You can put together some simple and delicious cocktails with Alize, a vodka-based liqueur available in India for some years now but yet to be fully discovered by cocktail lovers here

I don’t know how many of you have watched the hit video of the song “Thug passion” by American rap sensation Tupac Shakur. Named by Rolling Stone Magazine as one of the top 100 artistes of all time, Tupac, in “Thug passion”, sang a verse which went like this: “I made the change from a common thief/ To up close and personal with Robin Leach/ And I’m far from cheap, I smoke skunk with my peeps all day/ Spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way/ The Moet and Alize keep me pissy/ Girls used to diss me/ Now they write letters ‘cause they miss me….

It became a raging hit of Tupac in the U.S. in 1996, (he is also known as 2pac) and weeks later, the 25-year-old rap star was shot dead.

Why I brought Tupac to a beverage column is because of his reference to Moet and Alize. He also mentioned Hennessey later in the song, and all of these alcohol brands reportedly drew a lot of public interest because of it. Particularly Alize, a vodka based fine liqueur from France, which by then was about 12 years old in the American market but was not able to reap the results that the company hoped for. Alize, (it means gentle trade winds in French) launched by Kobrand in France in 1984, aimed at mainly middle-aged women drinkers simply because it can be sipped without much hassle — pour it neat, throw in just a few rocks of ice and sip. Both in France and outside it, it took kobrand years to grab the attention of its intended clientele. It had to tweak its price range to grab consumer interest.

Today, it is pretty popular, available in about 60 countries. In 2007, it entered India too but is yet to make its mark as a great liqueur option or a cocktail base here. I have seen it in very few premium booze shops in Delhi, spotted it just once at a duty free shop at the international airport. Also, I have not seen it as a base for cocktails in any popular bar across the city.

Yet, I would stick my neck out here and say, if you like a light, fruity drink, Alize can deliver and even surprise you pleasantly. According to a press report, it is available in three flavours in India. All of them are super but my heart beats a little faster for Alize Gold for its refreshing passion fruit flavour. Also Alize Bleu, which has passion fruit with cherry and ginger. Alize Red Passion is a combination of cranberry and peach. All are laced with premium French vodka. Besides, there are two more flavours in the international market, Alize Rose and Alize Wild Passion. Oh yes, I discovered one more flavour at the Bangkok airport’s duty free shops recently. It is called Alize Coco, a white bottle of vodka mixed with coconut juice. What a refreshing drink.

Apart from having it neat, you can whip up a range of cocktails with all the flavours of Alize. They are best as shots. Particulalry Alize Bleu. Try this one: with Alize Bleu (one shot), mix a shot of lemonade plus some ice cubes. You can also have Alize Martini by adding a generous dash of extra vodka to Alize Bleu.

To Alize Red Passion in a high ball glass, add a splash of grenadine and top it with 7 Up. Yet another interesting option with Alize Red Passion is, fill 60 ml of a whisky glass with it, 30 ml with Bourbon whiskey and drop a few pieces of ice.

I prefer my favourite, Alize Gold, neat with ice, particularly on a sultry, summer afternoon, but a lot of interesting cocktails can be made with it too. Say, mixed with just club soda or with a dash of tequila. So, find a bottle of Alize, don your bartender apron, and get creative!