British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is currently preaching it in American schools, while US First Lady Michelle Obama set an example for the fast food nation by planting a kitchen garden on the lawns of the White House. These are merely two instances in the growing call globally for a shift from preserved, frozen or packaged food to locally produced, fresh, organic produce. And the good news is that it isn’t confined to kitchens.
At bars across the US and Europe, ‘fresh’ has become the new mantra. Those multi-coloured bottles of artificial flavourings and juices in tetrapacks have given way to fresh fruit purees and locally sourced ingredients.What is exciting to note is that the same trend has slowly but steadily percolated into Indian bars. Not all have succumbed to it, of course, but there are enough in number in Delhi to rightfully term it a mini-revolution.
Rick’s, for example, leads the pack with a host of drinks made with fresh, seasonal produce. Their definition of fresh has even translated into some very unique cocktails made with gooseberry, lavender, kokum and even ashwagandha (Indian ginseng). Paraphrasing Rick’s’ bar manager: why look outside when we have so many ingredients in our backyard waiting to be experimented with?
It’s the same at The Park’s two bars, Aqua and Aura. In place of, say, raspberry of strawberry syrups, bartenders are using freshly made fruit purees. Every season brings with it a cocktail menu featuring seasonal fruits and vegetables. “More and more people are appreciating natural products,” informs Debjeet Banerjee, associate FB manager at the hotel. Yes, it is indeed a welcome change to sip on a fresh-from-the-garden gooseberry highball instead of one of those abominable blue curacao drinks.