By: Madhulika Dash
Beer was a drink reserved for boy's night out, wine was when you were out on date, champagne when the big question had to be popped, and whiskey when you were in a mood to really celebrate you. Cocktails, on the other hand, were for times when you wanted to drink, enjoy - enjoy and drink.
But 2008 came Microbreweries and changed everything. Beer suddenly became an indulgence, a more leisure choice like once rum was.
Next to see a makeover was Wine. Special wine and food pairings, tasting sessions, stomps and live sangria bar - and wine went from formal to a vino for all seasons and reasons.
That's the beauty of the bar that can change a drink to haute and happening in a mix (pun intended). So what's the plan this year? From Craft beers to artisanal cocktails to vintage dramas, here's what you have to look out for:
Image Credits: Farzi Cafe & Lavaash By Saby
Pradeep Gidwani, Owner, The Pint Room
The Big Click: The Year of Fine Ales
Given our palate for all things citrusy and sweet, wheat beer have ruled the beer roost for the longest period of time.
Hoegaarden was a pioneer in this space and were the first to introduce WIT beer on tap thanks to the microbrewery culture. 2016 however is about the evolution of fine ales, especially those that are micro-brewed.
Shatbhi Basu, Leading Mixologist
The Big Click: Premium Spirits and Rose
While bars across India are seeing a rise in some interesting, good quality wines, both imported and domestic, the real playground is the cocktail experiments that have begun chucking the conventional to play with some young, fresh, vibrant flavours.
So what will the new array of mixes look like? More interesting; less complicated or just copy-pasted? It would be quality work that have premium spirits and yet value for money.
Like a Woodford Old fashioned, Patron Margarita and such. And with sparkling wines like Prosecco, Cava and even sweet Moscato debuting in the market, the field has just opened up especially for wine cocktails. Speaking of wine, the one thing that is making its mark is Rose.
Yangdup Lama, Leading Mixologist-Owner, Cocktails & Dreams, Speakeasy
The Big Click: Vintage spirit and rare ingredients
Of course liquid nitrogen may be big fad on the bar today, but the real test this season will be creating something that would redefine a good cocktail.
Essentially a mix that isn't too complicated with flavours yet with each ingredients adding a certain character to the cocktail.
The highlight of course is the working with single, never used before ingredients and the use of extremely good spirits like vintage. How would you make the best even better - that's what bar are working towards now.
Malay Kumar Rout, Seasoned Wine Professional
The Big Click: Super Premium Domestic Wines
With La Reserve, Tempranillo-based Chene and Rasa doing in the market, 2016 will be the year when many companies will bring in their premium and super premium wines, especially home-bred brands like GroverZampa, Sula and such.
What would be interesting to note is how these indigenously created wines will revv up the dinning scenes as purist's vino or even in form of cocktails.
Sabysachi Gorai, Chef-Owner, Fabrica By Saby
The Big Click: Traditional Drink, Redone
What's new - traditional cocktails that are personalized. Like the Carew Company (the famous blue riband Gin was born here), a back in time rainy-day drink made by the local brewery with such strong smell that would travel miles into the town.
Or the Handia Madi, a fermented rice beer that keeps heat and its evil affects at bay. And of course the Mahua, a key to soam, India's first wine. All that is back in vogue but with tweaks to make it more palatable.
Aman Dua, Head Mixologist, Farzi Café
The Big Click: Vodka re-invented (with the glassware)
This season, the goal isn't just working the classics, but working it to a level that has never seen before. And it would not be some mindless addition of play, but ingredients that take the experience a notch higher with the use of fresher ingredients and flavours instead of the liqueurs and juices, and the use of various modern techniques to make it look like a dish - but one that you drink.
In other words, warmer cocktail with strong pairings like coffee, orange, homemade tea decoction and more.
Arjun Chaudhary, Head Mixologist, Pa Pa Ya
The Big Click: Bold flavoured Whiskey
Trends may come and go, but classics always stay. This is so apt for whiskey, the king of the bar.
And while blends are excellent for making cocktails as they have their own smokey flavor, and marry well with herbs like tarragon, rosemary, thyme, sage, spices like cinnamon, star anise, cloves among others.
This season however is of bold flavours. Think Whiskey infused with coffee and fig, butternut and pineapple among others to give the palates a new awakening.
Tariq Sheikh, Mixologist, Sofitel Mumbai BKC
The Big Click: Dum in Cocktails
Dum as a technique has always used to flavour Indian dishes, and has been the prime reason behind food tasting so well. At Jyran, we are working on cocktails blends that speak of similar aromas and taste play. The P.T.78, a whiskey-based cocktail with chocolate liqueur, rose syrup, white wine deduction and a charred essence, is a perfect example of this.
A smoke gun is used to give it that smokey tinge which adds the zing to this beverage, making it appealing to the Indian palate. On the anvil are some of the therapeutic herbs and spices that would be infused into the spirit after being smoke treated.
Also Read: The gastronomical journey of 2015