed bourbon along with raw sugar syrup and home-made apricot bitters. "Fat-washing [in this cocktail] takes out the harshness of flavours in the bourbon and bitters, making it a clear drink with interesting layers. Since the concoction is dedicated to the first rain that Indian farmers wait for, we use a clay pot for ageing ingredients and it helps support families of Indian potters," shares Santosh Kukreti, bar manager at the diner, adding that the cocktail is best enjoyed with their butter-poached prawns.
AT Thirsty City 127, Todi Mill, Lower Parel
TIME 6 pm to 1 am
High on shrooms
"Washing of alcohol with lipids is an underrated technique, but it gives you the chance to elevate a cocktail without changing too many facets of the recipe," shares Rahul Nanavare, manager at a Colaba gastropub. The menu features two drinks made using the technique — coconut (Rs 595), a coconut oil-washed rum drink, and shroom (Rs 595), another rum-based cocktail that makes use of truffle oil. Melted cheddar cheese with single malt smokey whiskies, brown butter with dark rum and bacon fat with bourbon are some pairings Nanavare suggests. Speaking about their cocktail inspired by mushrooms, he says, "The truffle oil has a robust flavour, and it lends an earthy and rich profile to the drink, which complements the dark rum."
AT Woodside Inn, Indian Mercantile Mansion, Colaba
TIME 12 pm to 1 am
Drink a dessert
"This technique imparts a richer texture and a silky mouth feel to drinks," says Abhishek Bindal, VP of operations at an Asian eatery that employs the technique of alcohol-washing in the red fruit fromage martini (Rs 950). The fruity cocktail, belonging to their recently launched drinks menu, features berry compote and mascarpone-washed vodka. "The washed vodka adds a creamy texture to the cocktail, while the red fruit compote along with fresh raspberry puree gives the drink a sweet and mildly tangy flavour," he explains.
AT Yauatcha, Raheja Tower, Bandra East
TIME 12 pm to 1.30 am
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