Alok Prakash Singh loves to mix his cocktails with spices and fruits. Singh, assistant bar manager of Downstairs, the bar in Delhi’s Bistro Lounge, Spoons, says: “The ladies prefer Mojitos and Martinis and I serve them with a twist.” So expect his cocktails to have muddled fruits or veggies like cucumber in them. He also likes to blend the Martinis rather than shaking or stirring them.
Singh graduated from the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering and Nutrition, Calcutta, in 2008 and started his career with Hotel Clark Shiraz Agra. After six months, he joined the Punjab Grill in Delhi where he learnt tricks of the bartending trade. He moved to Downstairs in 2010. Singh says: “Tequila shots and fruit cocktails are fast sellers. I like to pep up the drinks with doses of crushed pepper and green chillies.”
He shares three of his signature recipes.
Ingredients 4-5 slices cucumber Juice of half a lime ½tsp sugar 2 fresh mint leaves, torn up A shaker half-filled with ice 44ml vodka A cucumber slice for garnish
Method Muddle the slices of cucumber, lime juice, sugar, mint leaves in a cocktail shaker until it’s a sloppy mush. Add the ice and the vodka and shake really hard until most of the ice has broken down. Strain the mixture into the glass and garnish with an additional slice of cucumber.
Ingredients 2tbs brown sugar 2tbs fresh lime juice 12 mint leaves ¼ pomegranate 5 chunks of sweet lime 60ml cranberry juice Crushed ice 45ml vodka Mint leaves and pomegranate for garnish
Method Muddle the brown sugar, lime juice, sweet lime chunks and cranberry juice together. Add the ice and vodka to the mixture and pour into the glass. Garnish with pomegranate and mint leaves.
Ingredients 15ml Blue Curaçao 15ml lime juice 60ml litchi juice A shaker half-filled with ice 15ml tequila A sweet lime to garnish
Method Mix all the ingredients and shake them well in a cocktail shaker. Strain into the glass and garnish with the sweet lime.
One for the road
Curaçao is a liqueur flavoured with the dried peel of laraha, a citrus fruit resembling oranges. The liqueur is generally bitter and has an orange-like flavour to it. It is naturally colourless but is given an artificial colouring, commonly blue or orange, to lend an exotic appearance to cocktails prepared with it.