Discovering the G-spot
Mumbai's first gin bar will make you wax lyrical about the distilled spirit, provided you're willing to loosen the purse strings
If you've been hanging at the city's trending watering holes, you'll know that gin, the crisp, tart spirit brimming with botanicals, is enjoying its moment in the sun. No wonder then that we now have a dedicated space for it.
Jyran, a first-of-its-kind gin bar, that launched last month at Sofitel Mumbai BKC houses 30 gin varieties sourced from 11 countries. This writer, though, has been a late bloomer on the scene, graduating to gin only after trying our hand at all else. Our knowledge, therefore, is limited to the fact the predominant flavour in the distilled drink needs to be juniper, and that it's mainly for the sophisticated palate.
Nikhil Merchant with the trolley
To gain further insight, we sought assistance from restaurant consultant and gin enthusiast, Nikhil Merchant to play guide as we head to the BKC outpost. A gourmand, Merchant turned to the drink eight years ago, while we were still revelling in vodka, because he wanted "an undiluted clear spirit which carries the essence of the original botanicals".
Airy and tastefully done up, Jyran comes across as much as a day place as a night haunt. A large board breaks down the concept of gin and their different offerings. The menu is divided into four categories; classic and citrus, fruity and aromatic, and spiced and earthy, and playful which makes it fairly easy to navigate.
The prices start from Rs 1,000 onward, which is steep but expected given the venue. On Merchant's suggestion, we start our tasting with Stranger and Sons, one of the first indigenous gins to be distilled since the forties. We bury our noses into the glass jars, and are greeted by a potent aroma of liquorice, pepper, nutmeg, mace and coriander.
The martini that the mixologist has whipped up using this spirit feels cool refreshing with its pronounced citrus flavours. But it may not be the drink you want to start off with. For that, we'd suggest a cocktail made with Malfy, an Italian gin made using an infusion of Italian coastal lemons, served with club soda and a wedge of lime. "It's the perfect day drink or something a newbie may want to start with because while there's character, it's also smooth," says Merchant. A special mention for the bartenders who are eager to identify your tastes. It's for this purpose that there's a cocktail trolley laden with ingredients, to have the bar come to you.
But if there's one drink that is winner it's Love with a pinch of salt comprising Dutch Courage gin, peach puree and almond syrup. "It's the crowd favourite," says the bartender. No surprises.
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