Of Patiala pegs and American whiskey: cocktails to savor



Fresh ginger juice mixed with lime juice, orgeat syrup, pineapple juice and Tennessee whiskey, shaken well with lots of crushed ice and what you have in hand is a great “Ginger Baker” drink served in a martini glass.

But does whiskey play the role of an antagonist, restricting women from sipping cocktails?

Labeled a quintessential man’s drink, the notion is gradually changing as women from the cosmopolitan crowd are now increasingly enjoying their whiskey-based cocktails.

“It is a concept here that if you are man you need to drink something which is dark in spirit, and if women then drinking lighter version. But it is changing, especially among new consumers who travel a lot,” bartender and mixologist Yangdup Lama told IANS on the sidelines of the “Great American Whiskey Experience” held recently at Q-LA restaurant in the national capital.

A similar myth that persists is that a cocktail is a woman’s drink.

“The misconception about cocktails is only in this part of the world. A cocktail is not about a man or a woman, it is purely based on taste; it’s all about flavours. Woman might have a preference for certain kind of flavours like chocolate, cream or strawberries whereas men are more inclined towards darker spirits,” he added.

And the mixologist suggested that American whiskeys, being smooth and high in spirit, provide the perfect blend to cocktails and can be enjoyed by both men and women.

Lama created some soothing drinks like Mint Julep, Manhattan, Whiskey Sour, Old Fashioned, The Ginger Baker and Spiced Boulevardier and gave the whiskey some twists and turns to its flavours, delivering an exotic range of cocktails at the event.

Organised by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States and supported by the US Department of Agriculture, the event was designed to showcase the mixability and versatility of American whiskeys so that participants could compare classic American cocktails such as the Manhattan and Old Fashioned, made with Bourbon and Rye whiskeys respectively.

American whiskey, largely different from that of Scotch and Irish whiskey is largely divided into three styles — Bourbon, Tennessee and America Rye whiskey — and uses corn and rye as main ingredients in the making. “A lot of science is involved in the processing of the American whiskeys. From its making to storing in barrels, it a long process and more interactive sessions with people are needed,” Lama elaborated.

So, in a country like ours where whiskey is casually referred to as the “Patiala peg”, how can American whiskeys make a cut in the market?

“People here drink the ‘desi’ whiskeys not because they want to enjoy a drink but want to consume more alcohol. So, if you are looking for a smooth brand of whiskey nothing can beat the American ones, especially if choosing cocktails,” Lama, who is also the American Whiskey Ambassador, pointed out.

Talking about latest trends, the mixologist noted that well-blended, dark spirit whiskeys, turned into good cocktails have been ruling the bar counters in the recent months.

“Also, restaurants and pubs are looking for smart and fast bartenders and mixologists and this has given a boost to the profession,” he said.

Lama’s tip for enjoying your tipple in this summer: “Go for light drinks and put lots of ice in whiskey to keep it cool.”



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