Go into a spin at the ‘Cocktail Buffet’, the first ever in the city hosted by Hotel Fortune Pandiyan

Glittering wine glasses, cosy couches and tingling cocktail shakers add zing to the interiors of ‘Ranch’ bar in Hotel Fortune Pandiyan. Bathed in a faint blue light, it’s a place to sit back and sip some of the best labels. While you enjoy the ambience, a strong whiff of whisky wafts across the counter with a hint of mint!

Pointing to the sparkling drink, Bartender Ramesh says, “It’s called Pudina smash. Fresh mint and crushed ice has been added to the whisky. The magic lies in the mixing.” It tastes similar to a Mojito. Another variation of the drink contains gin, mint lime and sugar.

If you are a cocktail connoisseur, this is the time to be at the ‘Ranch’ where innovatively concocted cocktails are waiting for you. Says S. Ravisundar, the Food and Beverages Manager, “The buffet menu offers experimental cocktails that have been exclusively created to suit the palette of Madurai people. Everyday, we are giving a new variety.

Every cocktail on offer is single spirit drink with a desi twist. Like sugarcane juice, tender coconut, honey and coconut malaai have been added in various combinations. An assortment of local snack items like salted peanuts, puffed rice, papdis and papads come as complimentary side-dishes. Traditional multi-spirit cocktails and classics like Bellini and Shooting Star are available off the buffet menu.

“Earlier flavoured syrups used to be added in cocktails. But as people found it boring, we switched to fruits juices. Nowadays, fresh fruits are directly getting into cocktail recipes,” says Ramesh, with seven years experience in bartending. “Vodka Cosmo is an exotic cocktail and worth taking a gulp,” he cajoles. With Tom yum sauce, it gives a Chinese flavour and is best had with an Oriental dry chicken preparation.

If you want a fruity indulgence, opt for ‘Cucumber Vodkatini’ – a heady mix of cucumber juice and Vodka. When sipped with a sugar rim, it leaves a sweet-and-sour aftertaste. “Vodka is a versatile spirit that gels well with any fruit juice,” says Ramesh. Another scintillating vodka cocktail is the ‘Desi dhamaka’ which is the earthy ‘gol gappa’ served with Gin or Vodka mixed in the paani.

Those who want a strong hit may go for ‘cocktail pitcher’ served in a scooped out watermelon.

It contains white rum, orange juice and watermelon. Dark rum frappe is another variety of the same sort that churns your brain instantly. It’s a mind-blowing medley of fresh pineapple, sugarcane juice and dark rum topped with crackling soda. And to end the entire spree graciously, the cocktail festival features a variety of shots.

‘Irani Chai’ is a spicy shot sputtered with cardamom, cumin and cloves. Served with chilled rum and vanilla cream, it’s more like a mouth freshener that pleases your breath – the best to conceal your booze binge!

Apart from these, a wide range of exotic labels and flame shots are available at the cocktail buffet priced at Rs. 650 plus Taxes per person. On till August 4, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. For reservations and more details, call 8220136666