Andhra Martini

Hahaha! Of all the places , Bhagini, one of Banglores`s famous Andhra Restaurant chains, would have been the last place I would expect a Martini being spoken about, forget being served. I was zapped by the group`s thought process of stamping a Martini with an Andhra sign. Yes, Check out this snap below. Bhagini, has gone one step ahead spicing your Martini.

Martini is a very popular drink outside India, yet to be liked here for its temparate weather. Also it is most complicated drink to make besides being world`s most debated one as well on the rmethodology of making it. Sounds easy but is not. It will need me a separate full discussion some other day on Martini, but for now back to Bhagini Martini.

I asked the manager , what is this Spicy Homemade Vodkatini (I wished they had named it better). He explained to me that its a regular Vodkatini (Vodka & Vermouth) stiired with a lot of ice and believe it or not - freshly stripped green chillies. Andhra enuf I guess!! Spicy drinks are not something new, but this way of mixing ...... hoof!!!I am not a "spice person" and excused myself the terror but all ye spice lovers, do try this out !!!
PS: IF you are still zapped abt a Martini at Bhagini, lemme tell you, so am I!!!!

Bacardi Martini Grand Prix

The much awaited bartending competition of the town is here. Continuing their tradition of hunting down the best barmen & maids, locking them up in a fine hotel and putting them up against each other, Bacardi this year hosts the South India rounds today at Zaman Bar at Ista, Bangalore.

Participants are bartenders of various bars from Bangalore, Pune, Chennai & Cochin. They compete all through the day in two categories - Flair & Mixology. Winners from here join the India finals at Delhi, end of September 2009. Two winners from there will be flown to Italy for the international finals. Now that is a great platform for Indian bartenders - atleast a great experience. Last year Indian finalists ranked 4th and 9th in the international mixology & flair finals.

As always, Mr Y Lama of the famous Cocktails & Dreams bartending school from Delhi is one of the panel judges for the event. I will be covering more about the event at myBangalore very soon. Also hope to get an interview with Mr Lama, India`s first celebrity bartender!!.

In the meantime, I would urge you all to show up at 7.30 pm to see the grand finals of the South India event at Zaman, Ista (Mg Road) tonite. Nauhed Cyrusi is supposed to add glamour to the event!!

More info at

Taking a break

People, I am taking a very short break (2 weeks) away from the bar at Take 5 starting this week. With the whole scare of swine flu in the air , as a precaution to avoid public places as much possible, I am having to take this extreme step. Being at the bar, I constantly have to have close interaction with great many number of people, which is really not recommended. Ya I am mean & selfish, but then I am not saving the world either, so I guess its fine. hehe!!

While I will be away from the bar, knowing "your truly", I won`t be away from much action either. I am in the process of starting to write for two great Bangalore based portals very soon. This aside, though there is the flu scare , I can`t help but having to do a small Indian expedition on account of work during next week. I will be covering a few cities - Hyderabad, Kolkutta, Jamshedpur, West Bokaro, Ranchi & New Delhi. Some of them might present with watering hole prospects. Though I am tempted, again due to the flu scare I might not really venture out so much.

But I still do hope to come back with some booze stories or another from the trip. So till I drink something nice next & come back to write, stay nice!!!

Reviewing Cointreaupolitan

I negotiated my way into a packed house at TGI Fridays last Friday (unfortunately could not walk in before happy hours), Arpan & Vinay, partners of a Bangalore based PR/Events company, introduced me to a Kyndall India`s Brand Manager, Pushpanjali Banerjee. While she was very passionate about the Bols brand in general, she was only too happy to talk to me about Cointreau and the drink they were promoting.

The recipe:

50 ml Cointreau
30 ml Cranberry juice
20 ml lime juice

All shaken together on ice and served straight up with a lemon twist in a martini glass.

Standing in the "moisted by drizzle" chilly Bangalorean air in the alfresco section of TGIF, Pushpanjali explained to me that the Cointreaupolitan (Cp) was invented by the in house bartenders at Cointreau. I was told then that Cp is essentially a Cointreau base drink and has no other alcoholic ingredients. It is targeted only at women drinkers and purported to be very sweet in nature.

As the "politan" part of the name suggests, I was assuming right from the time I heard of Cp it must be a version, derivation or improvisation of the great American - Cosmopolitan. I was lead into the bar of TGIF, and into their cocktail manufacturing section to show how the drink is made. Bartender Suman took out a tiny pink plastic shaker and added all ingredients in their respective measures. On my insistence he added little more ice to the shaker. Although the tiny pink shaker in Suman`s hand looked like a ping pong ball in Magic Johnson`s hands, he did give it a passionate shake and poured the mix into a martini glass. He gave it a lemon twist garnish (Cointreau website suggests an orange zest & you would know why). The Cp was ready for a photo shoot!!!

The look and smell of a Cp are no different from a Cosmo.I took the first sip and boy it tasted nice. The basic nature as it was intended, was SWEET. Mathematically, Cp = Cosmo - Vodka. But then Cosmo is generally equal amounts of all ingredients while a Cp is 50/30/20. Also in a Cosmo, the drink is generally flambayed with an orange zest to release some essential oils on to the drink and then the zest is rubbed around the rim of the glass. Nothing like that is done in a Cp.

As Pushpanjali mentioned to me later and I can`t disagree, Cp is less alcoholic in nature and also being slightly on a sweeter side, women can drink more of it on a single night without spoiling the taste in their mouth. One more advantage of a Cp is that you can be assured of almost NO HANGOVER if you do one too many. Cointreau ,the base of the drink,is a liqueur and not a spirit. Liqueurs generally have much lesser ABV (Alcohol By Volume) compared to spirits like Whiskey, Rum or Vodka. Also liqueurs are made with a number of herbs and botanicals and the distillation process is much finer.

Men's cocktails look and taste like they contain alcohol.Women's cocktails try to disguise the alcohol in them with bright colours, fruit juices and sugar. My conclusion on this drink : Yes, it is a definite ladies drink. Ladies who do not like the strength of alcohol in their drink. Besides it is less complicated to make. Not for sunny times. Being eye-watering, it would be a great accessory in a cocktail lounge or a night club.

Will it kill the Cosmo?? While Cp has its own charm, I don`t think it can kill the Cosmo.

Cointreau killed the Cosmo star!!!

Ladies!!! Move over cosmopolitans. Its a passe now. Get ready to welcome Contreaupolitan which is all set to kill the Cosmopolitan. How, & will it actually achieve that , lets see.

Kyndall India presents "Contreaupolitan Nights" tonite at TGIF, Airport road. Cointreaupolitan Nights is a celebration of women everywhere, and an introduction to the Cointreaupolitan Cocktail. The Cointreaupolitan Cocktail has a unique serving ritual. Upon ordering, you get to shake and make your Cointreaupolitan yourself in a special pink Cointreau shaker. After all that hard work, you get the next Cointreaupolitan absolutely free of cost!

Traditionally a Cosmopolitan is a citrus vodka based drink shaken on ice with lime, triple sec (an orange liquer) and a dash of cranbery juice. In many occasions and I regularly insist that where ever you need to make a triple sec based drink - use Cointreau. It is a superior quality triple sec that give suttle hints of orange and is very flavourful. So I use it in my margaritas as well.

Cointreau has been pretty well accepted in India but there seems to be a special drive to make "IT" the cocktail base instead of the vodkas of the day and hence the special promotion of the drink Cointreapolitan. I have been invited to do a special preview tasting of the cocktail at TGIF tonite before the doors actually open to the happy hours crowd. What the recipe is and how it tastes, I will keep you posted !!!

In any case, if you are around the area, drop in to taste the Cointreaupolitan blend that is a perfect introduction to whole new world of sensations, loved by women worldwide.

7th August: TGIF# 1, Carlton Towers, Airport Road, Domlur, Bangalore - 080 25210570

PS: Cointreau, the world famous orange liqueur brand has a history of over 150 years and has its origins in the suburbs of Angers, France. Ever since its inception in 1849 the recipe has remained unchanged. This crystal clear liqueur is distilled from sweet and bitter orange peels of supreme quality. Cointreau is a product of Remy Cointreau S.A. France. Cointreau is imported and marketed by Kyndal India Private Limited.


Your Whiskey Soda & Vodka Tonic just got canned. Sensing that people might be getting lazy mixing their own drinks or that they might not find time & space to mix when they are in a rush and yet want to gulp something down (may be at outside a train station or a bus stand ) or people get tired waiting for their drinks by a busy bar, someone thought of brining the pre-mixes concept to India finally.

Blue Water Alcobev Pvt., ltd, aMumbai-based distillery, has launched two of its ready-to-drink alcoholic pre-mixed drinks in Bangalore : "TOSS" a vodka premix, a blend of premium quality triple distilled grain based vodka with tonic water and CZZLE, a whisky premix, also a blend of Indian-grain-based whiskyand eight-year-old scotch mixed with soda, will be available in cans in the city. The 250 ml aluminium slim can, containing about 46 ml of alcohol, priced at Rs 69 cannot be spiked.The brands would also be launched in other parts ofthe state including in Mysore and Mangalore shortly.

Toss & Czzle have been available in Mumbai & Goa since August last year and now in Bangalore. A lesser alcohol content version Toss Mild is available in Mumbai, but not yet introduced in Bangalore. The product seems to have achieved considerable success in Mumbai, Pune,Goa, Daman.

Premixes are new to India but they have been prelavant very widely outside. These are popularly called as alcopops abroad. They are generally bottled or canned fizzy drinks mixed with mostly with rum or vodka. I personally know some of the popular premixes to be "Jack & coke" (Jack Daniels) and "Red & cola" (Johnny Walker Red Label) & "Johnny be good" (JW Blck & Coke).

Alcopops are generally priced at a very basic price level and like elsewhere, we can expect it to be a hot cake with college student community. Although without knowing what whiskey or vodka is being used, the success or failure of Toss & Czzle will much depend upon the acceptance of their taste. This apart their success at bars & pubs also remains to be seen as bar owners might be reluctant to sell premixes when they can sell alcohol & a mixer separately and make more money.

Anyways, next time wether you are tired or lazy or just want that drink to carry on a bus ride, there is something you can think of. May be you can consider them for your home party as well, spares you some trouble . Would you consider an alcopop? Let me know your views.

About Shank

Shank is a cocktail enthusiast & a self-proclaimed mixologist. He likes to experiment with spirits. He has traveled around a bit visiting hundreds of bars and tasting the buzziest of alcohols, cocktails and shooters.

Shank spent early years of his dizziness in Mumbai. He has lived in Hyderabad for long and for the past few years is chilling his glass in Bangalore.

He is currently busy spreading his love for spirits through this blog - Cocktail Nirvana.

This blog is part of his ongoing quest for fine spirits, creative cocktails and classic mixology. These online journals will capture his cocktail inventions, adventures with alcohol, trips to bars, meeting with ace mixologists, lessons in the art of drinking and much more.

This apart, ignoring good judgment, the fine folks at also allow him to take up valuable space on their portal with his words & pictures.

Away from Nirvana