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While the monsoons reign supreme in the fair state of Goa, here are some refreshing waterholes curated by the folks behind mind-boggling experiences, mixing some sinful indulgences for the teetotaler in you!
A destination such as Antares needs no introduction with a start off of their flavoursome Sangria Del Mar by ace mixologist 'Sanket Nebhnani'. Perched high above the cliffs of Vagator, Sanket is busy muddling the inspired concoction for one’s delight - the presentation is spell-binding. Served in a seashell encapsulating the essence of Goa with a view of the magnificent sea which they establish is blessed with - the idea is simplistic in the sweet-sour feeling the rains have on one’s senses. This muddled shaken appetizing drink comprises of Watermelon, Mint Sweer and Sour, Peach Syrup.
Towards the heart of Calangute, we have a drink ready to take flight at the Le Meridien. Keeping with the theme of the monsoons 'Neeraj Dubey' presents the Monsoon Wings. He quips, “It has the right balance of citrus and ginger flavours that are both refreshing and soothing at the same time, making it ideal to sip on a rainy afternoon.” The drink is divine and uplifting and we prodded him to give us the recipe. “You take 4 chunks of apple, fresh cucumber, 2 chunks of ginger, 50 ml of fresh orange juice and 30 ml of passion fruit syrup to start with. Muddle the apple, cucumber and ginger and add the orange, passion fruit syrup and lemon juice and give it a thorough shake and serve with crushed ice top up with soda water and grenadine syrup. Garnish it with a slice of lime and cucumber, add a cocktail umbrella to give it a playful monsoon touch.”
Taking into account the temperament of the season, 'Nikesh Rawat' of the W Goa Hotel in Vagator has his creation making waves called the Goan Fog. He states in conversation - “The best part of the monsoons in Goa is the foggy views and mist we experience and Goan Fog at WOOBAR takes inspiration from this. The flavor is also distinctly local, with kokum as the base of the mocktail and a hint of lemon and mint, which is reflective of the freshness the monsoon, brings to Goa after a hot and humid few months.”
Overlooking the grand Fort Aguada has 'Neville Fernandes' hold fort, at the Taj Aguada. He has been busy this summer concocting a special monsoon menu - I full swing at the moment at SFX. Anyone visiting the bar is spoilt for choice between the SFX Lagoon and the Sea Mist. Eager to please, Neville starts off with the Lagoon - simple yet holistic, 7Up, Blue Curacao and a Dash of Lime to get the sundowner started. He follows through with the Sea Mist - Freshly squeezed Orange and Pineapple juice laced with Grenadine syrup and almond syrup. His signature would lie in the Coffee Aguada - as the name suggests lies with an espresso base of pineapple juice and curry leaves. He states - “The ingredients used in these mocktails bring out a refreshing and re-energizing flavour particularly to brighten up a gloomy monsoon day and add some pep to my customers who visit.”
Nearby lie the dreamers in Aakritee & Virendra Sinh of A Reverie in Calangute. Always raising the bar in creativity and doing so effortlessly she welcomes you to her interpretation of the Zen Garden. “The ethos behind it is the blues - the monsoon blues! For some, the rains are associated with that. For me, it is about quenching one’s thirst post the parchment obtained during the humid summers. It is all about the fertility, greenery and flowers blooming - the simple joys of mother earth with the emanating aroma of the wet earth replenishing. This mocktail captures it all.” Virendra listening to this animated conversation quips - “It like being in the forest ghats. Imagine a drink with edible flowers, kaffir lime, lemongrass, wood smoke, topped with wild passion fruit laced with our in-house bitters and herbs.”
The reticent 'Ashang' at Wok & Roll has come up with the Cold Silk. “We wanted our drink to connote something fresh light and healthy that would go well with our Asian food. Our base is warm green tea with honey lime and mint topped with cold water. It goes fantastically well with our theme thought the monsoon.” Keeping with the Eastern delights the Jade Bar by Koi in Calangute has an ace up their sleeves with 'Azhar Khan' their in-house mixologist. Known for his flamboyant flaring and antics he has come up with the Cherry Drop - a soda laced with apple juice, angostura bitters, sugar cube and grenadine. The art of him mixing it at the bar is a sight- not to mention the drop at the end of it.
An award winning photojournalist, Nolan is torn between food & travel. Having held multiple exhibitions across- he loves to capture the essence of a meal or moment through his lens. Known for his love of food he believes in making viewers salivate over drool worthy pictures, titilating their palates over social media. His photography added vivid dimensions through his contribution to the book The Culinary Heritage of Goa which won the Gourmand Best in the World for Historical recepies in 2015. Author of the ever popular food/travel blog www.nolansatwit.com, many have commonly referred to his wit or 'twit'iness. A recepient of the prestigious REX Karmaveer Chakra award by UNESCO he spends most of his time divided between sampling the various offerings of the gastronomic world and his unending quest for new and far flung places.