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Evolution And Revolution Of Cocktails In India

Indian cocktails today are furnished with as much spectacle and tantalising tasting notes as cocktails done in the West.

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“Cocktails, like fashion, keep changing with time.” We are living through a revolutionary age in terms of cocktail culture.  Cocktails With a long and bright history, many of the drinks we sip and relish today were crafted more than a century ago.

With more horizons making travel an inexpensive indulgence, a rising number of Indians have been globetrotting and bringing varied cultures to a huge melting pot. "The cultured and tasteful Indian consumers are now on a constant lookout for experiences that are modern, globally inspired and absolute. This particularly has helped evolve bartending from a mere 'open a beer can' culture, to a rather experimenting one that involves restyling with spirits, for both- the eyes and palate of the drinker. "Bartenders are more honoured and effort in reinventing and recreating their roles and craft, encouraging patrons to bank on them and their skills. The current cocktail culture in India has seen a boom like no other era. "This is mainly courtesy young Indians travelling and experimenting with their palates. With the cocktail culture skyrocketing in other parts of the world and Indians experiencing this global cocktail culture, the demand has now watered down all the way to India's non-metros.

Many places that offer mocktails, adding alcohol to these is just an enlargement of flavour for the palette. Considering the notes of the complexity of food, Indians are really picking the rich and flavoursome some aspects of international drinks to suit their vibrant culture. "The classics have always had their place and the perfect Old Fashioned or Cosmopolitan still rules the order. Today’s millennials and new age drinkers, however, want everything to be modern, fresh and rule breaking and cool. Bartenders are obliging, conjuring up unusual combinations, serving them in unique styles – even in steel tumblers, copper glasses and beakers – and topping them with uncommon and rare Indian and International garnishes. The result is something that makes the customer sit up, take notice and Instagram it right away!

There was a time and era when whisky drinkers would not venture and drink beyond Scotch and single malts, and rum fans stuck with their favourite brands. Now, even connoisseurs and experts of straight drinks are venturing into the cocktails territory to sample and sip something new. To order a cocktail with flowers, scent or a drink with regional and Indian flavours is the most fashionable thing to do at the town’s most trending bars.

To cater to the ever-growing demand for ‘something new and fresh, alluring and exciting’ from the been-there-done-that customer, Indian bars are focusing on drinks that are way off the cocktail charts. Exotic or hard to find ingredients are one of the best ways to achieve this. From home infusions of whisky with mandarin and vodka with rose petals to vegetable extracts, herbs and spices making their way into cocktail glasses, the artificial syrups and some crushed ice are taking a backseat.

"Cocktails mainly a combination of three elements — a spirit, a sweet or a sour ingredient and the main ingredient which mostly is a bitter, is a unison of flavours that give the mouthfeel of a drink," The cocktail segment in India has received a major boost with the entry of foreign liquor brands along with the fact that Indians are traveling a lot and getting exposed to a variety of drinks abroad. The current trend is focused on giving the drinker a memorable experience of cocktails that titillate all the senses. With the bar scene growing so big so quickly that one can now find a bar that specializes in almost every facet of drinks like beer, wine and classic cocktails."

Indian cocktails today are furnished with as much spectacle and tantalising tasting notes as cocktails done in the West. Not only are they exhilarating, but it is also intriguing to see familiar ingredients teamed effortlessly with different spirits to creating signature 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 along with international ingredients like elder flowers and more to create heady mixes along with an extra dose of nostalgia. A plethora of spices and herbs along with spirits inspired from all over the world  are making cocktails even more exciting.

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