ITC Grand Chola’s newest bar, Tranquebar, opened Tuesday amidst a cloud of perfumes, cackles, stiletto clicks and camera flashes. The true stars of the show however were Hannah Kierl and her all-woman team of bartenders. Launched as a “feminine space” to contrast with the “masculine” Cheroot next door, according to ITC Hotels VP Ranvir Bhandari (my feminist heart cringes at these binary oppositions), Tranquebar is a cozy space, and Kierl and her concoctions make it a must-visit. Her vision for the menu at the cocktail bar transcend the cliches of “girly” drinks (bright coloured, with enough sugar to drown out the alcohol), with fun takes and true appreciation of drinking. So while the initial offerings at the launch — like the elaneer payasam cocktail made with vodka and curd — err on the sweet side, Kierl puts us in our place with the French Connection (Ciroc, Grand Marnier, Dry Vermouth) and Winter Sands (Tangerine Juice, 23YO Rum, Sweet Vermouth) each Rs 1,100 plus tax, that are strong, unusual and downright delicious.
“We have something for everyone — drinks that are sweet, sour, strong,” she says, adding that the bar is always open to customise. The stack of menus offer white and dark liquour and wine-based cocktails (the big global trend at the moment, according to Kierl), apart from a wine list of 125 wines. Kierl, who was tired of finding bars in the city sticking to standard cocktails, has created a menu of originals (Rs 750 plus tax onwards) you won’t find anywhere else, with the menu sure to change every three or four months. She even included two DIY cocktail options with a mini bar for two to play around with. Snacks (Rs 475 to Rs 825) are of the finger food variety (the idea obviously being that one totter over to any of the restaurants at the hotel) but if the canapes at the launch are anything to go by, they will be beautifully done. Bhandari suggested Tranquebar was a “serene” space for romance and tranquility. We suggest you visit Tranquebar if you like your liquor and appreciate creativity in a (well made) cocktail. And be sure to fill the “serenity” with some ladylike cackles. Details: 22200000