CITY OF GIN
We’re perched on a bar stool at the capital’s newest concept restaurant, Comorin. There’s a new drink in town that’s replaced the likes of wine and whisky, it’s gin.
A drink rooted in our past, gin became the accidental beverage of choice during the colonial era. It was used by British soldiers to better the bitter taste of quinine, a precautionary antimalarial remedy consumed in exotic faraway lands. In an effort to make the concoction more palatable, "Indian Tonic Water" was introduced to accompany the soldier's supply of London Dry Gin.
"As we sip on ambrosial cocktails, we brew over the homecoming of the classic G & T."
Drawn to the play on words G & T(ea), it was inevitable that we would combine our passion for tea with gin. We've been experimenting with the two ingredients at our various No. 3 Clive Road launches and master classes over the last three years. And now we explore the city's new fascination with gin a little further.
Fun fact: gin's origins lie in vodka! So if you've ever switched over from vodka to gin, think again. Gin is derived through a distillation process combining vodka and natural botanicals, most popularly juniper berries.
"What was once known to be a medicinal decoction, has today turned into the Belle of the bar, the Gin & Tonic."
"Like gin, the art of blending No. 3 Clive Road teas itself requires a careful balance of locally sourced ingredients in order to strike the right flavours and maintain consistency."
Each batch of our tea goes through a process of carefully blending ingredients, testing different combinations and final tastings. Picking the best ingredients to complement the base tea is a process of trial and error.
With experimental cocktails quickly becoming the rage in India, we were curious to see what Comorin had to offer. Sous vide is a cooking technique that involves food being placed inside a plastic or glass pouch and steeped into water that is usually between 55 to 60 *C. This ensures the ingredients are cooked evenly without losing any moisture. Mixologist Varun Sharma uses the sous vide technique to greet us with Gin X Chamomile & Lemon and Gin X Rose & Hibiscus cocktails.
"We now find ourselves at Comorin’s new sous vide bar where the art of blending is taken up a notch."
Our own experimentations with Gin & T(ea) in the capital city have led us to trade our teacups for tumblers. Our Kashmiri Kahwa is infused with gin at Juniper Bar, an exclusive gin bar at Andaz New Delhi and served in their Floralia cocktail. NicoCaara at the Chanakya serves our Kangra Thyme, a cocktail with grapefruit gin, Kangra black tea and thyme. We're enjoying our tea being brought out of the home and to the bars we love.
"It’s the era of the ‘goldies’, the age of double denim, musicals and polaroids, bringing back traditions with a modern sensibility. The same way, we’ve brought tea from our bedsides to our bars, from sunrise to after sunset."
Tea for thought - could gin be your cup of tea?
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ARTICLE INFORMATION & CREDITS
Published January 2019
Authored by Paloumi Das