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Paired – Cocktails & Malvani Food Festival


Husband has been out travelling weeks long at a stretch. Complaining about the rich hotel food. At least quality was a check in the 5 star property, but even the diet food would contain huge amounts of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. How much can a 30 something take in on a daily basis?

I start this article with a lot of personal rant. It’s no fun keeping away from home and home cooked fresh simple food. We realised it the hard way! And then, Sofitel decided to do something about it. It created a menu for the very first time that was curated by 2 homemakers, to be served in the Pondicherry café. I figured, it couldn’t have come in a better time as this. Being one of the two luxury hotels situated in a busy business park; it was a great initiative. It made perfect sense in my head as this would mean 2 things- foreign guests would be fortunate enough to taste authentic Indian food, while the Indian guests missing ghar ka khana would be able to taste that as well. I am all in for this concept by a business hotel of this virtue. And I hope many more such hotels; especially the one my husband has perched himself in, should as well.

I went on a busy Saturday of the Malvani Food Festival, and saw a jam packed café. The ladies who curated the menu were sweet, polite and quite proud of their achievement. The smiling chef who got this idea and helped them with this rather impressive feat was beside himself with joy. The food was done exactly as the ladies liked; and after tasting, I knew they liked their vegetables more than the meats. It was simple yet hot and rather tasty. All in all a great evening spent.

But I went there with an agenda. To find the perfect pairing cocktail to the awesome malvani spread that we ate. The newly appointed star sommelier, Sagar Nath; took it as a challenge, and devised three perfect cocktails for the evening which went awesome with the spicy fare as the malvani food boasts of. He kept the flavours clean, sweet and spicy together. These drinks will go very well with any of our Indian cuisines, especially the dishes with heavy amounts of coconut and spices.

here Pineapple-Velchi Martini

  • 45 ml ketel one (vodka)
  • 3 pcs of cardamom crushed
  • 10 to 12 fresh pineapple pieces
  • Muddle the crushed cardamom and pineapple well. Top it with ice and shake well.
  • Pour the vodka in a chilled rimmed martini glass. Double strain the muddled mix in the glass.

Stir and serve!

Was perfectly paired with the spicy vegetarian food that was served. The cardamom (velchi) was a wonderful addition and complimented the flavours of the food well. And the addition of sweet pineapple cut down on the hot quotient of the food pretty well. This cocktail would pair well with Punjabi hot tandoori kababs or spicy goan sausages as well.

Rum Zuniper

  • 45 ml Dark Rum
  • 15 ml Amaretto
  • 10 ml Simple Syrup
  • 15 ml fresh lime
  • 1 hot green chilly slit, depending on the hotness-the seeds could be removed.
  • Muddle half the chilly in a shaker and add all the rest of the ingredients in.
  • Shake well and serve on the rocks, decorated with the other half of the chilly.

This goes well with Puri/Wade/Luchi and red meat curry; a combination that Indians love from the bottom of their hearts. It’s a warm hearty drink on ice, served to chill your palettes. The sweetness can be adjusted according to taste.

Espresso shots

  • 1 shot of espresso coffee
  • 45 ml Gin
  • 15 ml chocolate syrup
  • Put all things in a shaker full of ice, and shake it well.  
  • Serve in a chilled sherry glass.

What a perfect way to end your rather heavy and spicy Indian dinner. Who could have thought gin could be transformed into a liqueur so well.

All these cocktails would be a great addition to your Indian themed Christmas parties. Cheers!!

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