Monkey See, Monkey GO

Bangalore meets New York, New York meets Bangalore. New Gastro-bar in Bangalore so much lives upto their Twitter description. I paid this watering hole a visit a week before for lunch and my verdict a BIG thumbs up. I will not bother putting up pictures of food or drinks on this blog post as their website does quite a good job with that.

Since I went there with wifey and my two year old Zyana, I walked in very sceptically into the place wondering if they would be kid friendly. The place was buzzing with young and restless of Bangalore.

The d├ęcor of the place as you can see from the pics on their website ( is quite young as well. Walls are adorned with frames on monkies and a lot about monkey business.They have quite a decent seating size but not a single table available when we went there. I approached a smart young man who looked like to be running the place for a table. 15 minutes I was told. They had a table vacant in the cellar section. We climbed down the stairs and the cellar was loud with a bunch of kids and few families playing around on the foosball and pool table. It was definitely a relief to notice they welcomed kids.

We climbed back up and perched ourselves at the bar. Zyana comfortable on the bar itself J.The seating across the bar is high stool and is smoking area with an opening in the roof. So it’s not all that smoky on that side. Besides no smoking allowed at the bar itself, so that was fine.

Again I won’t bother writing about their menu as their website has enough links to reviews and articles that will give you details. I ordered myself a “Mary Beer”. The menu says its beer and spicy tomato juice but I saw my barman giving me a dash of vodka into it as well. They used kingfisher premium and premade mixture of the spicy tomato juice which I presume is used into their Bloody maries as well. Because it was premade, the drink was served very fast well. And it had perfect balance of quantities of beer and the tomato juice. Very refreshing. I ended up having 3 of them.

The most popular drink at the place seemed to be the “Mangaa”  - vodka and aam panna served in nutella jars. There were quite a few Sangria pitchers as well that I saw going out. Lot of fresh fruits and ingredients in most cocktails. One unique thing I saw them doing with some of their cocktails was using freshly pressed  “Sweet lime” (Mausaumbi) that I know no bar in Bangalore uses. Although my Mary beer was perfect I saw quite a few drinks come back to the bar in the 2 hours we were there for some fix or the other. Don’t know why. It could be the palate of Bangaloreans is still getting ready for the Monkey.

We ordered the house specials – “Tikki Of Joy” – (fish cutlets) and “Peri-Peri” prawns for starters. Both came with suggestions for paired drinks which ofcourse we could not do as I had my Mary Beer running. Very few or almost no bars in Bangalore have cocktail pairing with food, but since this is a Gastro-pub, the guys at Monkey bar did well with this. I could not order anything else but their cheese burger for the main and it was served with a pickle on the side. I wouldn`t say it was the BEST I ever had but it surly was quite decent. Well done, juicy and served with nice and crispy fries. You must check out their pictures on the website on how they serve their burger, on a wood plate. My wife`s grilled chicken was quite satisfactory as well. All food is plated quite elegantly.I do want to go back and try almost everything on their menu.

The prices were reasonable. The mary beer was Rs.250 a drink. The lemon soda that my wife ordered was just Rs.50. although when the 7% service charge , 10 % service tax and 4 % vat get loaded on these rates, they add up quite a bit. Can`t blame the bar for the taxes part.

The young gentleman who we approached when we entered the place came around later to ask if liked the food and in conversation told us he was the creative director of Olive Bar & Kitchen group of restaurants. Monkey bar is a division of the famous Olive Beach  just a 100 meters down the same Wood Street road in Ashok Nagar. I am sure this place is buzzing a lot more during weekend nights.

Good addition to Bangalore scene, I would say. We need more places like these. Small, unpretentious, good food, great drinks, lovely music, good crowd and gentle on the purse strings. Follow them on twitter at @MonkeyBarBlr

For the love of Bacon & Bourbon

Here is a solution to mix your love for food and drink. I love Bacon and I love Bourbon.I present to you here a well known practice of infusing flavours of smoked bacon into bourbon. The pictures shown here are straight from work outs at my home. "Statutory statement: Do try this at home." If you tried this , you will surly realise how well the smoky flavours of bacon complements the charcoal filtered flavours of bourbon.

Like most techniques of infusing spirits this one is quite simple too. The technical term for this methodology is "Fat Washing".

Step1, Pan fry some smoked bacon. I fried about 15 strips.

Step 2 Collect all the fat in the pan from frying bacon into a small container. I got about 100 ml of fat

Step 3 Pour the fat into bourbon. I mixed 100 ml fat with 350 ml of Bourbon. I used a relatively inexpensive bourbon called "Benchmark" easily available in wine stores in Bangalore. Rs.1500 a bottle of 750ml. Make sure to use a wide mouth bottle or jar when you mix the fat and the bourbon. You will now why - soon.

Step 4, Chuck the concoction into deep freezer for a while. A while can be 2 hours to 2 weeks depending on your patients. I left it for 2 days and then took it out.

Step 5. The fat would have frozen in the jar, but the spirit would not as its free
zing point is much below your freezer`s best. Now use a spoon and pull out the frozen fat and the remaining spirit in the jar is now infused with the bacon flavours. A wide moth jar is helpful to scrape out the fat easily

Step 6. Filter the spirit using a muslin cloth several times to make sure you have removed fine fat particles as much as possible. And tadaaaaaaaaaaa....your bacon infused bourbon is ready.You may drink it the way you prefer your bourbon but in a post soon I will show how to use this with the ginger adn honey syrup to make a delicious cocktail. Till then, have fun...

Of Ginger and Honey

Last weekend I experimented with the thought of making my own Gingerale. I think it a noble thought to replace the supermarket stuff with freshly home made gingerale to give company for whiskey or vodka or gin. What started as an effort to make Gingerale lead me to discover the age old simple way of making a ginger syrup that grannies have always made as home cure for your throat infection or common cold and how well we can adopt it into the cocktail world.

This is the most easiest of things to make. Aim to start with a batch of 500 ml of ginger syrup. Throughly clean about 400 gms of ginger roots,cut them into small chunks. Peel them if you are not through with your cleaning. Put them in a open bowl with 2 liters of water and put the bowl on high flame. In about 45 min, the water would soak up the flavour of the ginger roots and would have reduced to almost 500 to 600 ml. It would be gain slightly thicker consistency too. Remove the bowl from the heat and let it cool down for a bit. You can empty the bowl into a glass jar and then top it up with equal amount of honey. Close the lid, give it a shake and refrigerate the syrup. Your ginger syrup is ready.

If kept refrigerated the shelf life of this syrup can be upto 6 months. I took a sample from my batch to Take 5 on Sunday evening and made everyone I know around taste it. Most liked it. You can use this syrup as a cocktail additive into a whiskey sour replacing the sugar syrup. This pic below is what I concocted at Take 5 with this syrup.

To continue to make your own gingerale, all you need to do is take about 60 ml of this syrup in a tall glass and top it with soda. One of my early memories of a cocktail was drink called "Ginger Banger" in a night club called Bottles & Chimneys in Hyd a good 8 -9 years ago. I vaguely remember it to be a vodka cocktail with lot of ice,dash of lime juice, mint leaves (not muddled) topped with gingerale. Super refreshing for summer noons.

To improvise the syrup, while boiling the ginger originally you could add cinnamon or cloves or any other spices that you like. One common drink I can think of using this ginger syrup is with brandy and hot water into a cocktail that is famously known as "Doctor`s prescription". Works quite well for your bad nose or throat days :).


As the temperature in the city is starting to rise, its about time for those refreshing summer drinks. And taking advantage of the seasonal availbility of strawberries here I present a simple and delicious improvisation to the caiprinhia/mojito kind of cocktail family. I call it "Stuboto".

What you need is 45 ml Gin/Vodka/Rum (clear poison of your choice), I used Beefeater Gin. 4 Fresh straberries, 1 lime, 60 to 90 ml cranberry juice, 15 ml Chambord (raspberry liquor, u could use syrup if liquor not available), 2 tsp sugar and some ice.

Cut strawberries into halves and muddle them with the juice of half lime and sugar in a shaker tin. Add scoopful of ice, gin, chambord and cranberry juice. Shake it with love and empty the concoction along with ice into an old fashioned glass. choose your garnish the way you like. perfect drink for ladies who prefer the sweet drinks that mask the smell of the spirit well. Pairt it with some bbq and you are good to roll.

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