Do you remember how excited you got thinking about the various flavours when you heard the gola wala beckon with his bell? Oh! The good ol’ days when a tangy-sweet flavour infused ball of shaved ice would satisfy your soul like nothing else! Now imagine if you could spike this up with some alcohol and take a happy high walk down memory lane, how blissful that would be.
Inspired by this thought, master mixologist Pranav Mody, who designed the drinks menu for Barraza as well as The Sassy Spoon in the city, has come up with a range of fun cocktails. He takes desi beverages, which spark childhood memories in some people, and turns them into classy cocktails served at the bar.
Spiking it up
“The flavours are very nostalgic and at some point in our childhood we have tried them. Either we loved them or hated them. Spiking them allowed me to give that present day nostalgic moment with a twist and for some to turn liking toward them like it did for me,” says Mody. He has created a spiked version of the traditional Maharashtrian beverage, Sol Kadhi, the most popular gola flavour, Kala Khatta, and more.
The reason why everyone else doesn’t spike up their desi drinks at home is that they don’t know which spirit would go with which. So how does Mody decide? Giving us an insight into the work he does at the bar, he says, “You have Kala Khatta that goes really well with Absolut Raspberry because its raspberry flavour does justice to the base element of mulberry. Whereas the Spiked Sol Kadhi goes really well with the white rum and allows to balance the sourness of kokum and spiciness of the green chili.”
While most bars have the regular set of mocktails, along with a few specials, that you can choose a drink from, Mody tends to take the road less travelled and designs a menu that features innovative cocktails. Though his main objective is to create something new, he finds it fitting to go back to his desi roots to find a new flavour and bring it to the bar for experimentation.
“Some of these flavours have always been a highlight of our childhood and spiking them gives it a grown-up twist,” he adds. The familiar taste of the childhood-inspired beverage spiked with alcohol gives you a pleasant and not-so-subtle, surprise in the first sip.
Street food in a glass
No matter which city you go to in this country, the most popular form of street food will be a variation of Pani Puri. In Kolkata it’s Phuchka, in Delhi it’s Gol Gappe, and so on. In one of his brilliant concoctions, Mody has turned the popular street food into a drink. And that too a spiked one. “My mother’s Pani Puri was something I always loved as a kid. One day I was there for dinner and I had some tequila around, so I decided to experiment and it was a match made in heaven. To this day, we use the flavoured water from my mother’s Pani Puri for our Margaritas,” says Mody. He adds that it is his favourite drink too. “My favourite is the Pani Puri Margarita. Mainly because it’s more like mother’s love and mixed with my favourite spirit Tequila. Best of both worlds,” he says.
He has also turned the well-liked pan into a cocktail. “Pan, as an element, is very cooling and good for digestion. I wanted it to be a refreshing beverage. The flavour of freshly-muddled betel leaf and lime does wonders with white rum, the gulkand is just a bonus. It also goes really well with gin and citrus flavoured vodka,” he says.