I am a beer drinker. I do like a decent wine – no, and I mean no, Indian wine is decent. There are a few decent imported wines available in India but they do cost an arm and a leg. No wine, and, I repeat, no wine costing less than Rs 1000 in India is drinkable in quantities greater than 1 glass. I like my beer. I have no problem drinking a cold Kingfisher, nothing fancier. It’s perfectly decent, quality does not change and the taste is inoffensive. Drinks like Bacardi Breezers are absolutely horrid.
A good cocktail however, is quite a pleasure. The problem we have in India is that cocktails in bars are either horribly sweet or are so expensive and/or dilute that you feel cheated. I have not quite figured out why the same Vodka going into a cocktail costs so much more. Two of my favourite cocktails are a Negroni and a Daiquiri.
Sometimes things can get quite dicey. A classic Daiquiri is something that grew out of necessity. The story goes that American engineers working in a mine in Cuba drank gin after work at a bar called Venus in a place called Santiago close to Havana. One day when they ran out of gin which they used to make Planters Punch, the engineer used Cuban rum which was available in abundance with the equally abundantly available sugar and limes and the Daiquiri was born.
Getting a decent Daiquiri is very difficult. Several bars serve Daiquiris with, God help us, Strawberry, Raspberry, Mango and what have you. You also get them `frozen’. Very scary and completely undrinkable unless you are brain damaged or such an alcohol hater that you need to completely disguise the taste. I recently came across a recipe and found that the resultant Daiquiri is simply fantastic. A great balance of flavours – sweet, sour and alcohol, and a drink that is so simple to make at home. Everyone has sugar, lime and ice at home. The only exotic is that you need Gold rum. By Gold I mean the rum should be the same colour as a whiskey i.e. gold, not the dark Old Monk colour and not the white rum colour. You get Bacardi Gold for about Rs 950/- in Mumbai. This is the correct rum. Old Monk has a rum they call Gold but this does not denote the colour [which is dark] but denotes some kind of superior quality.
Get a bottle of Bacardi Gold and make yourself this drink. The economics make so much sense. Rs 950/- for the raw material. This would give you at least 15 drinks. If you have a Daiquiri at a bar you will spend Rs 950 in just 2 drinks. Drink at home, makes most sense, raw material is the same and the skill required is minimal Oh yes, ideally you should have a weighing machine to get things spot on.
For one drink
50 ml/grams Bacardi Gold [about 1 ½ small pegs]
8 ml/grams lime juice [about 1 ½ teaspoons]
8 grams powdered sugar [about 1 ½ teaspoons]
Put everything into a cocktail shaker, give it a good shake and pour into a glass. Drink!!! If you don’t have a cocktail shaker use a big clean bottle with a top obviously. If you don’t have a bottle then mix everything in a cooking vessel. If you don’t have that either you are a hopeless looser. You don’t deserve to drink this.
A Negroni is even simpler. The two problems are (i) you need 2 exotic alcohols [both widely available in India] and (ii) you or members of your family may think you are mad to be drinking something that people say tastes like cough mixture, or worse. Believe me, they are fools. A Negroni is an absolutely top class drink.
For one drink
50 ml/grams Campari
50 ml/grams Martini Rosso
50 ml/grams Gin
A squeeze of lime
Basically the three alcohols are in equal quantities. Once again put everything into a cocktail shaker, give it a good shake and pour into a glass. Drink!!! If you don’t have a cocktail shaker use a big clean bottle with a top obviously. If you don’t have a bottle then mix everything in a cooking vessel. If you don’t have that either you are a hopeless looser. Please slit your wrists immediately.
|Negroni with Lime Zest|
The photos are mine. I made the drinks just to show you.