Nobody should be upto anything productive on a weekend, unless one is travelling. But when an opportunity like a Cocktail Masterclass at Mumbai's hottest restaurant, Masque, presents itself, it's impossible to say no.
We expected to pick up not just the basics, but also take home lessons from the best in the business. In an evening full of gin, bourbon, rum and banter in equal measure, we made copius notes of the following:
A Fine Balance
When your cocktail is a perfect blend of sweet and sour, you have hit gold. Apart from sugar, honey is a great option and juices of citrus fruits like lime, grapefruit and orange will add the zesty sour element.
Ice can make or break your cocktail; it transforms the flavour profile as you nurse your drink till the last sip. A good trick is to use homemade flavoured ice that's infused with a souring element and a hint of sweetness. In other words, feel free to freeze lemonade or freshly squeezed orange juice in an ice tray and use this instead of regular ice cubes.
Shaken, Stirred and Swizzle
The most important step is how to mix all the ingredients. Shaken is widely preferred if you want to experiment with different flavours, but a stirred drink is devoid of any syrups making it more potent. Sugar or honey can be skipped in a stirred drink because the sweetness is derived from the alcohol. A drink is stirred so that the subtle flavours and alcohol content are not diluted. Swizzling involves a slim spinning stick and is mostly used for crushed ice to dilute and mix all the ingredients. This method originated in the Carribean region and is mostly prefered for sour and rum-based drinks.
Fresh on the go
To achieve maximum punch, ensure that ingredients such as juices are fresh and even the rind of a fruit can add to the flavour profile. Opt for fresh herbs like rosemary, mint, thyme and lavendar to enhance your cocktails.
The thing about Egg White...
...Is it adds richness to the cocktail without tasting or smelling of raw egg. Give it a dry shake without the ice first, then add the ice and shake again. This magic ingredient binds the flavours beautifully and you can garnish the drink with the zest of a citrus fruit to completely dispel the smell of egg.
And lastly, remember the golden rule of tasting the drink before serving. Also, practice before the finale to master the art of making cocktails.
Making My Very First Cocktail
Armed with all this information our small group of six was asked to concoct a drink and name it. The plethora of ingredients seemed like a box of crayons with choices ranging from fruits, spices, herbs, juices and alcohol. We picked orange, ginger, lavender, lime juice and felt Masque-rade will be a suitable name. Aditi Dugal, Co-Owner of Masque approved and here's the 'original' recipe:
60 ml Gin
1 and half tbsp fresh orange juice
1 and half tbsp lavender syrup
Half tsp lime juice
A slice of orange peel for garnishing
Put all the ingredients in a shaker and give it a good shake. Taste to judge if all the flavours are in place. If you've given your drink a thumbs-up, pour it in a coupe glass through a double strainer and serve cold.
Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
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