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This sweltering heat demands for something different. It is a heat wave which is sweeping across the country; the weather predictions show no signs of the rain god blessing us, although very high in demand. It is as if the clouds have got a ransomware attack and the password has been compromised.
Everyone now faces the challenges of remaining fresh while maintaining the balance of being hydrated and nourished. These are the times when the normal mocktails and cocktails in every restaurant get refurbished, where more of the seasonal fruits like watermelon, cucumber, kiwi, mango, grapes, oranges and few more, which have antioxidants, high in water content and helps in keeping us refreshed get incorporated in drinks.
The iconic tea room of Kolkata - Flurys is having a mango mania festival and for this season, its Mango and Butterscotch Smoothie which infuses homemade yoghurt, alphonso mango and butterscotch ice cream blended with almond praline which is a must-have. If that sounds like an insane addition to the calorie level, then there is Green Tea with Mango Splash which is like an ice tea with soul. This is an ice tea poured over crushed ice and fresh mango pulp, with lime wedges, mint and lemon juice with black olive as a topping. If it is a sultry summer evening then this is the perfect drink to replace the regular cuppa.
Like every year, this year also The Lalit Great Eastern is offering special summer coolers for the guests and that too, under the guidance of the Sommelier from The Lalit Goa and The Lalit New Delhi. Some of the cocktails which are available are Cactusila, Paint Me Up and Sea Glaciers, whereas the Iced Mint Mocha, Caramel Apple Pie, Rosemary Citrus Spritzer are some of the mocktails. For a regular tea or coffee lover, there are various flavours of iced tea and coffee like mint, watermelon-basil, peach etc. Be it The Tea Lounge, the dedicated Tea bar or the iconic The Bakery, these are available all across.
Taj Bengal Kolkata has picked up the king of summer, Mango as their key protagonist for the summer special menu at The Junction. They have introduced Alphonso Colada where the Puerto Rico origin cocktail has been innovated with Alphonso Mango Malibu Rum and cream. They offer Malda Martini with vodka, mango puree and gondhoraj juice, and there is KalBaishakhi (named after the local norwester) which includes dark rum, mango juice, lime juice and spiced caramel syrup. Some of the mocktails worth trying are Alphonso Basil Lemonade, Mangonaria, Mango Cucumber Mule and few more.
Some of the mocktails to check out from Novotel are Sweet and Spice Day available in jalapeno/honey/dew/lemon. There is By The Pool, Gingi Fizz and Summer Rain which is a cucumber flavoured mocktail.
If you are visiting the Threesixtythree° at The Oberoi Grand, then do not forget to pay a visit to The Bar where the Summer of Sangria is going on. The festival is based on various flavours of Sangria and has the summer touch to it by offering flavours like Pomegranate Rose, Cucumber and White Wine, and the Mango and the Kiwi Sangria.
Since its opening, Monkey Bar has two very summery drinks with a local touch. Mangaa, the signature drink made with Aam Panna, Vodka, sweet lime, cumin and salt is worth a try when served in their quirky glasses and not to forget the Hipster Smash, which has cucumber, watermelon and mint with Vodka.
Mamagoto is offering the Classic Green Apple Martini served with a slice of Green Apple on the rim, also there is Watermelon Vodka Martini and Alcoholic Pop Rocks served in the Jam jar. In case you are checking into The Love Room, the Pet-friendly cafe in Tollygunge, then try out the Minty Mango Freezer, or the Kiwi Rita.
If the heart calls out for some desi coolers, then Sanjha Chulha is your destination. Vintage Lassi and Aam Panna are the desi ones which will quench your thirst. They have bottled ones for these flavours, for people on the go.
While we look at all these, it is not a bad idea to mention some of the traditional, evergreen classics which always rings a bell in the heart and mind. Aam Pora Shorbot, very popular in Kolkata, again made with mangoes; Kokum Sharbet from the western part of the country made with kokum pulp and water; Jal Jeera, the simplest yet tastiest where Jeera or cumin powder is added to ice cold water; Buttermilk or Chhas where buttermilk is mixed with salt or made slightly spicy or Shikanji. These are those playlists which you keep on visiting time and again and get a comforting feeling.
Time to pick up one for myself and the prayers to the rain god continues.
A true blue Kolkata foodie, Anindya loves cooking and eating his Kosha Mangsho. Anindya weaves stories around food as he believes exceptional food is an emotional experience. Previously a restauranter, now a passionate photographer and traveller, he runs a successful blog called Pikturenama and contributes to other publications.