Now in Delhi, you can have a taste of bubblegum cocktails, an infusion predicted by experts to be a global trend for 2014

Two weeks ago, running my eyes through Happy Hour, a column written by freelance journalist Adam McDowell in the Canadian newspaper National Post, I came across his prediction that bubblegum vodkas and single estate rums are to lead the global drinks trend for 2014.

Well, I couldn’t avoid thinking at once that both would be out of our reach for some time at least. After all, cocktail is still a neglected, and very much gendered (O it’s for women you know!) genre in this land of Patiala pegs. Therefore, industry attention is always on hard drinks, particularly whiskey, say making available newer brands of single malts in our cities.

Yes we do have a sizeable number of rum drinkers amongst us (and that includes a lot of women too) but they are yet to seriously look beyond local brands and their rum-and-cola routine to develop a sophisticated interest in what McDowell calls “a 10-year-old, singe-estate rum.”

So you can guess my surprise when the news hit me that The Chatterhouse, a newly-opened gastro-pub at Epicuria in New Delhi’s Nehru Place, has brought bubblegum cocktails to its bar menu. Behind The Chatterhouse are the same people who gave us joints like Tabula Rasa, Chi Kitchen and Bar, Shalom, Laidback Waters and Italic.

Without losing much time, I knock at The Chatterhouse door — very wood-and-glass affair, designed like a traditional Irish pub. The pleasant staff quickly obliges my request to learn how to make a bubblegum cocktail from a professional.

Bartender Parvinder goes behind the counter to begin. But before I start, let me tell you what a bubblegum cocktail is. Well, it is nothing but bubblegum infused vodka. All you need is your favourite brand of vodka and some bubblegums. The global trend has been to use the pink Double Bubble but The Chatterhouse uses bubble gum syrup since Double Bubble is not easily available here. The infusion, I can say from my experience, tastes real nice and looks a healthy pink, same as what Double Bubble would perhaps do to the vodka. At least, that’s what Neeraj, the bar manager at The Chatterhouse, says.

The Chatterhouse, as of now, offers Bubble Gum Martini and Bubble Gum Vodka. Bartender Parvinder first shows me how to concoct Bubble Gum Martini. In a cocktail shaker, drop a few ice cubes, then the infused vodka (60 ml vodka plus 10 ml bubble gum syrup kept overnight), 10 to 15 ml of banana crush and a dash of grenadine syrup. Give the mix a few hard shakes before sieving it into a Martini glass. Parvinder then tops the glass with Sprite.

“We use banana crush for a bubblegum-like flavour and grenadine is to add a colour that a Double Bubble would give to the vodka,” he says.

For the Bubble Gum Vodka, it is even easier. In a shaker with ice cubes, pour the infused vodka (60 ml vodka plus 10 ml bubblegum syrup), shake it hard before pouring the cold concoction into the glass.

I want to tell you here, don’t go by the colour of these drinks. Pink, and therefore not for the macho me! This adult way of having bubblegums can be fun for anyone who wants an epicurean touch to his/her drink. It wraps beautifully the sharp alcoholic taste of vodka to ooze a very smooth, almost a gourmand touch, to the tongue. After a sip of The Chatterhouse’s Bubble Gum Martini, I agree with McDowell’s comment in his column, “For those who want their drinks unchallenging, comforting and really sweet, all hopes will be satisfied (in 2014).”

Neeraj says there is not much awareness about bubblegum cocktails in his customers. “But we tell them what it is, how it tastes, sometimes do complementary promotions too.” While the Bubble Gum Martini will set you back by Rs. 400 before taxes at The Chatterhouse, each Bubble Gum Vodka shot is for Rs.300 plus taxes.

The Chatterhouse aside, those who want to wear their experimental hat this weekend and try and infuse vodka with bubblegums at home, just dip the gums into the vodka and leave it overnight. Simple, isn’t it? But the tough task would be to lay your hands on a packet of good bubblegum!

To make things somewhat easier for you, I would suggest you check out www.taylortakesataste.com, a site run by a mother-son duo in Charlotte, North Carolina. Its recipe for bubblegum vodka recommends the vodka and bubble gum ratio to be 1:1 for a shot and also to cut the gums into small pieces to increase the surface area for a better taste.

Remove the gums the next day and your bubblegum vodka is ready. About how to drink it, you already have Parvinder’s easy recipes and in case you want more, remember, the modern man’s best friend — the Internet, is a world wide web!

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