With the World Cocktail Day to be celebrated on Saturday.
Cult drinks from bygone eras seem to be getting a new lease of life with bartenders and mixologists rediscovering cocktails and rehabilitating other classic tipples recently, to find favour with modern palates.
The ease of sourcing ingredients, as well as collaborations between chefs and bartenders have given the world of cocktails a whole new ground to play with. And a few trends, gaining rapid popularity internationally, are also making waves across Indian bars.
That’s the Spritz
A spritzer is a tall, chilled drink that’s usually made with white wine and carbonated water. Where as Spritz is a pretty popular light cocktail, which is a mix of sparkling white wine like a Prosecco, sparkling water, Aperol, and Bitter Campari. Other coloured alcohols with fresh fruits and herbs are an addition too.
Spritz/spritzer are gaining popularity in the sweltering Indian summer because the craze for wine and sparkling wine remains on an all-time high. Another reason could be the low alcohol content of these drinks, which allows patrons to enjoy their tipple, without worrying about getting drunk, or nursing a bad hangover.
An Indian touch
Cocktails in India, for ages, were inspired by what people were making abroad, and what the flavour of the season was, internationally. The trend is shifting now, with Indian bartenders having finally realised the true potential of what our country has to offer. From handmade drink glassware, to locally sourced fruits like kokum, raw mango, and the biggest collection of spices, India has it all.
At Ek Bar in New Delhi, Talli Joe in London, and Rooh in San Francisco, the menus I’ve created are all based on this philosophy. From turmeric used in the City of Nizam, and raw mango used in Murabba Mule, these are very international drinks, but encapsulate the essence of India.
Healthy hedonism is on the rise, with consumers seeking out new ways to have a good time without sidestepping alcohol altogether. And new spaces now open to provide fun drinks with fewer morning morning-after regrets. Cocktails that offset their alcohol content with vitamin-rich mixers are a key part of the alco-health trend. Herbs and herbal liqueurs feature in cocktails designer to revitalise and rejuvenate the drinkers.
Vitamin-filled concoctions, which are infused with fruits, teas, and extracts, all alleviate the negative effects of consuming alcohol. Ingredients like camomile, Damiana tea, passion flower extract, kava-kava, fresh organic fruits, cold-pressed juices, pickled ingredients, are all part of this trend.
From root to fruit
Capitalising on the ever-increasing demand of healthy and fresh cocktail, this concept uses most ingredients of plants. So, right from the root — the ginger, beetroot, and more — to the fruit, all the parts are used to brew a drink. The core idea, however, remains that the focus of the cocktail remains fresh ingredients, and artificial syrups and tetra pack juices are relegated.
Nitin is the director and head mixologist at Razzberry Rhinoceros.