No more mojitos! It’s amazing how this one cocktail had captured the imagination of the entire country. Gone are the days (not completely, but still) when drink preferences were as simple as Old Monk & Coke. Maybe we had a surplus of lime and mint; the rum certainly wasn’t lacking, and while nobody was watching, Mojitos took over every bar menu, every pre-wedding celebration and every mid-week casual dining foray. So it’s with some relief that I greeted the new breed of mixologists, who take our cocktails rather seriously. The mix of academy and creativity has been so potent that none of the bar-twirling trickery, which would have done Tom Cruise of a certain generation very proud, need be on parade. Cocktails now take on the flavor of the varied establishments where they’re found; choices aren’t as simple as choosing between shaken and stirred. That’s not such a bad thing, after all!
Speakeasy Cocktails & Dreams
I had to kick off this list with Cocktails & Dreams. If you’re looking for credentials, the man behind the bar runs a Mixology Academy and is a published authority on the fine art of cocktails. Or you could take the easy way out and blindly order the gingerbread syrup based Foghorn – because, you know, alcohol and all things Christmassy go so well together.
Originally started as a Prohibition era speakeasy, it’s now a known secret that this bungalow-style bar serves up some of the best cocktails in town. We’re not sure 1920s America had the luxury of Elderflower Bellinis, but who’s complaining? If you want to stay true to the era, there’s always an Old Fashioned.
This bar gets playful with its cocktail list. They monkey around with classic Indian flavors that are poster children for refreshments, and introduce twists (not just of the garnish kind.) It works. The Mangaa is made with Aam Panna, a traditional cooling mango drink to keep us out of trouble in the summers – with vodka, sweet lime, cumin and salt. It really does come together!
Sky Bar, Kylin
Like every respectable big city, we’ve got to have a Sky Bar too! Ours comes with pretty white tents on a breezy terrace and a brilliant Asian specialty, while staying in step with its global namesakes through its curation of contemporary electronic music. The Wasabi Martini has gotten more than its 15 minutes of fame; if you’re looking for the underdog that’ll come out fighting, try the lesser known martini with lychee, limocello and lime leaf.
Uzuri Deck and Dining
If you didn’t get beyond the first page of the drinks list, you’d be just fine. Uzuri shows quiet confidence with its delicate infusion of Tanqueray with fresh basil, and gets progressively bolder with every flip of the page. The Sous Vide Infused Bourbon Toddy with triple sec, mandarin and cloves is quite a mouthful. Until you’ve quaffed it down anyway.