With gin fast becoming a tipple of choice for its depth of flavour, mixologists across the country are bringing in rare international labels, creating in-house infusions and hosting more promotions than ever. We check out India’s bars with the most impressive gin collections and creative experiments with the spirit.

Dashanzi, JW Marriott Mumbai Juhu

On offer

A collection of 28 labels from across the world, including several India exclusives. Try English gins like Jensen’s, Plymouth, Fifty Pounds, No 3 or Spanish labels Gin Mare and Xoriguer Gin Mahon.

What to try

Look out for talented Beverage Manager Bensan Varghese’s Asian cocktails that pair well with the Oriental food. Also look out for interesting promotions such as a recent ‘Ginseng’ promotion that used natural aphrodisiac ingredients in the bespoke tipples.

G&T versus gin cocktails

“For me, it depends on my mood. If you’re into gin and want to explore its taste, a G&T is perfect so that it doesn’t get diluted with other flavours. If you use a good tonic with less sugar and more quinine, that’s a good way to explore the various botanicals used in different gins. But if you’re new to gin and want to adapt to its taste easily, a cocktail that balances sweet and sour flavours is ideal,” suggests Varghese.

Juniper, Andaz Delhi

On offer

In-house infused gins, with flavours ranging from green tea and grapefruit to chocolate, cardamom and vanilla to celery and nettle. Also available is the hotel’s specially created artisanal gin, Delhi Sapphire, with flavours of orange, coriander, cumin, cardamom and vanilla.

What to try

“The Delhi Sapphire is our signature and it sells very well. Among the infusions, I would recommend the oak smoked salt gin and the timur gin, which uses a rare spice. Our infusions are predominantly from four categories — citrus, fruity and floral, herbs and spices — that are easily recognized by the Indian palate and are also dominant flavours in India. You don’t have to be a connoisseur to enjoy them,” says Vimal Verma, Director of Food and Beverage at the Andaz Delhi.

G&T versus gin cocktails

“Nothing beats a classic G&T for me. Gin is a flavourful spirit that has a lot of character, and the quinine flavour from tonic enhances the overall character, and hence appealing to most gin lovers. Cocktails are a good substitute for people who do not enjoy the single characteristic of any spirit,” says Verma.

 

Hakkasan, Mumbai

On offer

Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin, Ableforth’s Bathtub Gin, Jodhpur London Dry Gin, Sipsmith London Dry Gin, Caorunn Gin

What to try

“Our signature gin serve is the Smoky Saffron Negroni that features on Hakkasan menus globally. In Mumbai, we chose to create a Tumeric and Saffron infused Tanqueray gin, which we pair with Italian sweet vermouth, and Campari Amaro. We lace the serving cup with saffron essence and then finish the drink by smoking the cocktail with hickory wood in a decanter,” says Matthew Hall, Bar Mentor, Hakkasan Asia.

G&T versus gin cocktails

A G&T is my go-to drink — it’s long and refreshing, and it’s not too sweet or citrusy, so you can have one after another without wearing your palate out. The trend now, though, is ‘Gin and Sonic’, which uses equal parts of tonic and soda. At an evening out with friends, I would stick with a G&T, but if I’m having a unique or premium gin, I would go with a classic Dry Martini.”

 

Toast & Tonic, Bengaluru and Mumbai

On offer

14 labels ranging from the popular Tanqueray and Hendrick’s to the acclaimed Monkey 47, The Botanist, Caorunn and Sipsmith.

What to try

Cocktails are served minus artificial syrups and additives. Being a gin-focused bar, they also make their own flavoured tonics like Spiced Vanilla (vanilla and cinnamon), Flower Power (jasmine, elderflower and grapefruit) and Star Anise and Pear, which are used in the signature G&Ts on the menu. Try The Herbalist (gin, basil and orange tonic water, served with coriander-orange ice) or Ms Rose & Col. Cucumber (gin, rose petal and cucumber tonic water, served with rose petal-cucumber ice).

G&T versus gin cocktails

John Leese, consultant mixologist at Toast & Tonic, says, “The G&T is undoubtedly the go-to gin drink and will always be. Having said that, classic gin cocktails are developing in India now, with new brands and a wider range of flavours available. These classics change in taste with each brand that you choose and that is one of the great things about the gin category. In India, I personally like my gin with grapefruit tonic and two squeezes of fresh lime. Abroad, I enjoy it with ginger ale or ginger beer. If the ingredients allow it, I like having the Last Word – a delicious RITIK SINGH cocktail made with gin, chartreuse, maraschino and lime juice.”

 

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