Shaking up a cocktail is not so different from cooking any dish. It needs to have the right balance of flavours, look appealing and then even with many components the main component should stand out. Allison Dedianko, Global brand ambassador of Belvedere Vodka and a mixologist was in Mumbai recently and few of us were lucky enough to be a part of her cocktail making workshop at Wink in Taj Vivanta.
The workshop was all about making cocktails using Belvedere vodka and Indian flavours. Allison shared some tips and tricks about making cocktails, getting the flavour balance right and some of the terms used in bartending. Allison demonstrated five cocktails using the local ingredients like cardamom, saffron, clove, fresh fruits, limes and cinnamon. She shared a lot of bartending knowledge, like how to hold a jigger (used to measure the quantity of liquor), pouring the liquid into the glass from the jigger without spilling, holding the bottles by the neck with a finger on the nozzle to have maximum control on the quantity of liquid needed, chill a glass before pouring any drink, use of egg whites to create a nice frothy drink and well, finding your own rhythm to shake a cocktail.
The evening started off with Lemongrass silver fizz which had muddled fresh lemongrass, 50ml of Belvedere vodka, 10 ml lime juice, 15ml of egg white and 10ml of sugar syrup. Give all these ingredients a dry shake mainly to create a froth but also to cook the egg white and then shake it again with lots of ice. Strain the drink in a champagne glass and top it up with cream soda. Fizzy, light and refreshing is what this drink was!
Another cocktail that I really enjoyed was the Saffron and Cinnamon Daisy. It started off with shaking up 15ml of egg white, 50ml of Belvedere vodka, 25ml of saffron and cinnamon syrup, 25ml of lime juice (or a little less considering our Indian limes are pretty sour) and a dash of triple sec. Shake the drink again with loads of ice, strain in a chilled martini glass and garnish with saffron strands. For me this drink was a dessert in itself with distinct but not too overpowering flavour of cinnamon.
We also got a chance to shake up our favourite cocktail of the evening and I chose Pineapple and cardamom martini.
I started off by muddling fresh pineapple chunks and a couple of cardamom pods in a glass. Then added 50ml of Belvedere vodka, 20ml fresh pineapple juice and cardamom syrup to the glass. Next I added loads of ice to the glass and shook it really well! The cocktail shaker does become a little too cold to hold with comfort but it’s quite a fun workout for the arms. Then I strained the drink in a chilled martini glass and garnished with a fresh pineapple wedge.
The other drinks made that evening were The Zephyr which is Belvedere’s signature cocktail and Clove sour.
The evening was spent well with great drinks, interesting chats and fun people. One thing I take back from this event is that just like food we should experiment with the flavours we add to our drinks. We in India, have loads of spices that can be infused in our drinks like chili, mint, star anise, pepper, chai masala and kala namak and it’s definitely worth a “shot”! 😉