Best of Hipcask Cocktail Fest Mumbai 2016
Hipcask Cocktail Fest presented by Cleartrip Activities, was the first cocktail festival in Mumbai! 30 restaurants came together to celebrate the art of great cocktails, showcasing over 300 cocktails. One of the objectives for us was to highlight local bar talent and it was great to see the effort the bar teams put in. Exotic ingredients like black truffles to some very chic presentation, we saw it all!
Here are some of the best cocktails of Hipcask Cocktail Fest. Next time you visit any of these restaurants and bars, congratulate the bar team!
|Innovative Cocktail||Black & Tan Martini at Woodside Inn, Colaba||Pink City at The Bombay Canteen|
|Cocktail with Unique Ingredients||Black Truffle Negroni at Romano’s||It’s Getting Hot in Here at The Good Wife|
|Value for Money Menu||Romano’s||Eddies Bistro|
|Cocktail with Best Presentation||Apple Cinger Mule at Woodside Inn, Andheri||The Bloomsbury at One Street Over|
|Cocktail with Creative Name||Laila from Bihar at True Tramm Trunk||Bite Me at Craft Deli Bistro and Bar|
|Best Cocktail Menu||NRI||PDT|
|Cocktail with Best Indian Flavors||Spice Market Old Fashioned at Romano’s||High on Chai at Toast Bistro|
|Best Beer Cocktail||Weizen Sour at Brewbot||Dark Knight at The White Owl|
|Best Coffee Cocktail||Whiskey Latte at Doppio||Irish Coffee at Mia Cucina|
|Best Wine Cocktail||Terttulia’s 95 at Terttulia||Mint To Be at Havana|
|Best Vodka Cocktail||Amaretto Sour at Escobar||CocoKetel at Eddies Bistro|
|Best Scotch Cocktail||Scottish Flip at One Street Over||Walker’s Sour at Olive Bar & Kitchen|
|Best American Whiskey Cocktail||Perfect Stranger at The Daily||Fruit and Mint Julep at Harry’s Bar + Kitchen|
Black & Tan Martini at Woodside Inn, Colaba
Our winner for the most innovative cocktail is Black & Tan Martini at Woodside Inn, Colaba. It maybe a beer cocktail, but this is the only one which plays on the strengths of craft beer. It uses both India Pale Ale and Filter Kaapi Stout with vodka. Putting the flavor profiles of both these ales together is sheer stroke of genius according to us.
Pink City at The Bombay Canteen
Pink City from The Bombay Canteen get an honorable mention because it uses some quintessential Indian ingredients in a cocktail but still remains contemporary and international. It includes Assam tea, ginger, cloves with pomegranate juice and whisky as a base.
Black Truffle Negroni at Romano’s
It was a unanimous decision that Romano’s at JW Marriott Sahar was the winner, the confusion was for which one cocktail. They had two, one using Black Garlic a hard to find commodity and a Black Truffle Negroni. We went with the Black Truffle Negroni because it is a comparatively better known and also because of the wonders the earthy rich aroma of the fungus would do to the Negroni.
It’s Getting Hot in Here at The Good Wife
Our honorable mention in this category goes to The Good Wife for their cocktail It’s Getting Hot in Here which used Chartreuse. This brandy based herbal liqueur from France is not easily found in India, let alone used in cocktails.
Common perception of a 5-star hotel is that their F&B offerings would be exorbitant and unaffordable for an average working professional in Mumbai. And that is where Romano’s at JW Marriott Sahar proved us wrong, they understood the idea behind Hipcask Cocktail Fest about making brilliant cocktails accessible to those looking for a better experience. They priced many of their premium cocktails at Rs 250 only!
Eddies Bistro in Bandra was another bar which offered great cocktails. Their menu not only incorporated super premium spirits, they also had special homemade infusions, and curious cocktail experiments all at affordable prices. For a stand alone restaurant this shows commitment.
Apple Cinger Mule at Woodside Inn, Andheri
While nothing beats a classic Martini glass, an interesting presentation can add value to a drink. Apple Cinger Mule at Woodside Inn, Andheri ticked all the boxes for us. Served in a copper Julep glass with crushed ice, green apple slices as garnish and a piece of cinnamon as a stirrer, it was a fun drink without making being too complicated to sip on it.
The Bloomsbury at One Street Over
We will also mention The Bloomsbury at One Street Over which played on nostalgia. If you’re 80s-90s kid you must remember the ice lollies in these perpendicular plastic sachets. The Bloomsbury, similarly, was served in a plastic zip lock sachet with a straw which reminded us of our childhood sucking on frozen lollies in the summer heat after school.
Laila from Bihar at True Tramm Trunk
No, we aren’t discussing an item song in a Bollywood flick. Laila from Bihar is part of a cocktail series at True Tramm Trunk in Juhu inspired by indigenous Indian spirits. This one has Mawa infused vodka, homemade Gulkand and Sprite; a sweet poison and completely comparable to the aforementioned musical genre.
Bite Me at Craft Deli Bistro and Bar
Again, it’s not what it seems like. We aren’t abusing anyone. Bite Me is a cocktail at Craft Deli Bistro and Bar using dark and white rum with grapes. It is a simple straightforward drink with just right the bite of spirit. We love the word play and pun in the name.
What defines a great cocktail menu? For us it is one which gives a consumer plenty of options not just in spirits but also flavors, it also has to highlight the strengths of the bar and specialties. For us NRI fit all of these things; they had plenty of spirits to choose from, good mix of classic and experimental cocktails as well as many flavors.
PDT came a close second with a good variety of spirits, homemade syrups and infusions and great choice of cocktails which gave a diner plenty of flavors and options to choose from.
Spice Market Old Fashioned at Romano’s
Over the years, we’ve found mixologists and bartenders have always loved to play around with Indian flavors be it herbs or spices. The ability to use it well and create a drink which is not just a novelty but has saleability is tricky. Romano’s Spice Market Old Fashioned has that balance using Garam Masala to enhance the spice notes of the whisky.
Toast Bistro’s High on Chai
Toast Bistro’s High on Chai also stood out for us because anything that uses Masala Chai, that milky concoction spiced enriched tea, is a winner for us. To balance those fragrant spices they used homemade spice infused rum. It may seem a over the top, but then again you’re supposed to take your time with it.
Weizen Sour at Brewbot
Beer cocktails are often faced with skepticism considering the distinctive flavor doesn’t gel well with a lot of other ingredients. But this is where craft breweries have an advantage like Brewbot who use their Belgian Witbier to mix with whisky and citrus flavors to create a sour drink called Weizen Sour.
Dark Knight at The White Owl
We also have to mention The White Owl’s Dark Knight which adds porter to vanilla ice cream and coffee. Porter’s deep rich malty flavor is enhanced by the coffee and ice cream.
Whiskey Latte at Doppio
Espresso Martinis have become too common, we were looking for a cocktail which used coffee differently. Whiskey Latte at Doppio did exactly that using Bailey’s, a shot of espresso mixing it with whisky to create a cocktail which beautifully resembled a latte.
Irish Coffee at Mia Cucina
Nothing is more comforting than an Irish Coffee at Mia Cucina, even though this one does not use an Irish whiskey, adds Kahlua and cream to make it even more richer. It is a classic cocktail which is soothing after a long day; you can’t go wrong with it.
Terttulia’s 95 at Terttulia
Terttulia’s wine cocktail, Terttulia’s 95, is a take on French 75 using gin, sparkling rose wine instead of Champagne. It in its essence is still a classic cocktail tweaked to suit the availability of ingredients. We firmly believe you cannot go wrong with classics.
Mint To Be at Havana
We have to give an honorable mention to Havana’s Mint To Be which again has sparkling wine with rum and then with some mint to add some freshness to it. It is a balanced drink which has depth from rum while the wine adds the sparkle.
Amaretto Sour at Escobar
Vodka is a popular base spirit for cocktails, Escobar’s Amaretto Sour uses the almond liqueur to create a new flavor in the cocktail which creates a more complex flavor profile for a regular Sour drink. Creative and unusual, we think.
CocoKetel at Eddies Bistro
Our second choice here was CocoKetel at Eddies Bistro which is a different take on a pina colada. Instead of pineapple juice, this drink uses peach which blended with coconut water and cream. Pina colada-ish but not completely.
Scottish Flip at One Street Over
Most think using Scotch for cocktails is sacrilege but Scotch whiskies have lots of flavors which lend very well to a cocktail. Take the Scottish Flip at One Street Over for instance where Johnnie Walker Red Label is used together with honey, basil and pineapple.
Walker’s Sour at Olive Bar & Kitchen
Raspberry and whisky doesn’t seem like a combination that would work but at Olive Bar & Kitchen with the Walker’s Sour it does. It is a fruity take on a whisky sour using fresh fruits, berries and Johnnie Walker Red Label.
Perfect Stranger at The Daily
American whiskey is incredibly versatile. Check out how well Jack Daniel’s works with Rosso, rosemary, passion fruit and orange in a drink called Perfect Stranger at The Daily. The whiskey ties all these unlikely flavors to create something unique.
Fruit and Mint Julep at Harry’s Bar + Kitchen.
Another one of our favorites is Fruit and Mint Julep at Harry’s Bar + Kitchen. A simple mint julep made using Jack Daniel’s whiskey is spruced up with oranges and strawberries making lighter, easier and more fun version of the southern US favorite cocktail.