A good cocktail, whether an Anarkali or James Bond's Classic Dry Martini, is worth a million on the summer menu. If you want to get high on cocktail wisdom, here's a new manual to leaf through. "To shake or to stir, Ian Fleming's super spy James Bond worked wonders in taking the Classic Dry Martini to the tables of the discerning the world over," says
The Tulleeho Book of Cocktails
"But purist camps are sharply divided over whether the drink should be shaken or stirred. Some claim that shaking the gin martini bruises the delicate aromatic ingredients making it too heavy while others think that shaking helps dissolve the vermouth better giving the drink a less oily feel."
"Frankly, very few can tell the difference," says the book.
The famous cocktail is a blend of gin and vermouth which is stirred gently until the sides of the shakers grow very cold. It is then strained into a well-chilled cocktail glass. A single or speared olive is put immediately into the glass and serve.
Tulleeho Inc is a leading provider of beverage training and wine education in India. Its new book has quite a range, from the common to the bizarre.
For ginger fans, there is cocktail Anarkali. A contemporary Tulleeho special, Anarkali is a smooth crush of grapes, orange peel, fresh ginger and sugar syrup in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, add gin, shake and double-strain into a chilled rocks glass.
Or how about a Singapore Sling? The "Ladies Special Sling" - as it is known - was invented by a bartender at the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel in Singapore. The editor and compilers of Tulleeho recommend an international variation of the Sling that can suit any occasion.
The sling uses London Dry Gin, cherry liquor, Grenadine Syrup, Angostura syrup, soda, ice and maraschino cherry as its basic ingredients. Add all these except the bitters and the soda to the glass filled with ice. Stir, top with soda and a dash of bitters. Garnish with cherry.
Offering gems of liquor wisdom, Tulleeho Inc says the magic wand to a rocking party or a meaningful adda at home is a well-stocked bar.
Some argue that a bottle of grog and good company are enough to make a home bar; but a little amount of time, knowledge and experience can help one customise the home bar for creative cocktails and some more fun.
Here is a list. Vodka - few good sized bottles around, including a flavoured one, tequila - a Jose Cuero Blanco (white) or Oro (gold) for making cocktails, gin, rum, whiskey, brandy, liqeurs, beer, wine and vermouth are some of the must-have in the cabinet. Keep the juices (fruits) and the mixers chilled.
Refrigerate garnishes or keep them on ice and use a plastic sheet under a cloth to protect the precious bar counter.
Ice is an overlooked but important part of a cocktail, says Tulleeho Inc. Make ice at home and never use a glass as an ice scoop. The glass might shatter and mingle with the drink. And make sure to serve the right drinks in the right glasses.
The toughest cocktail exercise is mixing, for it involves a flair for flavours and some measure of imagination. The first thing is to understand the ingredients, the book says. Try to imagine which ones will taste good when mixed.
Here is a lowdown for the perfect cocktail:
* Practice makes art picture perfect.
* Do not stir or shake a drink containing carbonated water. It will turn flat.
* When you are making a highball, fill the glass two-third with ice, then add the alcohol followed by the mixer.
* When you are making a cocktail with a shaker, fill it half way with cubed ice for a good chill. Smaller chunks of ice melt quickly and dilute the drink.
* Unless you are well-versed in free pouring, use a standardised measure to portion out cocktail ingredients.
Edited by Rayna Jhaveri and compiled by P. Venkatesh, Vikram Achanta and Krishna Nagaraj of Tulleeho Inc, the book covers almost every aspect of mixology - the vital art of cocktail making - with nearly 100 blends, both
and foreign, to rise up to every occasion.