Drink to enjoy at your party. There’s nothing on the agenda, except unwinding with people you wish to spend time with, tucking into some moreish food and relaxing with a cocktail or a glass of wine. Here’s a list of spirits to let the conversation flow.
Baagh is a crisp gin served best as a welcome drink. It has dominating citrus notes of orange and lime, balanced by spicy juniper. To serve, pour over ice, add tonic and slip in a grapefruit slice for a touch of pleasant bitterness and to round off the flavours. It is a product of Chhota Hazri Spirits, a distillery launched by chef Manu Chandra, who joined hands with Mohamed Rizwan and Jatin Dev Bobb. The founders have collaborated with the Balipara Foundation in Assam to pledge a part of their profits for rewilding initiatives.
Stranger & Sons Sherry Cask aged gin
While botanical-forward gins continue to be popular, experts believe cask-aged versions will find their own space. Last month, Stranger & Sons introduced a sherry cask-aged gin. Unlike a crystal clear gin, it has a warm brown hue imparted by the ex-sherry casks, Amontillado and Oloroso, that were used to age it for over a year. It is infused with the coffee cherry husk cascara for a pleasant caffeine experience, balanced with the sweetness of honey. Serve with a slice of orange or grapefruit to enhance the triad of flavours—woody, smoky and coffee.
Brancaia Ilatraia 2019
At a recent tasting, I discovered the 2019 vintage of the super Tuscan Ilatraia from the Brancaia family in Italy. I took a long sniff and picked up ripe red fruits. The first sip was like a punch of smooth tannins, spice notes and gentle ripe fruit; and it ends with a long finish. The best way to describe this wine is, it starts off as an introvert and proceeds to become a jubilant extrovert. From Maremma in Italy, it’s the perfect wine to sip on while dreaming of the next vacation.
If boozy libations are not part of the plan, a hard seltzer with 5% abv is a good option. The brand Pursue has four flavour combinations—peach and white tea, mosambi and mint, strawberry and rose, mango and chilli—that come in party packs. They are best enjoyed on their own; you can serve with a sprig of mint or lime slice.
Sober & Co
These are cocktail mixers and work wonderfully for those who don’t drink alcohol. With flavours like the kokum-based Goan Mule, zesty Australian Sour with green apple and spicy Cuban spritzer, these mixers will bring the bar home. For a buzz-free experience, mix them with plain soda and serve.
DIY Mulled Wine Kit
When it comes to hospitality, restaurateur Rohit Khattar swears by the philosophy: “Give the warmest welcome and the fondest goodbye.” The DIY mulled wine kit by Craft Cocktail Company comes with packets of whole spices, like cardamom, star anise and Ceylon cinnamon, has infusion bags and can make about five litres of mulled wine. It’s a goodbye gift your guests will cherish.