The first few months of the lockdown were the hardest, and as time passed, we figured newer ways to ensure we’re socialising, albeit at a distance. Even as the world slowly tries to open up, the culture of hanging out at a bar, whether we like it or not, is going to be quite different. And if you’re cautious about stepping out, a cocktail is not going to stand in your way of safety. To make the party season more home-friendly, Finch in Mumbai got Ron Ramirez, Asia’s ‘Magician of Spirits’, to debut India’s first ‘Culinary Mixology’ program. Ramirez is notorious for transforming drinks into full-blown pieces of art, and gives a lowdown on how you can too. Over to Ramirez.

Spirits: What’s interesting Currently, one of the most popular spirits in the Indian market is flavoured gin. Going just beyond the classic Gin & Tonic, you can take your mixology game a notch up by just using a unique technique to flavour your gin at home. Using ice to flavour your drink is a Michelin-star technique, where you freeze a rock of ice to the point of 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and infuse the flavour element. As the ice melts, the cocktail’s character changes to a much bolder, full-bodied concoction. Another popular spirit is Ron, a Spanish spirit, which translates to rum in English. 2021 will be the year of a new mixology culture representing articulate cocktails with the use of Rum-molasses spirits. The year 2021 is a strong year for rum to take over, since Gin has been ruling the industry so far. The return of rum, includes Tikki concepts, the legendary mojitos, and the daiquiri. Let me tell you a little more about the special drink called Ron Fashioned. It is a blended rum, stirred with rose petals and rose nectar. The combination of botanicals and molasses makes a powerful concoction. The most popular summer beverage has been fruit wine — wine that is made without using grapes.

Winter is coming, and so are spices and fruits The best part about drinking in this season is the spice and fruit additions to the alcohol. You can take your cocktail a notch up by using some Indian/western spices to make them earthy, tangy, and fragrant. You can use burnt cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, star anise by soaking, boiling, or burning them to produce aroma. One great tip while using spices is to use a fine strainer to remove any husks, so it gives your drink the perfect texture. Also, go easy with the amount of spice. In fruits, one can experiment with stone fruits. Also known as drupes, stone fruits have a great aroma when perfectly ripe. They come in a lot of variety, and can be used for cooking as well. Stone fruits like peach, cherry, and plums go really well with macerated wine.

 

OUTBREAK

Cocktails

Ingredients

30ml macerated wine

45ml pineapple juice

20ml melon syrup

45ml plain soda

2pcs dehydrated fruits

30ml red label

30ml raspberry puree

Method

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake all ingredients for 10 seconds. Strain the ice, and pour in a glass. Contain it inside the jar, and smoke it with cedarwood using a smoking gun or a smoking device.

BEAUTY OF CHANDIGARH

Cocktails

Ingredients

30ml London dry gin

1 egg white

15ml lime juice

30ml lychee juice

45ml pineapple juice

20pc lychee

20ml vanilla syrup

3 drops Angostura

3pcs edible flower bitters

Method

In a cocktail shaker, combine London dry gin, lime juice, lychee juice, lychee fruit, egg white, vanilla syrup, and pineapple juice. Muddle with the muddler. Dry shake without ice till foam formation. Re-shake with one scoop of ice. Fine strain with the strainer in a chilled martini glass. Garnish with edible flowers, and drop 3 angostura bitters.

THE BIRDCAGE

Cocktails

Ingredients

30ml Agave spirit

15ml orange liqueur

15ml grapefruit juice

20ml honey

1 cup hot water

5 sprigs rosemary

15ml lime juice

30ml red wine

200gms rock salt

500ml water

Dry fruits Green and red chillies

Method

For preparation, a night before, slightly blend water with the green and red chillies till they’re crushed, and freeze. Infuse the rosemary, honey, and hot water. Sauté rock salt with red wine till it becomes dry for about 7 minutes to make red wine salt. For the final drink, rim the glass with red wine salt. Add two pieces of ice cubes, and set aside. In a cocktail shaker, combine tequila, grapefruit, lime juice, orange liqueur, honey rosemary infusion, and shake it with some ice cubes. Strain the cocktail and transfer to the set glass.