City’s best bartenders on their favourite Christmas tipplers this season
By Madhulika Dash
Of course, Christmas is all about tradition; of course, you should have that glass of Eggnog, the good
old Grog and the mulled wine. But if you are in the mood to drink something different and still
traditional inspiring, we get you some of our favourites of the three odd dozen we loved – it’s
smooth, spicy and every bit Merry.
SIGNATURES BY YANGDUP LAMA
He could very well be the Jerry Thomas of the Indian Cocktail scene. He has been at the forefront of
creating some of the most interesting cocktails popular in the Indian scene, is followed by most of
the bartenders in the country – and a few chefs as well, and is perhaps one of the first bar experts to
have not one but two dedicated bar inspired, trend-making restaurants in the capital city: Cocktail 7
Speakeasy & Sidecar. Among the most sought-after consultant and mentor, he spooled out the trend
of using fresh mixes and making bitters, in house.
Cocktail for me is
“Drinking for me has always been an affair with the spirit. It is the only way you can enjoy the
nuances and notes of a spirit. And as bartender, my favourite cocktail isn’t only about the spirit and
the fresh ingredients used, but how it is used. The idea of a good cocktail should be one that
enhances the spirit and foreplays with its different notes. And that is the theme for this Christmas as
My favourites this season Strawberry Mulled Wine
Mulled wine is the beverage must-have of a cake. Think of it, both are rich, fragrant, delicious and
full of these fruity punches. In our Strawberry Mulled Wine, we have tried to create the fruity -
citrusy wedding of a good red wine, cinnamon, clove, orange zest with season’s juiciest strawberry
dunked in. And yes, port wine too is a good choice.
Hot Apple Cider
If you love Old Fashioned or looking for a smooth, sweet drink without the wedge of guilt, the Hot
Apple Cider is perfect. It is apple juice, spice mix and lime with a dash of rum or whiskey – your
Someone had recently asked me if bartenders make hot chocolate how will it be, well this is a drink
that would describe it perfectly. Made with an in-house chocolate mix, dark rum, aged whiskey and
single cream – it’s a dessert in a glass.
Pumpkin Pie In A Glass
It is one of my fun experiment of trying to put at least one Christmas treat in a glass, and of course
an ode to the pumpkin pie I have had during my travel. This one plays with the texture of dark and
light rum balanced with nutmeg infused Bianca Vermouth, sweetened with fresh pumpkin puree and
finished with a dash of lime.
SIGNATURES BY AMAN DUA
One of India’s finest next-gen bartender, award winning Aman Dua (popularly called Ammy Dua in
the industry) is among the few gifted drinksmith in the country to have managed to not only marry
the modern bar technique with the classic art of drink-making, but in that process revive our own
beverage culture as well. Perhaps the only to have a bar dedicated to the five elements of nature
and a previous one that paid ode to our century old tradition of beverages, Dua is known in the
industry for his unique take on fresh ingredients. A well-known bar designer, he remains one of the
best kitchen-to-bar trendsetters in the country.
Cocktail for me is
“Cocktail for me should never be about too many ingredients or too less of them. A good cocktail is
one, which you can nurse, indulge in and can have a new experience per sip. This principle is at the
very foundation of our traditional beverages – and that is exactly what I try to do with my cocktails
as well – with a dash of theatrics whenever needed. ”
My favourites this season Comet
Christmas for all of us has some connect. For me, it has been the stories, especially about the elfs
and the reindeer. So this Christmas, I have done a series on personifying our favourite, the Comet
however has been a favourite. One of the most lovable, easy going, charmer of the pack. And those
are the things that I have tried creating in this Hennessy-based drink, which has a spicy maple syrup
made in house and an apple fizz to finish just to give that hint of naughtiness.
As a bar hand, the one thing we all have been privy to is love stories – funny, sweet, innocent and
spiced up. And believe it or not, a good drink has got to do a lot with it. Cupid is my story of
witnessing love happen first hand. It is a heady drink of cream and coffee liqueur and the
quintessential roasted marshmallow on top.
Inspired from the movie Bedazzled, one of my favourite Christmas re-watch, this is my take on the
mulled wine and buttered rum. A dark rum-based cocktail, it has fresh apple juice, roasted all spice,
lime finished with vanilla foam and smoked cinnamon cigar – a drink version of being playful,
naughty and spicy.