The new-found drink: Raise a toast with beer cocktails in Mumbai

Under a canopy of yellow fairy lights that throw a reflection on the white pebbles as a musician doles out soft jazz tunes, the mood is set for brunch. Bartender Manish Solanki has created a line of beer cocktails, marrying clove and coriander notes with the orangy finish of Hoegaarden. We try the first one, a crispy wheat beer with lychee. One sip and we are sold. We stop only when we try another variation with chamomile tea. The final frontier is a beer sangria with a mix of passion fruit, elderflower and chopped fruits.

"The Mexicans love their chilled beer in the warm weather, but they also popularised the Michelada [made with beer, lime juice, and assorted sauces and peppers], inspired by the Bloody Mary. Indians, of course, have long consumed the German-inspired Shandy, mixing lemonade with beer," says Solanki.

A beer cocktail is a concoction that carries mixed notes of mixers, other alcohol and ingredients, with beer dominating the taste. Last month, Bandra's Olive Bar & Kitchen hosted a brunch in collaboration with Hoegaarden. To match steps with the beer cocktails, executive chef Rishim Sachdeva created a menu executing his favourite techniques of fermenting, curing, cooking at low temperatures, flash cooking, smoking, pickling, etc. "For the brunch, we incorporated orange, coriander and wheat in the menu.

For a fried chicken, we soaked the meat in a 2 per cent salt and orange brine; the dressing had fermented coriander stalks for acidity and bitterness to cut through the sweetness from beetroot crumbs. The orange-cured snapper dish was served with kombu and bunito dashi to bring out the umami. To this, we added coriander oil to enhance its flavour profile. And finally, we glazed the fish with sweet-sour orange butter," says Sachdeva, adding that his focus was on ensuring the food did not fall flat in front of the fizzy drink. According to Binny Dhadwal, founder of Drinq Barmen & Academy, beer cocktails haven't quite found a fan following yet.

"Consumption of any cocktail is a trend that's barely a few years old in India. It's most likely beer lovers who will be the first to head to a bar and order a beer cocktail,"he says. To help you get ahead of the trend, we went drinking across bars to bring you the best beer cocktails to add to your bucket list.

Bourbon Beer SourThe deep, pungent notes of bourbon meet the exotic kaffir lime leaf, topped with wheat beer. A road lesstravelled, and distinctly different from any sour we have tried, this one should be savoured at leisure.Cost: Rs 550At: Dishkiyaoon, The Capital, Block BKC, Bandra Kurla Complex Road

Herbed BeerThis cocktail has the strong flavour of lager, with a light taste of apple. The ginger gives it a stronger effect and the cinnamon twist brings in some balance.Cost: Rs 275At: Lighthouse Cafe, Sunville Building, Love Grove Flyover, Siddharth Nagar, Worli

Thanda GaramA bartender prepares Thanda Garam at Tamasha. Pic/Shadab Khan

Not for the weak-hearted, this one has vodka, tequila, mint leaves, triple sec and green apple. If you are looking for a night to forget, this one will see you through. While the alcohol packs in a punch, the mint and green apple make it a fruity experience we are likely to repeat.Cost: Rs 695At: Tamasha, ground floor, Victoria House, Lower Parel

Whiskey SourA bartender making Jacks Whiskey Sour at Agent Jack, Andheri. Pic/Satej Shinde

We take a stiff classic Whiskey Sour lover to try this one. Local Kingfisher beer joins the purist glass, and the first sip is orange, whiskey and the crispy, bubbly familiar comfort of beer. The drink is downed, and all we get is a nod. Don't go looking for a classic experience here. Enjoy this version when you are looking for variety.Cost: Rs 420At: Agent Jacks Bar, DE Mall, Veera Desai Road, Andheri (West)

Lager PassionKetan Goail Singh prepares the Lager Passion at Brewbot Eatery and Pub Brewery. Pic/Tanvi Phondekar

Golden yellow and cloudy haze, this cocktail has it all — vodka, passion fruit puree, peach schnapps, lime, salt and paprika in a Hefeweizen craft beer (Floating Head). What you get is a base taste of a wheat malt profile with banana, peach and accents of clove. The vodka cuts the bitterness from the beer, making it an aromatic drink that is easily palatable.Cost: Rs 395At: Brewbot Eatery and Pub Brewery, off New Link Road, Andheri (West)

Kaapi Stout and Gin ZenWhen Navin Mittal, founder of Gateway Taproom. was in Prague, Czech Republic, three years ago — known for the highest per capita consumption of beer in the world, and as home to Pilsner — he tried a cocktail featuring a light and dark beer. "The malty sweet taste of dark combined with the crispy bitter of the light, offered the perfect balance. At Gateway, he offers a mean, frothy Kaapi Stout, spiked with the oatiness of Jim Beam bourbon. For those who want a lighter sip, the Gin Zen, which carries the natural taste of clove and banana, has a 30-ml shot of hard liquor.Cost: Gin Zen Rs 480; Kaapi Stout Rs 540At: Gateway Taproom, Godrej One, BKC

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