Shaken or stirred, the king of fruits is ruling the world of cocktails this summer. Served in cocktails with a twist, mangoes either sliced or diced or slushed or even frozen, are the in thing at pubs, bars and eateries.
"From refreshing drinks to sweet tangy desserts, from the main course dishes to salads, mango makes up for each one. Being a seasonal fruit, it is also cost effective and provides ease in accessibility," says Vikrant Batra, owner of Cafe Delhi Heights.
In the scorching summer heat, these mango-based coolers, available between Rs.300 and Rs.550 on an average, are turning out to be one of the most refreshing ways to stay cool.
"Be it the chilled mango-based cocktails or mouth-watering pulp cuisine, it is the choice of many cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants to enhance their sales and also to elevate the guest experience," says Sandip Chatterjee, food and beverage manager, Upper Deck Bar of Mumbai-based The Resort Hotel.
Mango is also a highly preferred fruit for drink lovers as it gets well-balanced with alcohol and the citric taste of the fruit gives out a refreshing feel, says Sanjay Kumar, executive chef of Delhi's Tex-Mex restaurant Rodeo.
"Mango-based cocktails are very refreshing to beat the torrid heat, and yet it gives you a taste that is not overpowering at all. It is one of the most used ingredients to prepare any dish or beverage in the summer and one that appeals to the customer the most," according to Kumar.
Rodeo, in fact, has launched a special Mango menu and are serving special cocktails like Mango Margarita and Mango Daiquiri at just Rs.395 exclusive of taxes.
There's also a Cafe Immigrant, which has a Thai lemongrass and mango chaas, spiked with vodka.
"The lemongrass keeps the guests refreshed as well as mango keeps the tantalising fruity flavour," says Umesh Kapoor, consultant chef, Cafe Immigrant.
Yasheel and Sourav, co-owners of south Delhi's Pamphilos Kitchen and Bar, which stirs up Mango Sangria, Mango Kentucky, Mexican Cocktail Mango Agua Fresca and Mango Martini, explains that "when used in its raw form, a mango cocktail is light and refreshing. It's for those who like their drinks with a fair bit of tang."
"On the other hand, using the ripened variety leads to drinks that are smoother and creamier in texture, with the overarching flavour of sweetness."
In India, each state boasts of different varieties of mangoes -- Alphonsos, Chausa, Langda and Dasheri -- and each lends a unique flavour.
"From the Dasheri to the Langda, all have an individual hint of flavour to it. It is a delight to serve what the customers want in such a rich fashion that it sounds like a festival in itself," said Ashish Singh, executive chef, Cafe Terminus1.
The drinks are seemingly more popular among ladies, who prefer the sweet and tingling taste of ripe mangoes on their palette, according to Manoj Pawar, bar captain of West Delhi-based Sufiaana, which has a Litchi Aam Panna to help customers beat the heat.
Apart from the flavour, the king of the fruit has a lot of health benefits too. Either having it in a drink or just a bowl full of the fruit can be beneficial.
"The sweet, juicy tropical fruit adds versatility to any dish in addition to a great many health benefits such as lowering cholesterol, aiding digestion and nourishing the skin and hair," says Jason Mendonsa, assistant bar manager, blueFROG.