Bar consultant Yangdup Lama on his new book and why you should allow your mixologist creative license
Retro, vintage, craft a�� there are many ways to shake up a cocktail, even something as misunderstood as the Cosmopolitan. Bar consultant and trainer Yangdup Lama seems to know this very well, for his debut book, Cocktails and Dreams a�� The Ultimate Indian Cocktail Book, has been compiled for both the expert and the home bartender. Known for his C&D Speakeasy bar in Gurgaon, Lama, 41, has 50 cocktails in the book he has co-authored with friend and spirits expert, Geetanjali Chaturvedi. So you have the usual suspects like the mojitos and caipiroskas sharing the bar counter with imbibable innovations like Jaam-a-elachi (cardamom) and Southern Somras (curry leaf, jaggery and rum). The former tea trainer also has his share of Darjeelinga��s finest a�� Whisky First Flush. Tracing the journey of the cocktail into a culinary form, Lama puts his 18 years behind the bar to good use. a�?Beers can be flavoured. All it takes are simple ingredients, like a fresh slice of cucumber, to turn it around.a�? Other gems? Serve whisky with green tea. And dona��t let summer go by without a watermelon and mint martini.
While Lamaa��s Prohibition-era concoctions are a big hit at his bar, the book steers clear of them. The mixologist insists hea��s saving these, together with barrel-aged experiments, and a round-up of tribal spirits for his next written project. His concession to homegrown beverages is a a�?going locala�� section. And while he can tell you a thing or two about Mahua (made from a tropical flower) that we associate with Orissa and Madhya Pradesh and chang (Himalayan rice wine), ita��s best to corner him at his bar for details on sourcing American oak barrels online or bitters (he has over 20 varieties at the a�?speakeasya��). If visiting, he suggests you specify your base liquor and flavour preference and leave the rest to him. a�?Try a�?Whatever You Saya��, our shot at giving the bartender creative license,a�? he suggests, insisting that the global trend is worth a try if you are certain about your bartendera��s cocktail chops. As for the cocktail that will never go out of style, ita��s the mojito as a�?It is unisex, refreshing and looks tall, indicating more value for money!a�?
a�� Rosella Stephen