A slice of cool unfurled when we sipped the lip curling mix of frozen, raw vodka with a slash of lime and elderflower, with sprightly positioned fresh mint leaves, midst diced Alphonso. A delectable, sorbet-esque preparation by Michelin-starred Chef Marco Baudone at the Swedish Style Mumbai show. Ingenuity at its best. Why look far, when wholesome and whacky, icy drinks are the perfect way to beat the summer and ingenious summer coolers with an Indian spin work fabulously well in lowering the temperature remarkably.
THE KITCHEN CALL
There is something innately satisfying about giving traditional ingredients a nouveau twist. With jamuns jiving for attention, fennel flirting with rock salt and water chestnuts poised to be picked up at the local fruit vendor’s stall, the season is now fruity .Chef Anindya Chatterjee of the tea grove, The Kettlery swirls forth the berry mist, a kokum-infused drink. “It is a mix of kokum and tea from Maldives, carrying the right quantum of tang. Unlike, other flavoured iced teas that whet your thirst, the berry mist is a complete thirst buster,” says Chatterjee. Tasty, fresh, healthy.
Being a tisane, the drink Maldives is bereft of caffeine, with honey or jaggery easily replacing the sugar. “The real hero of the drink is kokum that is rich in Vitamin B Complex, Vitamin C and other minerals like potassium, manganese, and magnesium. It cools down the body. Maldives tea leaves are made by combining hibiscus petals (that help in reducing weight and normalising blood pressure), apple pieces (to improve bone weight) and fruity inclusion in papaya pieces, currants, elderberries, black currants that boost blood circulation,” he adds.
THE BIGGER BOOTY
Sourcing heavily from the Indian textures and age old natural elixirs, it the tadka chaas served up in its mildly spicy, refreshing and appetising complexion at FabCafe by FabIndia. The thin consistency of the drink comes as an enervating shot in the heat and humidity. The chaas has always been a preferred option over lassi (that induces sleep).
Much like the sugarcane juice that energises and hydrates you coolly in a jiffy. “Ganna Juice is served up at Fab Cafe as a freshly squeezed drink with a hint of ginger, mint and kala namak. “It ranks as one of our best sellers,” beams Rebekah Blank, Brand Head at Fabcafe. “India has such a rich history of cooling beverages to make during the summer, with fresh local ingredients. Perennial favorites on our menu are aam panna, shikanji, ganna juice and almond thandai.”
The aam panna undergoes a glamorous spin as the smashing Mangaa cocktail at Monkey Bar, when you sneak in a spot of vodka, together with sweet lime and cumin. Back to the healthy bounce, the Bengal Quince or bael makes for a natural supply of the perfect coolant. Home-made drinks are clearly experiencing a magical makeover at the hands of seasoned chefs. Says Chef Manish Kusumwal of Keys Hotels, “The bael is readily available and the simplest to wield in terms of extracting juice. Soak in water for a few hours, strain and season. You can even used brewed green tea along with bael powder to give a seasonal twist to your bael tea.”
The experimentalist being the high priest of innovation, make way for pounded pomegranate with a dash of lime and Himalayan salt for a pink pirouette, coconut water with a slice of lime and mint.
Bespoke drinks is the idea behind ‘Netflix and Chill’ this Indian summer.
(by Chef Anindya Chatterjee of The Kettlery )
❖ Maldives bulk tea syrup (sweetened,unstrained): 90ml
❖ Kokum syrup: 20ml
❖ Juice of lime: 3 wedges
❖ Mint, edible flower for garnish
❖ Fill shaker with 1/2 scoop crushed ice and 5 ice cubes
❖ Add all the ingredients
❖ Blend it till it turns into slush
❖ Pour into long stemmed glass
❖ Make Maldives bulk syrup by putting 100 gm sugar in 200 ml unstrained tea
❖ Add it to the mix and top with mint and edible flowers.