We haven’t been drinking excessively, but we’ve noticed some strange things floating in our booze lately. There’s Madras curry powder and buttermilk in the drinks at Aura in Powai, roasted cumin and kokum in the cocktails at Bonobo in Bandra, and at Flames at Le Royal Meridien in Andheri (E), rock salt and Rooh Afza are martini ingredients.
If more Mumbaikars have been demanding spice-seared cocktails over the past couple of years, it’s because more Indians have been travelling to South-East Asia, says Oliver Viegas, the bar manager for Stax at the Hyatt Regency, Mumbai. As a result, “they are more willing to experiment with Asian flavours in food and drink”. Cocktail specialist Shatbhi Basu says: “Bartenders are finally bringing the kitchen into the bar. All these years, it was the other way round.”
One of the first spicy cocktails was Tamarind Mary— invented by Eric Lobo in 2000 when he was head bartender at Indigo. It’s made by adding tamarind juice and cumin to a Bloody Mary. His Out of School cocktail combines vodka with guava juice, red chillies and salt, evoking the school-gate chaatwala. For the Moroccan Fly, pepper, cloves, star anise, cumin, cinnamon and nutmeg are steeped in brandy and vodka. Lobo has even chilled and strained pepper rasam before serving it with vodka.
Check out these spicy cocktail menus below:
Butter Ani Martini: Buttermilk, white rum, Sambuca, maple syrup, mint leaves, aniseed, cream.
Madras Express: Malibu, pineapple juice, lemongrass, ginger, bitters, cumin, Madras curry powder.
Rodas Ecotel Hotel, Hiranandani Gardens, Powai (66936900). Rs400 each.
Ratnagiri Rhapsody: Lychee juice, kokum, roasted cumin and limey gin.
Kenilworth, Linking Road, Bandra (W) (26055050). Rs300 each.
Indigo Mary: Vodka, cumin vodka, chilli vodka, tamarind and tomato juice.
Indigo Restaurant, Mandlik Road, Colaba (66368986). Rs250-385.
Le Royal Meridien
His Majesty: Vodka, lime, rock salt, Rooh Afza shaken with ice and strained.
Sahar Airport Road, Andheri (E) (29262736). Rs450 each.
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