Cocktail premixes to gourmet appetizers, here is everything you need for a rocking house party!
If you’re itching to go out and dress up a little (who isn’t?), we say — why not create your own club experience at home? Apart from zero cover charges and the option to dance the night away in the comfort of your flip flops, here is a curated list of appetizers from new brands paired with luxurious cocktail premixes that make home bartending a breeze.
Da Bang Burgers
Chefs Vijayakumar Manikandan and Navin Prasad (of Chef’s M&N) have close to 50 years of experience in hospitality between them. So it’s no surprise that their gourmet burgers that offer you a bang for your buck have had the orders pouring in. We requested their Mexican Tequila burger with oodles of curiosity when chef Mani mentioned, “We soak our onion slices in tequila for this one!” With juicy patties that are made fresh just like the buns and a homemade secret sauce — we relish the attention to detail. Unfortunately, the nachos which are meant for a hint of crunch are quite soggy by the time they reach us. But this is quickly made up for the Signature Da Bang Drumsticks. Crisp on the outside and succulent within, these are marinated for 24 hours in a herb buttermilk marinade and then deep-fried with a special flour dust. Vegetarians who need a burger fix can choose from paneer, kidney bean and classic veggie options.
Price: INR 195 to INR 345.
Former banker Santhiya Subramaniam’s DIY ravioli kits have been making the rounds for a few months now. And we were curious to see if they lived up to the hype. With flavour combinations like Spinach and Roasted Quinoa stuffed with black pepper cream cheese and Kale and Sun-dried tomato tossed with basil pesto, this entirely vegetarian menu does not disappoint. The latter made with activated charcoal calls upon our curiosity even before we dig in. Santhiya (30) tells us, “After I got married, I quit my job and moved to Dubai — where I learnt the art of pasta making from my Italian neighbours.” We have one word for you Santhiya: Grazie! (thank you)
Price: INR 249 for ready-to-assemble ravioli and sauce. 15 to 18 pieces.
What happens when a business major and a finance student have to do a semester under lockdown? Fun brainstorming sessions over profit and loss. That’s what. Fortunately, for folks missing their weekly dose of pub hopping, Aayush Rattha and Yuvraj Sanjay Lulla’s inspired ‘be the bartender’ idea made it out of the classroom. With “a mission to deliver a luxurious cocktail experience to your doorstep” — this brand currently has a menu of seven pre-mixes. Premeasured portions in a glass jar (which doubles up as a shaker) and recommended alcohol pairings take the guesswork out of the process. “There is, of course, a theatrical component as you have to add your own alcohol, ice and shake the drink yourself,” Yuvraj tells us. Our favorites include The Sicilian (sweet with a perfumed blend of strawberry and dry Italian herbs with citric undertones), the Cucumber Basil Smash (smooth and refreshing) and The Log in the River (fresh oranges muddled with herbs and marmalade infused with a stick of cinnamon for added flavour). Garnishes like orange slices arrive alongside in classy black packaging, while shiny confetti in the box offers that hint of pizzazz that you might be missing for lack of party attire.
Price: INR 175 per drink, 250 to 300 ml. Best paired with vodka or gin. Minimum order of four required.
All night long!
Looking for a rocking playlist? Bengaluru-based DJ Ivan Nilkon has you covered all the way till the sun comes up. His Bedtime Stories set on Instagram live has him going non-stop between 11 pm to 6 am every Saturday, and has become a popular virtual destination ever since the lockdown began. Ivan who completed 28 years in the biz recently, shares, “This was something I began just to give myself comfort and relief from not doing anything, but now we have followers from all over the world,” he shares. Expect genres spanning Deep House, Latin and Techno. For retro vibes, you can catch him playing the best of the ’70s the 2000s. On Danceintv on Mixcloud. Monday to Thursday, 10 pm to midnight.
Cutlets for comfort
Philip Koshy found a unique stressbuster during the lockdown — making cutlets. The 33-year-old who has front office experience in hospitality, never thought he would be on the cooking side of it, like his mother and popular homebaker Sara Koshy. But comfort food is what we all seek during times like these. “As a little boy, cutlets in a bun was almost always my staple school lunch. There was usually a stock of cutlets in the freezer and for me,” he recalls. And now, he’s passing on the tradition with an old family recipe. These cutlets are fuss-free but hit the spot with a crisp coating of egg and breadcrumbs. Philip tells us he likes to keeps his cutlets simple — so their fillings shine through.
Price: INR 800 for chicken and INR 700 for tuna, for a batch of 18 cocktail cutlets. Delivery at an additional cost.
Nice on Ice
The mixologists from ITC Grand Chola have put together a menu of 16 beverages that are sure to work fabulously as is or up the ante as a delicious cocktail for a home bartending spree. Look out for distinct categories like slushes (we loved the tarty-sweet Berry Blast), juice-based (don’t miss the delicate Jasmine Blush) and coffee-based. One of our favourites is the Sunshine Frappe, a house-made Turmeric latte.
Price: INR 199 per serving, 220 ml. Pair with vodka, gin, rum or kahlua if you have a sweet tooth.
The Artisanal Kitchen
Mother of two, Hifaza Basheer (32) started her home-based café like many others during the lockdown. But one bite into her Chicken and Mushroom phyllo parcels — and we can tell that these baked goods are special. Instead of shredded filling ingredients, there is a sinful au gratin of chicken and mushroom, topped off with even more indulgence by a top layer of mozzarella. Also, when was the last time you saw a Pesto Prawn Pastry on a home baker menu? Judging from the expert pate brisee (pie crust), we can understand why when Hifaza mentions, “My friends and family have been urging me to sell my food for years.” Other novel offerings include Blueberry Streusel muffins, Japanese cotton cheesecakes and Hokkaido tarts. We tasted the latter with a sweet crust pastry filled with a sweet cheese cream and felt quite reluctant to share!
Price: INR 150 to INR 800.
Top photo credit: Kim Daniels on Unsplash