HAPPY HOUR TALES & Simple Cocktail Tips

To keep the spirits high while staying at home during this lockdown season Drinks & Destinations have introduced a few new online activities. Starting from a series of Instagram Live Chats with international experts called ‘Super Six Series’ to also host online ‘Happy Hour’ Sessions. Rojita Tiwari conducted the first ‘Happy Hour’ session sharing stories and tips on preparing ‘Simple Summer Cocktails’ with available ingredients at home. Read more.

We selected four cocktails- with interesting stories of origin-which are easy to prepare with four kinds of spirits available at any home bar and mixers that are found in the pantry add to that a few fresh fruits and herbs from the kitchen. And you are ready for a summer cocktail party!

Cocktail No 1: Highball (Japanese Way)

By definition a highball is a drink that has a base spirit like whisky or rum and a higher quantity of a fizzy drink such as Soda, Coke or Ginger Ale. This has existed in different forms in different countries, however highball became very popular when the Japanese whiskey maker Suntroy started promoting the whiskeys with soda (mostly with its in-house soda brand). If you take a trip to the Hakushu whiskey distillery in Japan located inside a forest in the outskirts of Tokyo, you will be treated with a DIY highball making session at the end of the tour.

How to make it:

45 ml or 60 ml (Whisky or whiskey, blended/peaty/smoky single malts work the best. But you can choose any whisky)

5 ml limejuice (optional)

Mint

Ice

Collin’s glass

Pour lime juice and ice till top in a tall glass and stir.

Pour whiskey

Top it with soda

Dab the mint leaves, drop in the glass, and give it a gentle stir.

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Cocktail No 2: The ‘Batanga’ (All the way from Mexico)

As far as the cocktail stories go, this one tops the list. A humble cocktail that originated in a small bar in the town of Tequila in Mexico and actually travelled around the world with the visiting bartenders. Batanga owes its credit to Don Javier Delgado Corona, the owner of the bar La Capilla (The Chapel) in Tequila who loved to tell the tale when a visitor walked into the bar. In 1961 when he started operating the bar, he served a drink that was named ‘Batanga’ means short and fat. While he was actually referring to a friend of his who he fondly called Batanga, a name that has also link to an outrigger of a canoe, made of bamboo used in an island near the Philippines.

Now, coming back to the drink, it was served in a slightly shorter and thick glass, which later changed to a regular Collin’s glass.

How to make it:

Run the rim of the glass with a lime wedge and then roll it in salt. Fill the glass with ice.

5 ml Add lime juice

60 ml Tequila (Patron Silver works best but any tequila will do)

Coca-Cola (or Jeeru/Jeeralu, the softdrink that is available in many grocery stores across India)

Stir and garnish with a lime wedge.

What made Batanga even more interesting was that Don Javier would stir the drink with the same knife that he used to cut the limes at the bar counter. During the last two decades when the bartenders were visiting Tequila to work at distilleries they would all hang out at this small bar in the town after a busy day at work . And, as they downed glasses of this simple cocktail every evening word spread around and Batanga became one the most popular cocktails, so much so that La Capilla found its name in the ‘World’s 50 Best Bars’ list multiple times.

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Batanga carries the legacy of the legendary Tequila man Don Javier, who died in March this year. We raised a glass of tequila in respect and memory of meeting him at his bar in Mexico in 2016.

Cocktail No 3: Gin & Tonic (Spanish Style)

Gin first originated in Italy then in Belgium and the Netherlands, later it was taken home by the British soldiers back to England and tonic water originated in India. That story never gets old. Especially every time you ask an Indian drinker about his favourite cocktail tale. As the story goes the British Army officials stationed in India often had to fight against malaria. So in around 1825 they began blending quinine (the bitter anti malaria drug) with sugar, water and gin to create a much palatable version, which also worked as a recreational drink. The British version is a simple one, gin and tonic in a tall glass filled with ice with a lime wedge in it. However, the Spanish twist to the regular G & T is what makes for a much prettier and tastier drink.

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How to make it:

Take a goblet (wine) glass

Fill it with ice till middle

Pour 60 ml of Gin

Pour 120 ml of Tonic Water

Drop a few slices of orange/lemon

Add some peppers

Mint

Stir and Enjoy!

(You can also add rosemary and other heard and choice of citrus fruit to make it more aromatic)

Cocktail No 4: Caipiroska With a Twist (Russian Delight Indian way)

Caipiroska became popular in Russia in the 14th century as a twist to the original cocktail from Brazil called Caipirinha made with Cachaca (spirit produced from sugar cane). Of course, the Russian version had vodka in it. To add to the summer theme of these cocktails we gave it another twist by adding green mango and chili to the recipe.

How to make it:

Take a rock glass

Add 1 teaspoon sugar

Drop 2-4 slices of lime

One slice of raw mango

Muddle well

Fill the glass with ice till top

Pour 60 ml Beluga Vodka (Or any vodka that you have)

Stir well

If you are into spicy drinks, rim the glass with a bit of chili and add it as garnish.

Enjoy!

You can also watch a brief video of the cocktail session on our YouTube Channel here!

Do try out these cocktails at home and let us know your thoughts. Cheers!

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