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Cocktails for an Indian summer

Cocktails for an Indian summer

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By Georgina Hayden

Ah, sunshine, croquet and Pimms… what is there not to love about summertime?

What’s more, we’ve been so lucky this year with the weather. And now there’s another mini-summer this week, so I can extend the season of long weekends sitting on our balcony, drinking cocktails and catching up with friends – there really is nothing better.

Now the key to being a fabulous hostess (or host!) isn’t showy, fancy-pants cocktails, it’s a steady stream of delicious things. I only learnt this after many failed attempts to make my guests fabulous drinks to order – you end up spending all your time in the kitchen. If you are only having a few people over by all means dig out the cocktail shaker and do your best Tom Cruise impression. However, if your guests are plenty then it’s best to make a punch or even infuse spirits ahead of time to top with a mixer to give you interesting combos. The latter is my favourite – investing a little time and love in an exotic spirit creates impressive cocktails with not much effort at all. Try infusing berries into vodka with a split vanilla pod and a few spoonfuls of sugar. Leave it for a few weeks, then simply strain and serve topped with bitter lemon or apple juice. Other cracking concoctions are citrus-based liquors. Make a sugar syrup with your favourite citrus juice and mix with the spirit of your choice. Bergamot gin topped with tonic? Clementine and lime vodka with soda? Amazing, just add a slice of fruit and you have an instant hit.

An exciting and simple way to start a party, especially if it’s a special occasion, is a really simple Champagne or Prosecco cocktail, such as Jamie’s pomegranate and bubbly recipe, which can be adapted according to the season. Another great party classic is punch. Forget the “dumping-every-type-of-booze-in-a-plastic-bucket-and-drinking-it” tactic from student days gone by, and think of delicious refreshing mixes such as Spanish sangria – slices of citrus, mixed with a fruity red wine, sugar, soda and brandy. Delicious. And don’t be afraid to play around with the ingredients a little depending on your taste – try it with rosé or even white wine, and they will work with different fruits too.

The key to a good punch is to experiment with your favourite flavours but make sure you keep the ingredients minimal. And try not to go overboard on the spirits, because punch is often approached like pop and gets necked very quickly! You don’t want legless guests by 4pm. I love elderflower as a base for a summery punch. Mix it with gin, fresh mint and good-quality cloudy lemonade and bulk it out with fruit such as apple slices or grapes. And if the weather is not so great, go for slightly wintery mixtures – spiced rum with ginger syrup or alcoholic ginger beer, fresh lime and apple juice is a wonderful treat. If it is really nippy out then warm the apple juice first, which is a sure-fire way to warm your cockles.

And last but no means least think about how you are going to serve/ present your drinks – basic but oh-so important. You don’t need to dig out your posh crystal, but having a few large jugs on ice will work a treat. Pimp up the cups with colourful stripy straws and even go full-on kitsch and add paper umbrellas for some summertime fun. A few years ago I invested in a glass cocktail dispenser, which didn’t cost much at all and has quite frankly been my saving grace on many occasions. Whip one of these bad boys out, filled with some delicious concoction and your friends will love you forever.

Indian Summer Cocktails

My friends used to be happy enough with the free booze that came along with a session of cocktail experiments. Now they’ve become my biggest critics: “Needs more acid,” they say. “The ginger-beer thing is so tired.” “If I see one more riff on the Manhattan…”

This week I had a fridge full of late-summer peaches and early-autumn apples (and an extra bottle of bourbon), so I tooled around with some drinks. And some more. And a few more, until I found two that earned unanimous endorsement.

Apfel Tart
1/2 small Honeycrisp apple, seeded and coarsely chopped
1/2 ounce maple syrup
2 ounces bourbon
1/4 ounces sweet vermouth, preferably Punt e Mes
2 dashes apple balsamic vinegar
In a rocks glass, gently muddle the apple and maple syrup (the apple should be smashed but not pureed). Fill the glass with ice and add the bourbon, vermouth and vinegar. Stir well.

Peach Cocktail No. 4
5 slices slightly underripe peach
5 mint leaves
1/4 ounce simple syrup
2 ounces bourbon
1/2 oz Cointreau or other triple sec
1/4 oz lemon juice
2 dashes peach bitters
In cocktail shaker muddle 4 of the peach slices and the mint with the syrup. Fill the shaker with ice and add the bourbon, Cointreau, lemon juice and bitters. Shake for 20 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the remaining peach slice.

Indian Cocktails In Vogue Right Now


Indian cocktails today are presented with as much drama and tantalising tasting notes as cocktails done in the West. Not only are they a refreshing change, but it is also intriguing to see familiar ingredients teaming effortlessly with different spirits and creating blockbuster hits. Bartenders are using a range of Indian ingredients such as tamarind juice, aam panna, kokum, masala tea, shikanji, jaljeera, jamun kala khatta, sugarcane juice, gol gappa pani and other favourites to create heady mixes along with an extra dose of nostalgia. Have you tried the golgappa vodka shots, or the sharabi lassi? Have you heard about the Hajmola-tini? They are thrilling and deadly.

Then there is the plethora of Indian spices and herbs that make shaking up cocktails even more exciting - from amchoor (raw mango powder), cardamom, black pepper and curry leaves to gondhoraj lemons, bhoot jolokia and more!

So What Flavours Pair Best?

Rahul Raghav, Beverage Manager at The Bombay Canteen says, "We always find that bright and citrusy as well as fruity flavours like orange and pineapple are a favourite amongst guests. I feel today most of us are using tropical fruits which are locally and easily available along with some spices, herbs and syrups to add depth of flavour. For example, some combinations that go well together are mango and basil, banana and cinnamon as well as vegetables like cucumber and mint, and carrot and lemongrass. Also some of my favourites are using amla, kokum and tamarind in the cocktails. For our next menu we are experimenting with beetroot, fresh berries, toasted rice and tirphal spice."

Nitin Tewari, Head Bartender at Ek Bar says, "Indians love sweet sour and a little touch of spice.

Simplicity is the key, with a touch of nostalgia. Fresh herbs like mint, basil etc. always works as well as flower flavours. My focus have always been to find new, unknown local ingredients and turn them to cocktails like mango ginger (Amada from Kolkata), kewra, rose water, Coorg coffee and chocolate, etc. In this season's menu, you will find North East Indian flavours like bhut jolokia, smoked pork, betel leaf etc."

If you have been wondering what Indian cocktails bartenders across the country are shaking up, here's a round-up of some favourites out there -

1. Kanji - Ek Bar, Delhi

Kanji is a popular Indian drink, which can be referred to as the ancient probiotic drink. It is made through the process of fermentation using mostly black carrots or even beetroot. Ek Bar's Kanji cocktail is an interesting representation of the drink, created using in-house beetroot kanji, pickled beetroots, tequila and lime. Some of their other popular Indian cocktails include Anaar-Kali (pomegranate, rose water, star anise vodka and tonic), Badam Milk Punch (whisky, milk, nut and saffron puree, almonds), Ek Bar Chaas (vodka, pineapple yoghurt, honey and orange), Sarson ka Sour (tequila, campari, brown mustard, orange juice and egg white), Murubba Mule (vodka, murubba, bitters, lime juice, home-made ginger beer) to name a few.

2. Mangaa - Monkey Bar (Bengaluru, Delhi, Kolkatta and Mumbai)

Monkey Bar is known to be among the first few bars to have started the trend of chic Indian cocktails in the country. One of their most loved concoctions till today is the Mangaa, a chat-pata drink made with aam panna, vodka, sweet lime, cumin and salt - childhood favourite represented in the most delicious way. From their seasonal specials, we have enjoyed the Soulful Kadhee (gin, kokum syrup, tender coconut, curry leaves and lime cordial) and the Chilli Puli (tequila, tamarind paste and green chilli).

3. Tamarind Whisky Shake - The Bombay Canteen, Mumbai

The Bombay Canteen offers an interesting range of Indian cocktails, with many seasonal specials too. A hot favourite is the Tamarind Whisky Shake, and it's really commendable how effortlessly the two main ingredients pair together - the tang from the tamarind and heat from whisky, along with orange juice and lime juice. Other favourites are Ganga Jamuna Margarita (tequila, triple sec, sweet lime, pineapple, orange and salt), Gin and Tulsi (a take on Gin and Tonic with gin, jaggery and tulsi) and Tar-Booze (with vodka, watermelon juice, kala namak and pomegranate juice.

Trust The Sassy Spoon to give an interesting desi twist to their cocktails and make them sassy. One of their all-time favourites is the Spiked Very Berry Khatta, made with fresh mulberries muddled with oranges, with a hint of grapes and kala khatta. One cocktail that always draws attention is the Pani Puri Margarita, where the spicy pani is shaken with tequila, triple orange liqueur and fresh citrus mix.

Sassy Spoon gives an interesting desi twist to their cocktails5. Chuskiwala Sangria - Sodabottleopenerwala (Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Bengaluru)

The popular Parsi restaurant is also known for its bar, for shaking up some heady cocktails with a Parsi twist and an interesting tale behind it. One of their seasonal favourites is the Chuskiwala Sangira, where you get the double joy of enjoying your sangria as well as the Indian popsicle in one refreshing drink. Their other popular drinks include Mumma Nu Double Dose, an interesting take on Whisky Sour with rum, whisky, dates, saffron and beaten eggs Bombay Julep (rum, jardaloo/apricots, mint and honey) and Old Bawa (their take on Old Fashioned) among others.

For the lovers of Sangria

6. Prankster, Gurugram

As the name suggests, the food and drinks in this popular bar in Gurugram is never short of thrills. Here you can expect lots of childhood favourite ingredients that are skillfully blended to present you a nostalgia-filled cocktail. Take for example the Purani Dilli Collins, a gin-based cocktail with hajmola syrup or the Paan Pasand Mojito with paan pasand flavour. Some of their other striking cocktails are Masala Chai Sour, Baba Ji Ki Booti, among others.

7. The Permit Room, Bengaluru

From the people behind Bengaluru's most loved brew pub Toit, comes another favourite hangout - The Permit Room. For those who fancy their cocktails, this is the perfect place to head to for some South Indian flavour twists. You could try the Paati's Magic Rasam, which is actually a spicy rasam spiked with whisky Rum Pazham Pori (a banana flavoured drink with rum, cardamom, clove, lime and sugar) or the Fizzy Kosambari (gin, cucumber, pomegranate, grated coconut, soda) among others.

So next time you want to let your hair down and have a good time with your friends, you have a list of Indian cocktails to make the most of. Great flavours packed with nostalgia, and it's bound to be a great hit.Disclaimer:The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

9 Bourbon Cocktails For A Lusciously Unproductive Summer

Fairly or unfairly, thoughts of bourbon and the summertime make us think about a woozy southern drawl, quite possibly coming out of the mouth of an older gentleman who’s sitting on a deck chair in seersucker, finishing up an old tale while the sun sinks into the horizon like a melting cherry popsicle and…wait, what the hell were we talking about?

Oh yeah. Bourbon and summer, dear friends and allies in the mission to keep us all pleasantly immobilized for a month or two. And yes, they make us weirdly nostalgic for the halcyon days of a southern summer childhood some of us never actually had. But that doesn’t mean we can’t pretend (it’s summer, after all).

To fuel our seasonal whimsy, nine distinct bourbon-based summer cocktails. Especially since most of us aren’t drinking whiskey straight this time of year, we figured it might be nice to have a bunch of different ways to keep bourbon on seasonal rotation (OK, there are two lemonades, but it’s summer). From fresh berries to pig fat to the sweet-savory kick of five-spice syrup, we gathered some of the best of bourbon, shaken and stirred, to keep your summer nice and languid.

36 Gifts and Gadgets For Anyone Who Loves Drinks

Summery Garden Old Fashioned from

Don’t let the name of the site freak you out—emphasis is fully on the “Garden” part here, with a lighter take on the bourbon classic. An herbal simple syrup from the author of The Drunken Botanist lets you play around with whiskey in ways you probably haven’t.

Bacon Bourbon Summer Cocktail from

Learning how to infuse bourbon with bacon is a skill that’ll yield a lifetime of joy (check here). Once you’ve got that down, you can make any number of bacon-bourbon cocktails, like this one with fresh fig puree and Punt e Mes (you can sub sweet vermouth).

Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade from

Say “lemonade” and you’ve already got summer in a glass. Add some plump blackberries and a generous dose of bourbon, you’re suddenly holding that glass on an imaginary wrap-around porch facing the beach/lake/rolling meadow of your dreams. Cardamom and bitters add some complexity, but nothing to keep you from focusing on…absolutely nothing at all.

The Peño Blast from

The only proximity to heat you’ll have to endure is when you’re making the jalapeno simple syrup (very easy, trust us). OK, when you take a sip, you’ll also have some proximity to heat, thanks to that spicy simple syrup, but fresh watermelon juice and cooling mint balance it out to the point where you may indeed be chugging this stuff. In which case, let the sweat drops pour down your face and ask for seconds.

Bourbon-Thyme Cocktail from

Fresh herb simple syrups add an extra step to a cocktail recipe, yes, but you’ll end up with plenty to spare (and you can use them in other, even non-cocktail, recipes…though, why?). Thyme and honey make the base of this simple, fresh bourbon drink. If you can’t get your hands on Meyer lemons, regular will do. Just make sure you use your favorite bourbon, and then everything will seem just fine.

Lemon Verbena Whiskey Sour from

Speaking of fresh herbs, you should check out lemon verbena (and not just because it can be used to make a calming tea). It has a delicate, almost perfume-like lemon quality to it, with a little lacing of “green” that makes the overall flavor totally unique. And that flavor shines in this prim take on a whiskey sour, with bourbon and angostura and lemon stirred and strained for your summer sipping pleasure.

Bourbon Five-Spice Punch from

A homemade five-spice syrup is the major player in this drink (we’re wondering if you can’t buy five spice seasoning already mixed?). If you have time on a languid summer day, prep the syrup fresh, since the cocktail is so simple you’ll want both spice and bourbon to be top notch. Sweet and spicy (even slightly savory), this recipe makes a full pitcher for you and (we assume) at least one guest.

Bourbon Lemonade Cocktail from

Boy do we wish there were lemonade stands for adults, because this would be a huge money maker. Another lemonade cocktail because it’s summer and when the hell else do we get to drink lemonade? This one’s really simple, minimalism at its boozy best. (Just don’t mix it up with what you’re serving to the kids.)

Indian Summer Apricot Bourbon Cocktail from

Peach gets all the cred in summer, but let’s not forget the lovely little apricot, especially when we’re working with bourbon. This recipe doesn’t call for fresh apricots but apricot jam, so you’ll get a lot of concentrated flavor, mixed in with Mediterranean-in-a-bottle Limoncello and, of course, quality bourbon, topped off with a delicate hit of fresh sage. Just ’cause it’s lazy summer doesn’t mean we can’t still be fancy.

The Jaisalmer Peppertini


  • 50ml Jaisalmer Gin
  • 20ml pink peppercorn syrup
  • 20ml fresh lemon juice
  • 40ml pink grapefruit juice


  1. Pour Jaisalmer Gin, peppercorn syrup, fresh lemon
    juice and pink grapefruit juice into a shaker.
  2. Shake and double strain into a pre-chilled coupe

(To make peppercorn syrup: add crushed pink
peppercorns to a simple Monin sugar syrup to

12 Dhaakad Desi Cocktails To Try Out Instead Of The Same Old Boring Stuff

If you've spent the last month in Delhi, you ain't got it in you to deny that the summers are officially here and they're here with a vengeance. And when the heat strikes with this ruthlessness, you've gotta fight back the only way you know how. Badass cocktails featuring even more badass desi ingredients.

Here are some intensely awesome cocktails with desi twists to make this summer your absolute bitch!

You guessed it. Add a dash of white rum to the classic aam panna and you've got yourself a chiller that will long remain on your list of favourites. Check out the recipe here.

Source: Fun Buzz Time

A martini featuring vodka and the black plum, or the jamun as we know it - the Jamun-tini - is a colourful explosion of fruity yumminess in your mouth. You'll find the recipe here.

Source: Nursery Live

3. Khus And Gin Sherbet

Bring it on, summer, we're ready for you with our rehydrating elixir - khus sherbet. And with a splash of gin, this destroyer of heat also doubles up as a creator of good times. Recipe? Right here.

Source: Beyond Curries

This drink is the Modi-meets-Trump-meets-Putin equivalent of a chill blast. Get it? Chai White Russian. LOL. But seriously, turn iced chai into a sexy vodka cocktail with this recipe right here.

Source: Hey Modest Marce

This lemony, minty refresher may have come into your life thanks to grandma, but it shall get awesomer thanks to us. Add a little vodka to this icy and spicy treat and your cocktail game will never be the same. Find out here exactly how.

Source: Om Namah Shivaya

Take the classic Cosmopolitan we all love, replace the cranberry juice with a dash of desi. The rosy flavour of Rooh Afza with a hint of citrus and a little bit of vodka is the perfect summer cocktail. Here's the recipe. Don't wait another minute.

Source: The Spice Adventures

7. Banarasi Paan Mojito

The mojito has mint leaves in it, yes? Well, what would happen if you put paan leaves in there instead? Awesomeness, that's what. It's a meetha paan and white rum in a chilled glass, people. What's not to love? Learn how to make it right here.

Source: So Delhi

The jaljeera's chatpate flavours will literally never get old. But wait till that roasted jeera is joined by a little vodka in there, and you may see the world differently. but that could just be the vodka too. Learn here how to make one and find out.

Source: Sailu's Food

Go full Punjabi by adding some rum and Bailey's Irish creme to your favourite flavoured lassi and the brutal summer will be your bitch. The complete recipe is waiting for you right here.

Source: Cook Click And Devour

India's favourite cold drink - Thums Up, some white rum, a little lime, chaat masala and coriander leaves. That's a combination not many will dare say no to. Make it today with this badass recipe here.

Source: Tarla Dalal

Rasam has to be one of Southern India's yummiest gifts to the rest of the world. Add to a glass of chilled rasam, some vodka and some roasted jeera and you're all set to beat the heat, Thalaiva-style. We've got the recipe for you here.

Source: Hungry Forever

12. Imli Tequila Shots

What if the tequila shots that get every party started came with the jhatka of tamarind? Yep, you better believe it. These chatpate shots exist and you can learn how to make 'em right here.

Source: Sweet Life Bake

Aaaaaand you are now fully equipped to face this crazy heat. Tell us in the comments if you know of more cool Indian cocktail recipes.

  • The home-made drinks served in Indian summers are exactly what you need for the tropical summer.

India is a country with not just several tropical seasons, but also varying seasons in its different zones. As the southwest Kerala monsoon sweeps across a major part of the country in early June, the normal onset date of monsoon in Delhi is June 27.

Monsoon is likely to cover the remaining parts of the country, including Delhi, in the next 3-4 days, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Friday. IMD officials said conditions are favourable for an early arrival around June 15 this year.

Yet, the fact remains that areas around Delhi are facing intense heat as of now and the only source of natural relief seems to be cool drinks made at home, thanks to lockdown and stringent COVID-19 protocols in place.

Would you like to acquire recipes for some healthy and cooling natural drinks that you can make at home? Here goes:

Desi Jaljeera:
A popular drink of north India, you can prepare this with clean, cool water by adding Jeera (cumin seed) powder, tamarind concentrate or aamchoor (raw mango) powder, Kaali mirch black pepper powder, black salt, saunf (fennel) seeds, mint leaves, and some grains of boondi - if you please. All these things are readily available in your home masala box and you can make this tangy, spicy appetiser drink at home. Create a tamarind concentrate and crush the dried masala items in a proportion suitable to your taste and appetite. Add these to the cold water in which you have soaked (washed, cut) mint leaves. Add the boondi grains on top before serving - stirred and chilled.

Lemonade or Nimbu shikanji:
Lemons are available all around the year in India. A good source of vitamin C, lemons also make a cool and satisfying thirst-quencher in summer. Squeeze lemon juice in cold water, add a few mint leaves if you desire, add salt and sugar as per your taste. Some people skip the sugar either way it is a good source of hydration and ORS.
(Nimbu Paani or Shikanji)

Made from curd or yoghurt with water or milk, salt or sugar and a few spices or herbs, this probiotic drink is called various names across India. In Punjab and northern India, it is the lassi, in Gujarat - the Matthaa, in Maharashtra the masala taak or chaach. Here again, many people skip the sugar and opt for the salty version. You can make many flavours of the sweetened lassi - such as mango lassi, dry fruits lassi, strawberry lassi, and malai lassi etc. Lassi can be made frothier by turning it fast into a blender like an espresso coffee. Serve chilled.

(Unsweetened Lassi)

This is a cold drink popular in Bihar. Made from powdered, roasted gram peas or chickpeas and the powder of roasted wheat, this is a nutritive and stomach-healthy traditional drink. To make a sattu drink, take 1.5 litres chilled water or water at room temperature, add to it 6 tablespoon sattu (roasted black chickpea flour) and 4 to 6 tablespoon sugar or jaggery. Add a little black salt as per taste.

Aam Panha:
Aam Panna or Aam Panha is a traditional coolant drink for India's hot, intensive summers and also a treatment used by grannies to ward off heat exhaustion. Made from green mangoes, this delectable drink also contains sugar and an assortment of spices.

(Aam Panha)

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a professional healthcare provider if you have any specific questions about any medical matter.

Get the Latest health news, healthy diet, weight loss, Yoga, and fitness tips, more updates on Times Now

12 Brilliant Indian Cocktails To Beat The Heat This Summer

If you're looking to brace against the long and blistering Indian summer, here are 12 awesome recipes to quite literally lift your spirits. We reached out to some of India’s best mixologists, and twelve of them, including bartending doyen Shatbhi Basu and Kolkata's mixing magician Irfan Khan, sent us some versatile recipes that will help anyone (who’s over 25) brew these incredibly easy-to-make, but unbelievably delicious cocktails.

Don't forget, the right glass (mentioned with every recipe) makes the drink. Cheers, everyone!


India's first woman mixologist and beverage consultant, Shatbhi Basu, prepared this recipe just a couple of days ago in anticipation of the summer at NRI restaurant in Mumbai. Her expert tips: "Don't cut on the ice. A lot of ice insulates you drink, keeps it at the right temperature and texture till you finish," she says.

Basu also claims that this yummy cocktail can be made in bulk in a pitcher, and has specially used Desmondji, a local producer of spirits to add even more authenticity to the drink.

The best part? "You can drink this with just about anything. from pakodas, chaat and samosas to kababs and pizza," says Basu.


Desmondji Pure cane rum--15ml
Desmondji 51% agave spirit--15ml
Desmondji Orange liquer--15ml
Kokum syrup--30ml
Lime wedges--2
Starfruit, sliced--1/2
Sprite/7Up to top
Green/Red chilli for garnish

Crush the pepper in the shaker can.
Add starfruit and muddle together.
Fill can 3/4 with ice.
Add kokum syrup and all spirits.
Squeeze both wedges of lime and drop in shaker.
Shake hard for 10 seconds and strain over hurricane (or any tall) glass filled with ice.
Top with Sprite/7Up.


Kolkata's most famous bartender Irfan Ahmed who has completed 25 years in the industry of mixology, believes that every drink is a performance on a stage. A huge advocate of responsible usage of alcohol and fresh ingredients, his cocktail against the summer heat, the Mojito Cooch Behar is best enjoyed with pizzas and kebabs.


White rum--60ml
Fresh lime juice--10ml
Ginger flavoured sugar syrup--20ml
Green lime--1 piece cut in chunks
Fresh mint leaves--12 pieces
Jeera powder--1/2tsp
Chaat masala---1/3tsp
Raw mango paste--1tbsp
Green chilly paste--1/3tsp
Cracked ice
Chilled soda water--60ml

Muddle the above ingredients together.
Gently, add chilled soda water, and stir for 10-12 seconds.
Transfer the drink in a masala-rimmed glass.
Garnish with mint and lime and serve immediately.


Nothing better to beat the summer heat than this delectable drink assembled by The Dirty Martini's (Olive Bar and Kitchen) Harish Chandra Chhimwal.
"Pair it with a smoked salmon, and make sure to chill your martini glass before you pour out the cocktail," says Chhimwal.


Triple sec--15ml
Dashes of Angostura bitter

Pour all ingredients in a shaker.
Fill the shaker with ice.
Stir it gently.
Fine strain into a chilled martini glass
Finally, garnish with lemon zest


The bartender and brand ambassador at Moet Hennessy India, Rohan Jelkie adds a tinge of summery freshness to his cocktails with traditional herbs. His recommends drinking this Indian-flavoured spritz with kebabs, spaghetti bolognese or even some mild-flavoured cheeses (brie, camembert) atop rye bread.


Vodka--45 ml
Martini Rosso--15 ml
Sprig of Tulsi (Basil)
Orange--2 slices

Toss in all the ingredients into a chilled white wine glass ( do not muddle or crush the tulsi. Instead tap gently between the palm of your hands to release the aromas and flavour.
Always remember, herbs are meant to contribute aroma more than being able to taste them.
Fill with ice and top with sparkling water and tonic water.


Inspired by the all-time Indian favourite, The Masala Chai, mixologist Topesh Chatterjee who hails from Pullman, New Delhi and has been mixing drinks since the age of 17, concocted this delicious brew to complement any Italian or Indian mid-day fares.
Bonus: It can also be savoured as a night cap!


Masala Tea Bag--1 number
Lime juice--20ml
Sugar syrup--20ml

Fuse all ingredients in a shaker, and simply shake it!
Serve the final result in a martini glass, and garnish with a slice of orange and a cinnamon stick for a yummy aroma.


Light and punchy, Novotel (Kolkata) Ritika Rai's Bengal Tiger is aptly named. The impulsive, creative and energetic mixologist loves her food as much as she loves (making) her drinks. She claims that this drink (that can be consumed at any time of the day) pairs best with a crisp leafy salad or some tandoori/ grilled fish or chicken.


White rum--50ml
Pineapple juice--60ml
Pomegranate juice--20ml
Gondraj lemon--for flavour and garnish

In a shaker filled with ice pour the spirits, some sweet and sour mix, pour the juices and shake the mixture.
In a tall glass filled with ice pour the drink.
Garnish with a wedge of gondoraj lemon and twist a peel of the lemon over the drink and rub the peel on the glass for the freshness and aroma. Serve with a smile!


According to Mumbai-based Darell Mascarenhas, who manages the bar for The Korner House, the best way to whip up a successful drink requires a fun spirit (and he's not just talking about the alcohol here). A previous student of Shatbhi Basu's, Mascarenhas who borrows his life motto from Robert Frost ("I am not confused, I'm well mixed.") says this particular potion can be further sweetened by adding some alcohol to the apricot jam.
"Take Indian apricots, and soak in vanilla vodka for a day in an airtight container. Once they're nice and soft, blend together in a blender, and voila! Your alcoholic apricot jam is ready!"


Vanilla vodka--45ml
Apricot jam--1tbsp
Mango juice--120ml
Lime juice--10ml
Few drops of orange bitter (optional)
Cinnamon stick--1 number
Crushed ice

Add all the ingredients into a shaker, except the cinnamon stick.
Fill it with ice cubes and shake.
Strain in a tall glass, preferably a hurricane glass.
Fill the glass with crushed ice.
Take a long cinnamon stick, heat it with a lighter till you can smell the cinnamon oil.
Stir the drink with the cinnamon stick, then leave it in along with a slice of mango and a sprig of mint.
Bonus trick: If you don't have access to Orange Bitters just take the skin of an orange and spray the essential oil over the drink.


Ankur Chawla, a master sommelier who is also the director of beverages at Akira Back and the JW Lounge, offers this refreshing gin-based potion, best taken before a meal.


Dried betel leaves--2-3 pieces
Lime juice--10ml

Muddle pan leaves and mix along with lime juice.
Add gin, shake well with ice cubes & strain into a martini glass.
Bonus Trick Rub the betal leaf with the rim and the stem of the glass to get a bit of fragrance as well.
Note Do not double strain. No garnish required.


The head mixologist at Ek Bar, Nitin Tewari who has mixed potent concoctions at several joints including Ricks, and the Polo Lounge generally swears by a classic Daiquiri, but has changed favourites for the summer with this unique starfruit-laden cocktail that he insists pairs well with “tuna papdi chaat”.


Bacardi Superior--60ml
Star fruit juice--45ml
Angostra--1/2 dash
Star fruit--5-6 pieces
Mint--10 leaves

Shake together with crushed ice.
Fill into a hurricane glass.
Garnish with starfruit.


Mohit Balachandran, when not blogging furiously about street food under the name of ChowderSingh spends his time acting as cuisine director for all branches of SodaBottleOpenerWala (currently in five cities). This is his sure-fire way to beat the heat.
Bonus tricks: Adding a bit of lime juice to the sugar syrup after making it to avoid crystallisation of sugar. Don't confuse Kodumpuli for Kokum, even though they are of the same family. Use Kokum juice, which is bright red and has a fruity flavour.


Lime juice--30ml
Sugar syrup--30ml
Masala mix--1gm (1part Jaljeera powder, 1 part Amchoor, 1/2 part white pepper).
Kokum--2-3 pieces

Infuse kokum in little hot water and extract juice.
Cool and add along with lime juice, sugar syrup, masala mix, vodka and ice cubes in a cocktail shaker and shake well.
Serve chilled in a martini glass.


Bengaluru-based bartender Guru Prashanth is all about self-learning and experiments, but has a few rules he follows rigidly to create the perfect summer drink (like this one with pineapple juice). These include serving up heavy food with light (preferably citrus-based) cocktails, and vice versa. "Also cocktails with juices and syrups should be shakes, while ones with spirits have to be stirred - the exception being the classic Bond Martini," he says.


Gold rum infused--50ml
Pineapple juice--30ml
Lime juice (may vary according to the sourness/citric content of lime)--20ml
Monin passion fruit puree--15ml
Spice syrup (200gm of Indian spices with 500gm of sugar dissolved in 500ml water, bring it to boil and take it off)--10ml

Pour all the ingredients into a mixing glass.
Shake and fine strain the mix in a highball glass (roll it in a tatami mat for added effect.
Garnish with a few sprigs of mint, and serve with a bamboo straw.


Originally from Darjeeling, mixologist and author of Cocktails & Dreams, Yangdup Lama has put a modern twist to the traditional drink of the Indo-Aryans (the recipe for the original, he says, is unfortunately lost). Lama insists this drinks pairs beautifully with chettinad chicken.


Dark Rum--50 ml
Orange liqueur--10 ml
Curry leaves--8
Jaggery--10 gm
Apple Juice --60 ml
Tamarind Water--30ml

In a cocktail shaker add the jaggery and sweet lime juice and muddle to mix and infuse the two.
Add the rest of the ingredients and fill with ice. Shake well and pour along with ice into a stem goblet and serve.

Entertain effortlessly, savour a decadent night cap, and replace those unimaginative aerated drinks to add more flavour to your meals. Also check out these awesome summer salads by India's best chefs.

5 Cocktails for the Indian Summer

The great Indian summer is upon us. And, it may not be as beautiful a one as Dry Valley Johnson had when he met his beloved in the wilfully defiant Panchita O’ Brien. Let’s admit that none of us live in an O. Henry story and things may not be quite as yielding. That doesn’t mean we can’t spruce up our summers. Hey, there may not be 101 exciting ways of doing summer right and adding cheer to sultry summer days, but mixing up icy cocktails can sure take the edge off stewing in the heat. On that note, here’s a handful of spunky whisky cocktails to add glory to the most sweltering of Indian summers.

1. The Scarlet Starlet

Served at a Venetian hotel in the Las Vegas, this cocktail is an unforeseen blend of scotch with cognac. It is the best of both world in a whisky cocktail. You will need to invest in a hibiscus syrup, but Starlet is such a stunner that it can add oomph to your summer date.

For making the drink, add scotch with freshly squeezed lime juice, lightly beaten egg white, cognac, hibiscus and syrup in a cocktail shaker. Shake till blended well. Pour over a bed of crushed ice and float a few rose petals on top. Your Scarlet Starlet is ready to turn heads.

2. The Good Doctor

With a name like that to its credit, The Good Doctor is a cocktail to bank on, anytime of any day! This sophisticated blend combines equal quantities of Amaro with a light-bodied rye whiskey to create a very sippable summertime cocktail with a generous helping of Dr. Pepper. Substitute the Dr. Pepper with some good old cola and you’re set to enjoy The Good Doctor on a humid summer afternoon. Know more about the best whisky brands in India which can be used in this cocktail.

3. The Billionaire

We believe that every cocktail that has whisky in it is a potential winner, but this one is a different ball game altogether. But, that’s not all. Born in a watering hole in NYC, the Billionaire is a cocktail extraordinaire. With high-proof bourbon and 1/4 th of absinthe, equal parts simple syrup, lemon juice and grenadine, it is as rich a concoction as it can get. A sure headturner for your next cocktail party, don’t give this one a miss.

4. Melisse Whisky Sour

Ah, what a pretty name for a whisky cocktail, isn’t it? However, that’s not the sole reason why it made it on your summer special cocktails list. This delicate drink is a connoisseur’s delight, a perfect blend of tartness and sweetness with a fruity pop and a floral hit.

All you need to blend this beauty is some nice bourbon, lemon, angostura bitters and simple syrup. Gently float a layer of foamy beaten egg white on top and your glorious drink it ready to cherish.

5. Elderflower Old Fashioned

Nothing, we repeat nothing, can beat the simplistic appeal of an old fashioned whisky cocktail. No wonder, many variations of the drink exist today. But, since we’re adding a summery twist to our favourite whisky drink, how about a dash of woody elderflower nectar in the drink? Fruity, floral and fun, shake together some Kentucky Old Bourbon, St. Germain and angostura bitters to create this beautiful cocktail. Pour into a chilled glass, decorate with freshly plucked flowers from your garden and you’ve a classy drink that will not only save your day but lift your mood too.

Whether you’re throwing a pool party, or planning a lazy night over with friends, these whisky cocktails will jazz up your summer days. Go on and shake up a storm this summer and raise your glass to the charismatic golden spirit over and over again.

Telltale signs of counterfeit liquor to look out for

Producing, packaging and selling liquor is a lucrative business, so there’s no wonder that there are many people who want a piece of the pie. However, there continue to be cases of some dodgy players in the market who sell counterfeit alcohol.

Even more Desi Cocktails to Try in 2021

5 Desi Cocktails to Try in 2021 - If you are looking for something beyond Margaritas and Sangrias to keep you cool this summer, we advise the Desi way.

9 foods every whisky lover should eat

Whether you are an occasional drinker or a regular whisky connoisseur, drinking alcohol does impact your metabolism in the long run. However, complementing your drinking with healthy food habits can help negate the effects of alcohol on your body and keep you high spirited for years to come. So, today we are listing nine foods that every drink lover should add to their daily diet.

Badam Milk

Delicately flavored with cardamom, the nuts in this chilled, badam milk don't just make it tasty, they pack a mighty nutritious punch too!

Lassi as a platform

The lassi, an Indian yogurt-based spiced drink, serves up a great platform for beverage innovation. “There are many opportunities to include exotic flavor combinations in the yogurt-based lassi drink,” says Kathy Casey, owner of Kathy Casey Food Studios-Liquid Kitchen in Seattle.

“Rose, cardamom, mango, guava or hibiscus are excellent flavors to infuse into lassi. Cocktails based on lassi are also trending, such as using a yogurt liquor base shaken up with herbaceous gins and fresh fruits.”

Menu examples

Rum Curry: Rum, housemade curry leaf simple syrup, coconut water, orange bitters and fresh lime juice
—Poppy, Seattle

Cardamom Collins: Hangar One vodka, fresh lemon juice, housemade cardamom syrup, soda water
—Greenwich Project, New York

Casa Roja: Casamigos blanco tequila, organic beet juice, tamarind purée, Japanese yuzu, hibiscus, agave
—Skybar at Mondrian, Los Angeles

Heart of Gold: Kumquat purée, silver tequila, Domaine de Canton, curry leaf tincture, garnished with a curry leaf
—MG Road, Asheville, N.C.

From the Jan/Feb 2018 Top 10 Trends issue of Flavor & the Menu magazine. Read the full issue online or check if you qualify for a free print subscription.