It is so warm today I'm even slightly nauseated. I'm also sweating right through a cotton t-shirt and shorts, my hair is bundled up and out of the way, and yet, my neck is still damp. The cold water I pulled out of the fridge half an hour ago is now tepid, and I haven't managed to do anything all day except stay as still as possible in the hope that expending less energy will make me feel less hot. My only air conditioner is in the bedroom, and if I go into my nice dark cool bedroom, I will pass out and only wake up at some strange hour, like 10.45 pm or something, and then be awake all night. Not good.
So, in the hope of making myself feel cooler and, as a bonus, a post about alcohol on a dry day, I'm going to talk about cocktails. Actually, I'm going to talk about making cocktails, something I'm quite good at. I think, like most great chefs are great because they really like food, I really like drinking and so it figures that I have a small talent in that direction. But! Enough of the false modesty. Here are four recipes, borrowed from here and there, with large chunks of improvisation that I threw in to make them more palatable. All have been tested by a large audience (read: my friends) and have met with success. Remember to temper down or up depending on your taste range.
Also, here is how you salt a glass. It may seem stupid to have to write it down but so many drinks are RUINED because the salt rim is terrible. Take each glass, slice a half wedge (you don't want it to be drippy, just moist) and swipe the wedge around the rim of each glass. Put a tablespoon of salt on a saucer and sort of spread it around. Then take your glass, lemon-ed side down and do a quick rotate on the salt.
FIRST! The Compulsive Bloody Mary (I'm just going to go ahead and name all these drinks after me. What? Bars do it all the time.)
The trick here, something I picked up from a friend in Bombay (hi Rodrigo!) is to use tomato puree instead of juice. The advantages are many: a) it's cheaper; b) it goes a longer way; c) it's less sweet.
So, premix your tomato puree with cold water, one packet should make approximately three tall glasses or five short ones. Remember to keep tasting as you're pouring otherwise it'll be super diluted like mine were last week.
Once you're done making as much "juice" as you need, add spices: Tabasco (I make mine SUPER spicy), a couple of drops of Worcestershire sauce (optional, but gives it a nice tang, so add if you have it) and a sprinkling of black pepper. Also, ice.
In your salted glass, add a generous amount of vodka and ladle the mix you just made in. Rememeber the lemon you used to salt the glass? Squeeze that in too. Stir, slice a green chilli lengthwise and add for a garnish to the side of the glass. Ta-dah! Remember, a good Bloody Mary is one where you can't taste the liquor, so your guests should be nicely drunk at the end of one of these sessions.
SECOND! The Compulsive Guava- Chilli Mojito
I would have never thought about combining Old Monk with anything other than Coke, so I have another Bombay friend, Chrisann, to thank for that tip. Most mojitos use white rum, but I can't stand the stuff, so improvised with Old Monk. Also, I really don't like sweet drinks, so most of my favourites are somewhat spicy or have a salt rim. I've noticed, by extensive self testing, that my hangover is significantly less if I'm not all sugared up at the end of an evening. Therefore, less soft drinks, more juice and soda.
However, you don't want to be reminded of hangovers right now, one assumes. You want to drink! Let us proceed. You need another salted glass (I warned you), and in that, put about a fistful of shredded WASHED mint and about two sliced green chillis. Add Old Monk, top up the entire glass with ice and over that pour the guava juice. This is actually an excellently refreshing summer cocktail despite the fact that you may be looking at me askance about the green chilli. Trust me. It's awesome.
THIRD! The Compulsive Vodka Tadka
Which I really just shamelessly stole from a friend (who I don't think reads this blog, so I won't name), but added one slight change over her original. Still, all credit to her for creating it.
This is a slightly more involved recipe, in that there is much more chopping and grating to do, BUT, if you need to top people up, you don't have to chop and grate all over again.
So, CHOP a green chilli. (I really like green chillis. I don't even know why I'm apologising for it, but you probably think I'm obsessed. I even bought a green chilli plant a couple of days ago and it has its first fruit!)
GRATE a piece of ginger. (You need a fingernail full for each glass.)
And SALT a glass.
In salted glass, vodka, green chilli, ginger. Squeeze loads of lemon juice on there. Now, it's important not to put the ice in NOW, because the ginger will cause the soda to fizz and the glass to overflow, becoming all sticky. First fill the glass with a little Sprite and then fill the remainder of the glass with soda. Now add the ice. Ta-dah! Vodka-tadka. Best. Name. Ever.
And finally, a drink that does not require a salted glass or green chilli: The Compulsive Iced Tea.
This is less of a recipe and more of a combination that I stumbled upon. Nestea now sells their iced tea powder in packets at all the general stores. I buy peach. Put a generous tablespoon in a glass, stir with water, add vodka and ice. This is one of the only sweet summer drinks I can endure, so it goes in my recipe list.
Happy partying. Remember to drinks LOADS of water.