Tea and turmeric in your drink, gin over rum or whiskey, root to fruit ingredients instead of pre-made syrups—cocktail craft in India has evolved to have an identity of its own in the recent years. As bartenders get innovative with the serving, here’s our pick of six of the best cocktail bars in Delhi that need to be on your to-tipple list.
Passcode Only (PCO)
The bar that made the speakeasy concept a favourite in the capital continues to champion the cause of cocktails with its perfect renditions of classics such as Negroni, Elderflower Spritzer, and New York Sour. PCO also stirs up (or shake, to preference) tailor-made drinks as asked for by patrons. The 1920s Prohibition-era decor adds to both the mystique the space exudes and to the experience of sipping your poison in a basement, to which you gained access through a password.
Must-order: Whiskey drinker or not, they do a mean Old Fashioned.
Address: PCO, D-4, D-block Market, Vasant Vihar
Pandering to the ever-growing appreciation for gin, the all-day bar, Juniper, at Andaz hotel houses as many as 40 home-infused gins. They also do an in-house gin, Delhi Sapphire, a cheeky answer to Bombay Sapphire, which comes in a bottle as exquisite as the potion itself. While the 40 infusions cover the four major tastes amongst them — citrus, spice, herbs, and floral & fruity — you can also choose your flavours and create a bespoke cocktail at this casual-chic bar where communal tables allow for free flow of interaction.
Must-order: Don’t forget to get a swig of Vitality. This sweet and sassy tipple of chocolate gin, espresso, pistachios and egg whites is an apt choice whether you’re beginning or ending the day.
Address: Juniper, Andaz Delhi, Asset 1, Aerocity
Perch Wine & Coffee Bar
An all-day space, Perch is where you go when you’ve got both, breakfast and bar, on your planner. Their revamped cocktail menu showcases yet another set of meticulously created drinks, such as the sweet-with-a-sting Stone-fruit Spritzer (think plum infused vodka and wine) and the perky Forbidden Candy (gin, aperol, grapefruit, lime). The clean and sleek interiors allow sunlight to pour in (fret not, it turns to city lights by the night); pepper that with indoor plants and you’ve got a magnificent, hard-to-find-in-Delhi breathing space. Be it drunch, dinner, or some lone time with a book, a Perch cocktail promises to be a potent companion.
Must-order: Their Elder Tree with the combination of vodka and gin, freshness of lime and cucumber, and the fruitiness of elderflower can win over even veteran drinkers.
Address: Perch Wine & Coffee Bar, 71, First Floor, Khan Market & Priya Complex, Vasant Vihar
With fresh ingredients and home infusions being the pillars of Blue Bar, their cocktails pay homage to all corners of the world, serving up a slew of flavours for your palate. From the Asian Kyoto, French Heaven’s Brie, Middle Eastern Arabian Night to Indian Chaiwala Cocktail, their emphasis on balance and harmony comes through in the expert blended mixes. Plus, the imposing red and black interiors make it perfect for an evening of drinking.
Must-order: India Gold, a play of whiskey, tea, cointreau, honey, and orange, is the solid gold cocktail from their bar.
Address: Blue Bar, Taj Diplomatic Enclave, 2, Sardar Patel Marg, Chanakyapuri.
With experimentation serving as their catchphrase, Grappa brings forth wooden-barrel-aged cocktails that score high on the invention scale. While Charlie’s Rum Punch is potent enough to light up any evening, the other two specials, Walk This Day made with cream sherry, and La Fayette with vodka, glide smoothly to add a sweet and zesty tinge to your soiree respectively. Subtle aqua- and coffee-toned indoors and outdoor seating further makes it for one of the capital’s most-loved bars. Explore their extensive gin & tonic menu Highballs in hand.
Must-order: Raise a toast with the red wine-based Gluehwein.
Address: Grappa, Shangri-La’s Eros Hotel, 19, Ashoka Road, Janpath
Thought behind the menu, fresh ingredients, in-house shrubs, Serai is a product that has been curated keenly by the Olive group. Keeping the millennials in mind, yet not letting go of their veteran guests, there’s something for everyone here. Whether it is stiff drinks had over a lengthy sit down conversation, or fun tipples over a DJ night or nibbles and a glass enjoyed over live music, the bar seeks to beings together friends, family, and strangers who become so.
Must-order: Sangria Sour.
Address: Olive Bar & Kitchen, One Style Mile, Haveli 6, Kalka Das Marg, Mehrauli
All images: Courtesy brands.