At AER Four Seasons, cocktail innovation is all about creating twists that add a different character to the drink.
Every celebration requires a toast and what better way than your favourite cocktail in hand? The presentation and composition of cocktails make them a great premium beverage for any party, celebration and even a date! From the classic Martini and Cosmopolitan to today’s Negroni and Old Fashioned, every cocktail has a different palette of flavours and textures.
Just like wine tasting, it’s imperative to cultivate a taste palette. However, it is never too late to begin your cocktail journey, “For a beginner, I would suggest a Martini with Gin or a Manhattan with whiskey or an Old Fashioned. These are some of the classics and as they consist of fewer mixers and complexity, understanding what a cocktail should taste like becomes easy. I too developed my taste palette starting with these.” suggested Deepak Shettigar, Club and Beverage Manager, Four Seasons Mumbai.
This year, back when situations were normal, I visited the AER for World Margarita Day. Taking a spin on the classic margarita called the sundowner for a justified reason, it was interesting to see a range of variations each different from others in texture, preparation and experience!
AER collaborated with Jose Cuervo, one of the best Tequila brands in the world to present incredible and enthralling interpretations of this classic drink. The entire space was decorated with a special performance by Larissa Coelho – a truly one of the best sundowners to witness!
Cocktails And Innovation:
Give a break to the classic Martinis and Cosmopolitans, and explore the horizon with innovations and twists in the world of cocktails. With different spirits and techniques, the rise of the new age cocktails like Old Fashioned, Negroni, Whiskey Sours and more, “Guests have evolved in terms of perspective and taste. They would want to see something that is beautiful, Instagram-mable, and want to experiment. The millennials are open to trying different combinations and spirits without being restricted to a Mojito or a Manhattan”
However, if you are worn out of trying the classics and the famous, bar lounges are continuously working on creating newer cocktails and recreating the classic with a twist. Mr Shettigar believes innovating with cocktails is a creative process with several aspects and parameters. Innovating cocktails for the bar comes with its checklist. The drink served shouldn’t be too complicated, the ingredients should be largely available and the most important part – they should be quick to serve!
Ingredients play a major part in making or breaking the drink. Have you ever imagined a cocktail with Kasuri Methi? If not, I tasted a classic AER cocktail with Gin and Kasuri Methi called ‘All that Bitters’. He further mentioned how he likes to keep the drink simple, understated and easy to make.
“We are continuously watching and assessing the global trends in terms of infusions, techniques, ingredients – for example, if there’s a certain syrup, and then make our turnaround with our in-house technique. My bartending team comes up to me with different ideas, and we try them out. In most cases, they work out fabulously, and we introduce them to the bar.” explained Mr Shettigar.
Blending and infusing various elements into the drink creates a beautiful picture at the end. For the Jalapeno and Orange Margarita, the jalapenos add the spice index and oranges lend the tanginess to the sweetness of the Jose Cuervo Tequila, thus creating a synergy of flavours.
Techniques Matter Too:
Just like varied ingredients, different techniques lead to a unique experience. For Margarita Day, the team at AER utilised various techniques to achieve exquisite results. “Strawberries are in season. Hence we cooked the strawberries and rested it overnight to make Strawberry compote to get that roasted strawberry aftertaste, similar to that of a strawberry hookah.”
Keeping the base intact, for the Tropical Margarita, an infusion technique known as ‘fat washing’ is used wherein a flavourful fat, in this case, coconut oil is infused with Tequila overnight. The Tequila takes on the flavour of coconut but none of its greasiness. The jalapeno and orange margarita is for those who enjoy spice in their cocktails.
Another commendable cocktail is ‘Sassy Peach’ which essentially is a whiskey sour blended with peach puree. For this cocktail, they add Baker’s Yeast and Whey (which acts as food for the yeast) to the peach puree that results in a soft velvet-like character to the cocktail.
Fancy A Theatrical?
Flair bartending had its time and we sure do enjoy a great theatrical with the bartender juggling around bottles. But it’s not the case with Bars and clubs. With haste to get the drink served within minutes, flare isn’t a great option and is pivoting towards mixology, “More than flair bartending, we have noticed our patrons are more interested and inquisitive about what goes into the drink. Many of them follow a certain diet and are conscious of the ingredients and cocktails are easy for them to try at home the next time” mentioned Mr Shettigar.
Now that we are locked in our homes again, if you fancy a soothing glass of a Margarita in a serene sunset, here is the rundown of how you can achieve the margaritas served at AER Four Seasons Mumbai –
- Lime 20 ml
- Strawberry compote 45 ml
- Tequila 45 ml
- Nick & Nora glass
- Garnish – Fresh Strawberry
Ingredients and method for strawberry compote:
- Strawberry compote
- Strawberry 500 gms
- Caster sugar 500 gms
- Water 100 ml
Cook fresh cut strawberries in a pan and add sugar till the strawberries turn soft. Add water so that it doesn’t stick to the pan. Make a paste of the mixture and store it in the refrigerator for use. Add all the ingredients to a shaker and shake well for 15-20 seconds. Double strain in a glass and garnish with a fresh strawberry.
Jalapeño & Orange Margarita
- Jalapeño syrup 30 ml
- Tequila 45 ml
- Lime 25 ml
- Salt pinch
- Old fashioned glass
- Orange peel
Ingredients and preparation for Jalapeño & Orange Syrup:
- Jalapeño 500 gms
- Fresh orange juice 1 litre
- Caster sugar 750 gms
Blend 500 gms of jalapeño with the brine and cook with orange juice and sugar for 10 mins. Fine strain and store in a fridge. Add all the ingredients to the shaker and shake hard for 15-20 seconds. Double strain in an old-fashioned glass and garnish with an orange peel.