From the simple vodka tonic or a dry martini, cocktails across Bengaluru have undergone a sea change. You only notice it when you look closely, given that the transformation has not happened overnight. From what was restricted to five-star hotels, today even the most regular pub is experimenting with cocktail recipes. They are not always successful, of course – playing with premixes and syrups need not always result in magnificent creations.
Fortunately, if you are a cocktail addict, there are some great places where you can find lots of happiness. Fresh fruits, interesting spices, infusions, twists and tricks give these concoctions a superior edge over others.
When Drinks On MG opened, their cocktails were a class apart, and so were their prices. But within a short span of time, they brought down the prices drastically. Of course, a few tweaks were made to fit the cost, but the bar continues to make some good drinks. The Rosita, for example – made with tequila, sweet vermouth, dry vermouth, Angostura bitters and Campari – is potent for sure, as is the Porn Star Martini (one of their signatures), made with passion fruit, vodka, vanilla, orange and lime, and served with a shot of sparkling wine. And if you are up for experimenting, the Platanos En Mole, where dark rum is blended with bananas and chocolate bitters, can give you a rather heady feel.
Bang at The Ritz-Carlton is definitely a favourite. Their Signature Serves boasts of a rather impressive selection of drinks. Try the Earth Fortune Awaits (serving for two), where cognac, plum liqueur, pear puree, ginger honey and green tea, add a shot of spirit to your soul rather instantly. They have a few tea-inspired cocktails too; the Midori (with green-tea-infused vodka, Midori and basil leaf) is enhanced with a sweet and sour mix, and is worth a try.
High Ultra Lounge in Malleshwaram is one place where you will find some curious mixes; a bold bartender can be good news after all. They have got something called Unfinished Business that marries tequila with coffee liqueur, and smoke for effect. And then there is Inception, a whisky-based drink with rosemary, vanilla, fresh pineapples and Earl Grey tea – sounds curious enough, doesn’t it?
The bar at Olive Beach is surely an exotic way to spend an evening over drinks. The signature menu has something called The Lavender Orchid and, if you like a bit of a sweet cocktail, you must try this one. Here, fresh lychees and pomegranate are shaken with vodka and some lavender, lending it not only good flavour, but also a lovely aroma. Just pray that the lychees are available! And then there is the Jimador Harvest with tequila, cucumber, basil, elderflower and sour mix – it is unique and refreshing.
The one word to describe the bar menu at The Black Rabbit is ‘fun’. They have got a good range of shots, classic cocktails and drinkable treats under the Naughty List, and Candy Shop Shots. However, it is the Fresh Muskmelon Martini that deserves special mention. It is a pretty simple drink, but it is the fresh muskmelon juice that makes it so perfect.
Shiro at UB City Mall has one cocktail, among others, that will make you come back for more. The Fig Martini, again one of their signatures, is really worth getting drunk on. Figs soaked in rum for a few hours, muddled with mint leaves, spiked with some more rum, Demerara sugar, lemon wedges, a dash of lime juice, and then topped with crushed ice. The final touch is a stick of sugarcane as garnish – absolutely delicious!
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Priyadarshini is an independent journalist from Bengaluru whose life pretty much revolves around food, good music, literature, and cinema. She’s worked with different publications over the past 10 years, and has written about travel, theatre, films, books, music, food and lots of food! She’s travelled wherever her feet and budget would allow, discovering cultures through local palates and social behaviour, and in an ideal world would probably resort to using food and music to resolve any dispute.