Sit back, relax and feel ‘welcomed’ with a drink!
Walk into a hotel and what’s the first thing you are offered? A broad smile? Yes, of course. Plus, a signature sip that immediately lulls you into vacation mode and gives you an idea of what the hotel has in store. What if you could stir up a welcome drink as cool as these for your guest at home, or simply pamper yourself with one on a summer afternoon? t2 went on a trail to bring you some star sip secrets…
Jasmine Gondhoraj @ JW Marriott Kolkata
Citrusy with some sweet notes, this drink could be an instant pick-me-up on a sultry summer day. Mix chunks of gondhoraj lebu, sugar syrup, chilled jasmine tea, litchi and lemon juice; muddle them together and garnish with a gondhoraj slice.
“We offer guests a traditional Bengali welcome on arrival. Jui phool (jasmine) and gondhoraj are synonymous with Bengali tradition, alongside being very aromatic and refreshing,” said Anette Paaes, the hotel’s guest relations manager.
Bengal Er Blend @ ITC Sonar
In summer, you can’t really stay away from this delicious drink. Tender coconut water is mixed with khus syrup and rose water and presented in the daab shell, with a bamboo straw. Next time a guest comes in, serve this thirst quencher wrapped with betel leaves and see the smile on their face.
“Bengal Er Blend combines fresh and local ingredients, is served with a homegrown bamboo straw, and it’s a tribute to our beautiful region,” said Mathew Lepcha, beverage manager.
Strawberry Blossom @ The Lalit Great Eastern
A colour that appeals and a taste that spells summer — this drink is easy to make. Get some strawberry crush, add freshly squeezed lime juice, sparkling water and tonic water. Garnish with fresh fruits.
“Welcome drinks are a point of connect with the guests. They play a very important role in celebrations and social events as well. We design them based on season, practicality and personal preferences,” said Sudip Sinha, the hotel’s F&B manager.
Fresh and Fruity @ Swissotel Kolkata Neotia Vista
Take a handful of peaches, sweet and sour limes, sugar, mint leaves and strawberry puree; shake them together, pour it into a glass and top it up with some sparkling water — you have your own glass of the sweet and tangy welcome drink.
“We wanted something refreshing for the summer months and this is exactly that. Fruits like peach and strawberry are high on antioxidants, making them perfect ingredients for a welcome drink,” said Kishore, the hotel’s beverage manager.
Magic Carpet Ride @ Holiday Inn Kolkata Airport
Eye-catching and theatrical, this welcome drink combines hibiscus tea, lemonade, refined mint syrup and lime juice. The name goes with the look of the sip, which has a sweet and sour flavour.
“We wanted to use organic ingredients and come up with something that appeals to the guests not just for taste and flavour but also for its colour and presentation. The red concoction is so appealing,” said Suman Chakraborty, the hotel’s F&B director.
Iced Lemon Darjeeling Tea @ The Oberoi Grand
While Darjeeling tea lends the beautiful hue, lemon zest and juice, sugar and chilled mineral water add the freshness.
“Guests at The Oberoi Grand are met on arrival with a classic and refreshing welcome drink, an amalgam of history, heritage and health. Darjeeling tea has a distinctive, natural aroma and taste, which when blended with a bit of lemon and sugar, becomes a classic refresher for the weary traveller. It is packed with antioxidants and vitamin C and is an immediate mood-lifter,” said Sumit Joshi, general manager.
Aam Panna @ The Park
What’s summer without a touch of mangoes? Made with the season’s favourite fruit, this welcome drink packs in raw mango pulp, rock salt, sugar syrup, lime juice, jeera powder and Sprite. Buy some green mangoes and try it at home to perk up.
“With our welcome drink, we want to make our guests feel comfortable right from the time they check in. It’s the first step in making guests feel at home,” said Beas Banerjee, associate director, front office.
Signature Welcome Drink @ Taj Bengal
This summer cooler blends in the freshness of gondhoraj lemon and sugarcane juice, and has a peachy hue. Call your friends over, stream your favourite series and sip on. “To welcome guests, we decided to delight them with fresh, local ingredients and add a little bit of drama,” said Afzal Khan, F&B director.
Ginger Rock Salt Cooler @ Hyatt Regency Kolkata
Made with ginger squash, rock salt, ice cubes, soda and Coke, this drink is an instant energiser, leaving you rejuvenated. You can make the ginger squash at home by boiling ginger and then squeezing the juice out of it. Keep the juice in the fridge and add rock salt, lime juice and sugar syrup.
“Ginger has medicinal properties and rock salt, too, is very good for digestion. It is a very refreshing drink and our most popular mocktail. What better way to welcome our guests!” said Birgit Holm, general manager.
Cucumber Mojito @ Hotel Hindusthan International
Soothing to the eye and the tummy, this cool offering from The HHI gives you the freshness of cucumber pulp, lemon juice and crushed mint leaves, stirred with sugar syrup, soda and crushed ice… the more the better! One gulp after a day out in the scorching sun and you get a beach feel.
“Welcoming guests with amenities is very much a part of our culture. And hence, a welcome drink. We have a wide range of such drinks for our guests,” said Arnab Biswas, senior executive, F&B, Mythh.
Gondhoraj Julep @ Novotel Kolkata Hotel & Residences
Gondhoraj lebu is something you can’t go wrong with. Here’s another welcome drink with Bengal’s favourite lemon. Made with pineapple juice, agave syrup, Tabasco and gondhoraj juice, Gondhoraj Julep is fragrant and mild yet kicks a punch.
“This gondhoraj lebu drink works as a cooler in summer and is also connected to the Bengali culture. We keep changing the welcome drinks from time to time... flavour trends play a major role in deciding the drink,” said Abhishek Pani, the hotel’s F&B director.
Green Apple and Cinnamon Elixir @ The Westin Kolkata Rajarhat
Going with its theme of wellness, The Westin offers “elixir water” to its guests. Simple and detoxifying, this welcome drink has green apple and cinnamon soaked in water overnight. You can make it at home and keep sipping to feel refreshed.
“With this drink, what we do is we take water and a fragrant ingredient. Green apple is good for summer because it has properties that are beneficial when we sweat a lot. It’s neither a supplement nor an energy drink, it replaces the lost vitamins in your system. But you should keep in mind not to keep the water for more than an hour as the fruit will start getting oxidised,” said executive chef Vikash Prasad.
Aam-Khejurer Sharbat and Gondhoraj Ghol @ The Gateway Hotel
Refreshing with a touch of tradition, these welcome drinks are a reflection of the hotel’s Epar Bangla-meets-Opar Bangla theme. The Gondhoraj Ghol is a soul soother thanks to ingredients such as curd, chilled water, sugar, a pinch of salt and gondhoraj lebu. The Aam-Khejurer Sharbat is a delish sip with a sweet aftertaste, made with curd, squeezed and strained mango pulp, sugar and finely chopped dates.
“The quintessential experience here always begins with a welcome drink. The signature refreshing drink not only adds to the jazz and prepares the guests about what to expect but also lifts their mood,” said Deep Mitra Thakur, the hotel’s executive chef.
Text: Nandini Ganguly
Pictures: Arnab Mondal, Pabitra Das, Rashbehari Das