Vodka has come a long way from being a favoured drink among Russian oligarchs to becoming a go-to choice for teenagers in the club. Though it's usually preferred as shots; a quick way to 'get there' when you're out dancing, if you want to slow things down and enjoy vodka with an Indian twist, we've got you covered. Celebrate International Vodka Day with our curation of six homegrown vodka cocktails inspired by Indian flavours.
To prepare a refreshing Jal Jeera Mojito, start by mixing a teaspoon of ready-made Jal-jeera powder, typically comprised of roasted cumin, ginger, black pepper, mint, black salt, dried mango powder, and cayenne, with club soda. Enhance the flavour with a splash of citrus vodka for a zesty twist, and add a hint of sweet tamarind chutney. Garnish your mojito with fresh mint leaves, and serve it over ice for a delightful vodka cocktail that's bursting with Indian-inspired flavors.
The Indian Cosmopolitan, a creative twist on the classic cocktail, is the brainchild of Dhanya Samuel. This desi version replaces cranberry juice with the beloved South Asian summer favourite, Rooh Afza. To craft this drink, combine 15 ml Rooh Afza, 20 ml Triple Sec, 15 ml lemon juice, 15 ml orange juice, 15 ml sugar syrup, and 35 ml vodka in a cocktail shaker filled with ice cubes. Shake vigorously, then double-strain the mixture into a chilled cocktail glass. Finally, lightly rub the glass rim with an orange wedge and use it as a garnish, delivering a unique Indian flair to this cosmopolitan variation.
The Indian Summer cocktail, a specialty at Blue Frog in Mumbai, is a delightful blend of flavours perfect for a warm day. To make it, combine 60 ml vodka, 60 grams of fresh mangoes, 6-8 fresh mint leaves, 1 inch of ginger, 20 ml sweet and sour syrup, and 15 ml lime juice in a blender, along with a few ice cubes. Blend until all the ingredients are well combined. Pour the mixture into a margarita glass and serve it frozen, garnished with a sprig of fresh mint. This cocktail offers a refreshing taste of summer with a hint of Indian flair.
For a refreshing twist on the classic Indian lemonade, try the Vodka Shikanji. In a blender, combine the juice of 2 lemons, 2 cups of water, 1/4 cup of sugar, a pinch of salt & cuminpowder, 1/4 tsp of black pepper, 1/4 tsp of chaat masala, 30 ml of vodka, and 6-7 ice cubes. Blend until well combined, and strain if you prefer a smoother texture. Serve this zesty concoction with additional ice cubes for a cool and tangy vodka-infused drink. For a quicker version, simply add vodka to a pre-made shikanji mix and enjoy.
Vodka Aam Panna
Elevate the classic Indian summer cooler with a Vodka Aam Panna recipe by Chef Prem K Pogakula, Executive Sous Chef at The Imperial, New Delhi. Begin by boiling green mangoes in water and then peeling, deseeding, and mashing them. Combine the mango pulp with water, sugar, roasted cumin seeds, and salt in a deep bowl, whisking it thoroughly. Transfer the mixture to a glass, add 60 ml of vodka, and serve over ice for a refreshing twist on traditional aam panna. For a quicker option, simply mix vodka with store-bought aam panna, and serve it over ice for a delicious and spirited cooler.
Savour the coziness of winter with the Indian Winter cocktail, a creation by Sarah Deleon which features a cardamom honey simple syrup, made by combining equal parts honey and water, infused with cardamom pods as it cools to room temperature. The cocktail keeps it elegantly simple with vodka, lemon juice, and egg white, topped off with a dash of Angostura bitters and a solitary star anise. As you leisurely sip this warming concoction, the fragrant star anise complements the cardamom notes, making it a perfect choice to warm up those cold winter nights.