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Feb 16, 2007 09:40 AM

Indian Cocktails

Every month or so, we get together with some friends and have a theme dinner. this month is India.

since I can't cook and everyone else can, I am in charge of drinks.

Does anyone have some tradtional indian cocktails/spirits I should include as part of my contribution?

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  1. Does it have to be cocktails? I would recommend a selection of Rieslings for wine and IPA beers.

    If you want to make cocktails, think of what fruits and spices complement Indian food; since a Mango Lassi is a classic drink, you could twist it with Mango Martinis. Since most Indian food tends towards the spicy, I would think you would want the drinks to be on the sweeter side. There are some amazing mixers out there that could be added for some really original flavors.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Carrie 218

      Thanks, Definitely doesn't have to be cocktails. We do try for authentic though. I like the IPA idea (after 150 years, that qualifies as authentic in my book). I don't really think of wine for Indian, but that could just be my lack of knowledge.

      We will have Mango lassi as well. maybe just spike that.

      1. re: lgphil

        Reconsider wine -- I like beer but I like my beer really, really dark which doesn't necessarily "go" the way and IPA does. Women especially might seriously appreciate a sweet-ish wine more than beer and a really good Riesling is astonishingly great with Indian food.

        Stick with the Kabinetts. Even a Spatlese might be too sweet for some. Depending on how many folks you are having, consider getting two or three different bottles and trying a tasting along with the wines! Get two Kabits and one Spatlese and really experiment. You'll be pleasantly surprised, I assure you!

    2. If you want to really consider an "Indian" cocktail, the classic gin and tonic is a result of British colonialism in the area. Quinine treatments for malaria were cut with gin for added flavor. Probably not something you'd want to pair with a meal, but it has some history behind it and is a wonderful aperitif.

      1 Reply
      1. re: negronilover

        some of the better liquor stores will have "Indian Tonic" imported from the UK. Schweppes makes it. Its a little more authentic, i think.

      2. There are no "traditional" Indian alcoholic drinks. In Hindu scriptures drinking is referred to as one of the five heinous crimes. Many parts of India are "dry" although alcohol is consumed by many.

        The drinks of choice tend towards tea in northern India and coffee in southern India, as well as juices, lemonade, and coconut water, or a lassi- sweet or salty.

        That said, beer is popular. Get some Taj Mahal, Kingfisher, or one of the myriad others.

        Or find a bottle of Fenny (Indian liquor from Goa made from cashew apple juice) and make cocktails with that or mix with tonic or lemonade for a typical drink.

        1. 1. It's not a perfect fit, but a local restaurant does a Tamarind margarita (I think it used to be a tamarind martini, so there may be some room to play around). Not quite sure how they do it, but...

          2. chai martinis are also quite popular right now, and Voyant makes a chai cream liqueur.

          3. india does produce wine! and some of it not-bad, although it may be difficult to source (


          4. And I second Kingfisher - and looove the cheekiness of gin and tonics.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Rabbit

            in a teenage Midwestern state of boredom, we'd go the local Krishna temple/cafe, get tamarind tea to go and mix it with Jack Daniels in the car...

            yum - whole new taste treat.

            1. re: Rabbit

              I make a tamarind cocktail with the following:

              20ml Tamarind syrup
              30ml Dry vermouth
              5ml Sweet vermouth
              35ml Gin
              30ml Lemon juice

              Shake and fine-strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

              Tamarind Syrup - boil a block of crushed tamarind in water for around an hour, then fine strain and mix in the same quantity of sugar.

            2. My own preference is to a hoppy pale ale or an off-dry white, something from Alsace, Germany, or Austria. One local high-end Indian near Boston (Tamarind Bay in Cambrdige, one of my favorites, creative without being fusion-y) offers an Indian white wine, but I haven't tried it.