part-time musings

Tag: India

I like my gloom shaken, not stirred

I know I promised you a gin-based post, but it’s tax deadline week so I’ve been sucked into a vortex of despairing communication with HM Revenue & Customs that’s lamentably devoid of frivolity, martinis or indeed much hope. This is not a place from which inspiration springs, even a little. So instead of something well-written, here are some blurry pictures of the Polo Bar in Jaipur.

It’s a reminder to myself that somewhere beyond the Cimmerian gloom of tax returns I used to have a life that involved going places and doing things. Mostly at the Polo Bar I had martinis. Controversially the barmen here favour the ‘double-shaking’ method, but after fixing the barman with a look carefully poised between charming and murderous it never happened again.

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Tippling through India. Bombay. Part 2.

Generally speaking I like my drinks like I like my drinks – cold, strong and uncomplicated. So usually you’ll find me ordering martinis or G&Ts. But very occasionally I’ll try something else, particularly if it’s the specialty drink of the house. In my house the specialty drink is a champagne cocktail. At the legendary Harbour Bar in Bombay, the house drink is the ‘Harbour 1933’. It comes with a story as long and fruity as the concoction itself – something about marking the end of Prohibition in the US – which the barman narrates while engaged in the complex mixing process.  When I say complex, I mean it involves a tray, a Boston shaker, several glasses, exotic fruit, and something that looks like a bunsen burner.  The fruit is warmed with some Chartreuse in a brandy glass over the burner before being set alight and poured into the cold part of the drink.

Having experimented eventfully with recreating this drink at home, I can only recommend that setting fire to drinks in this manner is best left to the professionals.  Much to the relief of everyone who knows me, I’ve developed a non-flambéed ‘cold’ version of this drink for the domestic setting which I’m calling a Cold Harbour.

Cold Harbour

  • One double shot of Tanqueray 10
  • Half a shot of yellow Chartreuse
  • Half a shot of peach liqueur
  • Some pear, finely chopped
  • Sprinkling of pomegranate seeds
  • Three double shots of pear or litchi juice
  • 5-6 ice cubes

Combine. Stir. Drink. Repeat.  (Or – although I haven’t tried this yet – I’m pretty sure the volumes could be ‘scaled up’ to make a decent punch come the Summer.)

Tippling through India. Bombay. Part 1.

I bring you news, Dear Readers, from the Indian Subcontinent! As you know, I have a deeply-held conviction that travel is made bearable only by the frequent application of G&Ts. And obviously the fact that ‘Indian Tonic Water’ is one of the principal ingredients of a good G&T means that India is soundly on my list of desirable travel destinations.

Due to the vagaries of modern air travel, flights to Bombay* arrive typically in the less sociable hours of the early morning. The city is only slightly less frenetic at this time than it is at other points in the day. Stepping off the quiet, cold stupor of the plane one has the choice of either being overwhelmed by the noise, humidity, and excitement of the city or embracing it. But you’d be missing some of the greatest fun of your life if you didn’t choose the latter. Despite my instant affection for this bustling, charming city, I’ll admit that when I finally reached the tranquility of the Taj Palace I was pleased to wrap my hand around an ice cold Hendricks G&T, garnished, as it ‘always‘ is, the barman tells me, with cucumber to elevate the cucumber notes of the gin. Why didn’t I have a Bombay Sapphire G&T you wonder? Because, Dear Readers, this gal is many things, but she endevours never, ever to be obvious.

*Yes I KNOW it’s really called Mumbai. But I have yet to meet a person who lives in the city who doesn’t refer to it as
Bombay.