Home Chennai Martinis that could give Bond pause, but that you’ll love!

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    Library Blu at the Leela Palace takes the martini on a textured spin that may niggle purists but offer others sweet variety

    WHETHER you are nursing a single malt or throwing back some tequila, The Library Blu is a good sanctuary. It helps that you don’t have to elbow your way to the well-appointed bar, and that you can carry on a conversation. Plus, its discreet bartenders — like the lanky Rajneesh — know a trick or two when it comes to creating new age cocktails. Which was why, when the hotel announced its textured martini promotion, we were quick to visit.

    LEELA2The line-up features five carefully crafted cocktails that give a martini staple, vermouth, the cold shoulder. What you get instead are heady concoctions starring the silky, single-batch Absolut Elyx, the premium Bombay Sapphire gin, Ketel One vodka and some Irish whiskey. Introducing another level of flavour are the foams our mad scientists in black suits conjure. Cointreau, Kahlua, Baileys, Campari and a trusty iSi whipper is all it takes. Little details, be it a torched star anise or aniseed, vanilla bean, applewood (for the smoked effect) or calamansi lime, add fitting punctuation. The evening sees assistant F&B manager, G Subbaraman calling the shots — occasionally revealing his dexterity behind the bar, earned during long stints at Blue Bar and Orient Express in the capital.

    Taking stock
    We begin with Wild Lady, their version of the Irish Mist. With the Baileys and Elyx vodka, it makes for a good aperitif. The Martini de Granada does like a palate cleanser, before the smoke-infused whiskey martini, Novel Fashioned, makes an appearance. It’s a hit and, if less contact with ice is guaranteed, can be a bar signature. That and some practice with the smoking apparatus. Next up, Mandarin Elation, featuring Absolut Mandarin, followed by Madras Caffeine. With Ketel One, a dash of Kahlua and coffee beans, the latter is a fitting end to the liquid tasting menu. These foamy cocktails make the cut thanks to the premium products used, even if Agent 007  might look askance at all the fruit and garnish. As for the texture, choose between luxurious and light, but they are all smooth on the way down.

    From June 1 to July 31. Rs. 695 plus tax. Details: 33661234

    -Rosella Stephen

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