Brews & Spirits

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When it rains, it pours!

When it rains, it pours!

It has been a really hot summer this year. And I’m so wishing for the thunderstorms and the crackle of lightning that usually heralds the Mumbai monsoons. Saw a glimmer of it last nite, but woke up to a bright sunny day. I felt cheated!

But the day has progressed nicely. As I write this, I can hear the pitter-patter of rain against my window and the occasional roar of a downpour. Maybe the gods will be kind and will let the clouds roll in.

Don’t know if you’ve heard Jose Feliciano singing ‘Rain’. Probably not. Mesmerising stuff. You probably know ‘Thunder’ by Imagine Dragons and K Flay better!! It hounds me on the radio while I’m driving.

Don’t know if pouring rain does things to you. Disgusting traffic; squishy shoes. Walking along Marine Drive in Mumbai…. Raindrops trickling down your collar… Waves lashing against the rocks and onto the buses and cars passing by… Palm trees bowing down to the might of the wind. Swaying, yet standing firm.

Sniffles and sneezes. Snuggles and fat books. You know what I mean. Or maybe not at all.

The rains make me hungry, thirsty, lazy and mushy. Standing at my window, letting the raindrops blow against my face while I sip on whisky-laced coffee and chomp on ham sandwiches redolent with mustard. Garam chai and pakode or samosa.

Steaming hot chocolate with a splash of Cointreau and cookies. Pink Floyd singing ‘Wish You Were Here’. Or simply glued to bingeing on movies! All the above by my side.

Gluhwein, mulled wine in many forms are as perfect for a rainy day. There’s even mulled beer! A deep swig on a glass of young Spanish ‘brandy de Jerez’ after a soak in the rain does wonderful things inside.

Cognac makes it seem like a little bit of heaven; as does a spicy hot toddy to a case of the leaky nose. Or simply gazing out at the endless downpour, your favourite whisky in hand.

The rains also make me think with every sip of that dram. The monsoons allow me to dream new thoughts and remind me of the majesty of the seasons. The wet earth bringing us the bounty we use to create magic in our work.

And the courage to survive its wrath too. Taking what is thrown at you and having the conviction to stand ground, not drowning in self-pity and hopelessness. Being washed by the rain and beginning afresh.

And in the spirit of new, my two favourite “soaked” comforters that will keep you warm and deliciously sweet in the rain. The drink recipes are formatted to get them right. The dessert recipes are guidelines. In exactly the way I work in the bar and in the kitchen! Hope you enjoy them, and the monsoons.



Utterly Simple

Glass: wine


Dark rum/bourbon: 30/60ml

Cinnamon stick

Hot apple juice: 200ml

Garnish: cinnamon sugar rim, slice of apple

Method: Rim glass with cinnamon and Demerara/ white sugar. Pour rum/ bourbon in the glass. Snap and add the cinnamon stick and apple slice. Top with steaming apple juice.



Sundown Squirrel

Glass: Old Fashioned/ whisky tumbler


Whiskey: 45ml

Campari: 15ml

Orange juice: 30ml

Honey: 1 teaspoon (optional)

Hot water

Garnish: slice of orange, clove

Method: Put orange slice and clove in the glass and muddle it a bit. Pour the whiskey and Campari. Add steaming hot water and honey (optional) and stir.




(Wish You Were Here)

Glass: wine/ Chinese teacups


Red wine: 120ml

Sugar: 1 teaspoon

Cinnamon stick

Two cloves

Peels of lime and orange

Garnish: peels & spices

Method: Warm all ingredients together till steaming (microwave in a mug). Pour into glass and sip.



Hot Chocolate Cow

Glass: Irish coffee glass/ wine


Cointreau: 30ml

Creamy dark hot chocolate in milk cream

Garnish: Kit-Kat

Method: Make hot chocolate with sugar, cocoa and hot milk. Pour Cointreau in glass and top with hot chocolate. Float cream. Place Kit-Kat across the rim.



Hot Custard with Khari?

Unbelievable but yummy! It can’t get simpler. Make hot custard out of a pack. Melt orange marmalade with some hot water and a generous splash of bourbon to make a sauce. Break khari biscuits into a bowl. Smother it with the marmalade sauce. Ladle in the custard. Simply delicious!!


Wine Poached Peaches, Plums

Cut the peaches and plums in halves. Half cover with red wine, a teaspoon of sugar for each half, a couple of sticks of cinnamon, star anise and some cloves. Cook till the fruit is soft. Remove them in a serving bowl and boil down the wine till it is slightly thick. Pour over the fruit.

In a separate pan, melt some butter. Add a teaspoon of flour, broken Marie/ digestive biscuits, Demerara (brown) sugar, pinch of cinnamon powder and chopped, toasted almonds and pistachio. Stir the mixture till nice and hot, then cool so it’s crunchy. Serve each bowl with the fruit at the bottom and the crumble generously on top. Both ice-cream and cream work beautifully as an addition.