With new watering holes opening in town, every second and everyone thronging towards them like thirsty souls, new cocktails at Arola sounded like a fresh piece of news to us. Arola which is not only know for its delicious Spanish cuisine, is also known as India’s first gin bar. They have a massive collection of gins that hail from all parts of the world, and their talented head mixologist, Benson Varghese, who will serve them to you in the most creative manner.
The recipes crafted by him exhibit his immense knowledge about the spirits he serves. Every bottle, every name has a story. From breaking to verifying various myths about gins, its origin and many other fun facts, Benson made our tasting a fun affair.
We must have tasted about three four of these new cocktails, but the manner in which they were concocted was more intriguing than the final product itself. It was a delight to watch Benson work his magic, while he talked to us about the history of Gin.
Before we start, the Foodie would like to mention how much she loves those salted olives they serve at the bar. One could make a meal out of those things, you know?
Alrite, so first up was The Bliss. It comprises of Green Apple juice, Vodka and sprigs of burnt rosemary.
The rosemary is infused into the Vodka by flaming it. There is a sweet and sour syrup that is added but surprisingly the drink is not too sweet. From the juice to the syrup, Benson stated how much importance is given to each ingredient put in any cocktail. Most of their juices are made in-house, except for apple maybe?
On sipping it, we realized how refreshing the drink was. The green apple juice added a lot of freshness to the drink and we could sense rosemary’s subtle presence in it. The drink was not too boozy and over all had a fruity fresh taste.
Next up was the Belleza de amor.. an interesting concoction with an Indian twist. This one had Jasmine Tea infused Gin, gulkand, egg white and rose syrup. We were told how the bar tenders painstakingly go through the process of infusing their Tanqueray with Jasmine Tea. The process is a long one as it takes around a month to get this done. A time sensitive process, this, could go wrong if kept for any longer. Noone wants strong flavours. Coming from someone who over-brewed her tea this morning, and trust me it wasn’t a pleasant affair.
Anyho, he went onto mix this gin with gulkand which again is made in-house which rose petals. Layers of equal amounts rose petals and sugar results in this delicious rose petal jam also known as gulkand, which you must have tasted, at some point of time, in your meetha paan.
Gulkand, with gin. Hmm, we were just coming to terms with that when Benson tells us there is going to be egg-white added to that. Imagine that! Thankfully the Foodie has some past experience with Egg Nog and embraced the idea pretty quickly.
So how it does it taste? Well the taste as opposed to what we thought was rich and yum! We could taste the rosiness of the drink. The egg-white acted as a binding agent just like in cake-batter and did not interfere with the flavours at all. Not at all eggy, this drink was surprisingly a delicious one.
Already very impressed with the skills that were displayed in the previous drink we moved onto the next drink and also one of Foodie’s favourite of the lot the S3. This drink was a combination of (saffron infused? )Gin, topped up with Tonic water and topped with some delicious lemon sorbet.
This is more of dessert drink, but go ahead and have it any time of your meal. The drink is topped with pistachio flakes that give it, its Indian touch. The lemon sorbet and the drink complement each other, but make sure you compliment the bar tender for the drink and not just the sorbet, you’ll see an evident pout that’ll show up for not giving his preparation any attention :).
Next up was Panache a drink which was radically different from the previous one. Extremely simple with its composition. And light on the palate. This one consists of cucumber, curry leaves, lime juice, very little syrup, hence not too sweet. and of course Gin. The over all look was pretty simple. Very no-frills sort of drink. The addition of curry leaves lends it, its indian touch. The drink is refreshing and on the milder side, in terms of over all flavour. But the Foodie had found her two favourite from the lot. It had to be the Belleza de amor and S3.
Apart from skillfully creating these drinks, which are moderately priced, for the location, Benson told about how Gin originated in Europe and many other stories related to it. It’s quite alot of fun to listen to him as he patiently answers all your doubts about different spirits.
Dining at Arola is quite an experience. With a Michelin starred chef, the food at Arola is absolutely to die for, but the drinks aren’t too far behind. Go ahead and taste some of the finest new cocktails in town, because the Bombay Foodies are definitely going to go back for this!
Value For Money: N-A
(The Bombay Foodies had been invited to check out Arola New Cocktail menu. The staff and Chef knew of us coming but honest reviews have been given by the reviewers.)