Keeping the Christmas spirit alive

The Asian Age.  | Shikha Nath

Life, Food

This Christmas, give a desi spin to your cocktails, for a party like no other.

Traditional drinks aside, a lot of these cocktails can be recreated in case one feels the need to experiment.

Since avid cocktail drinkers enjoy celebrations frequently — or sometimes on a daily basis —there is an exclusive and distinct amount of dedicated Christmas cocktails. Over the years, these drinks have come to be holiday favourites, with Christmas traditions being incomplete without them.

The eggnog became a familiar fixture during the holiday season as a rich, spicy alcoholic drink, with each region adapting the drink to their personal tastes. Another popular Christmas drink is the mulled wine, which is a sweetened red wine, spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise and cloves.

Traditional drinks aside, a lot of these cocktails can be recreated in case one feels the need to experiment. Keeping the thought of red wine being a fairly large part of Christmas intact, Sauvignon Wine can be combined with a splash of vodka and some fresh fruit such as dragon fruit, orange and apple to give you an entirely new drink.

Similarly, simple port wine can be mixed with vodka and cranberry juice for a delightful drink. A classic gimlet can be made for the Christmas by simply adding cranberry or mandarin to a shot of gin and serving it with shaving of orange or lemon.

Although Christmas cocktails are traditionally warming drinks due to the cold weather, with a lot of spirits like rum, whiskey and brandy being used, it is necessary to understand that the drinks have to be adapted to the climate of India when served here. Since we don't experience extreme cold, it'd be sensible to put together combinations that would work for the weather here.

One such drink can be a mixture of craft beer along with whiskey and spices such as cinnamon. The craft beer lends a rather fresh and light flavor to the drink. Another one could be a combination of gin and fresh pomegranate that is finished off with soda.

Not just the drinks, you can go desi with your pairings as well. Don't be afraid to pair your drinks with a touch of Indian, with dishes such as a kulcha, stuffed with chilli and cheese, Calcutta club fishy fry, Kashmiri naan kebab or a aam papad flavoured paneer. You'd be surprised to see how well it works.

It isn't only the flavours that keep the Christmas spirit alive with these drinks, but a lot of it also depends on the presentation. Easy ways to deck up your drink is by giving it the colours of Christmas. This can be done using pops of red such as fresh pomegranate seeds, cranberry, strawberry and cherry. The candy cane, a candy which is synonymous to Christmas can be placed on top of the drink along with the yellow colour that comes from a passion fruit.

Shikha Nath is the director of Bombay Brasserie