Not anymore. Many of Mumbai’s burgeoning party-goers (and party-throwers) are tired of the regular drill and are finding newer ways to, well, raise the bar. They’re holding competitions for creative cocktails, organising crazy drinking games and throwing in some drama to make happy hours at home, happier.
It’s just potluck, but with booze. Each guest brings one kind of creative shot, in enough quantities so everyone can try everything, and the most inventive shots get prizes. The Arora sisters (names changed), hosted the first edition of the shotluck in July 2012, a party that was such a hit that they had another one in February, and plan to make into an annual tradition. They gave different themes to each room in their flat, and asked friends to bring shots that fit. One room was called ‘All That Glitters’, for classy, western drinks. ‘Jaise Daaru Desi’ was for vodka-chai shots and rum-and-paan mixes. The third room for ‘Non-Conformist’ shots, was where undecided drinks could happily go.
Even with 38 kinds of shots for 50 people (about 1,900 glasses), the Aroras say the party didn’t go out of control. “We asked everyone to make their shots diluted, so a person could try them all without getting sloshed,” says Zara Arora. “It was more about the novelty than alcohol. Everyone was super excited. People would call us with their ideas before the party and ask ‘Do you think this shot is good enough to win?’”
One of the winning entries ‘Magic Pop’ shot, expected you to put the crackling candy on your tongue, then pour vodka into your mouth; ‘Boozy Brownies’ had dark chocolate and whiskey; ‘Blizzard Nemo’ had frozen cubes of Malibu, coconut rum and pineapple juice; ‘The Aphrodisiac’ had rum-soaked strawberries, chocolate and edible glitter.
“Some are tied to current events to make them funny,” says Arora. “For the July version, which was when ACP Dhoble was cracking down on partying, someone brought a cocktail mix of four kinds of transparent alcohol called the ‘Fooling Dhoble’ shot. So if he decides to visit, we can pretend it’s water.”
Manitt Shah, 24, who helped the Aroras come up with the shotluck idea, has also had similar potluck parties with cocktails. Each person brings one kind of alcohol, one fruit and one juice box. You pick one of each at random, and make a cocktail. “I’d also love to have a ‘Maltluck’ party, for which everyone brings different single-malt tasters,” Shah says.
With strings attached
Covalence, which hosts networking events, recently had a party where each guest was given two strings of orange beads. By the end of the night, the person with the most beads would win prizes and bragging rights.
“Not only do you have to hold on to your strings, but you have to convince others to give theirs to you,” says Nicky Ramnani, 29-year-old diamond jeweller. “This led to a full night of drinking competitions and other games. I thought this was a good idea, especially for an event where you don’t know many people. It broke the ice and was fun.”
Chugging along Binny Dhadwal delivers diluted drinks in unexpected ways to make parties fun
To add more flair to their parties, many people are also hiring professional bartenders. Binny Dhadwal, who runs a bartending school called Flaming Trio, says the orders have been pouring in for both house parties and wedding functions. “For house parties, we experiment with the cocktails using ingredients around the house – salsa, pickles, jam, anything. People are open to trying wacky recipes now, and love experimenting,” he says.
Dhadwal has used hollowed fruit, syringes, even blood pressure pumps attached to pipes to serve drinks. “Petrol pump pipes make great bongs, too,” he says. “Since there are two nozzles, two people can glug a shot at the same time. All of this is diluted alcohol, though, more for the drama than the high.”
Look ma, no glasses
Take alcohol out of its traditional glass-and-bottle format and you’ll have guests queuing up to try these ‘drinks’. At a recent party for the 24-year-old brother of Jyoti Lalwani, they served vodka ice golas and pani puri. “It was a summer afternoon, and everyone was excited about a gola that was partly vodka!” she says. “We had all the traditional flavours, just infused with alcohol and served on a stick with chaat masala. Vodka pani puri tastes yum.”
Pee and pay
The Little Door, Andheri, has a ‘Bladder burst’ challenge every day from 6-9pm. Unlimited beer for R397 if you can hold your bladder for three hours. If you pee, you have to pay for every subsequent beer
From HT Brunch, March 31
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