House Party 2.0
Here’s how everyone throws a house party in India. A bunch of friends are invited to the guy’s (its inevitably a guy and the party will have a 90% sausage concentration) house. And no matter what the reputation of the guy, the house will not look like this:
The party will be BYOB or a split later on. Since most people are damned cheap, so will the liquor. The conversation will be dull, the people idiotic and most of the discussion will be centred on hating your boss, the colleague who got that promotion you deserved and that bitch in the office. But most of all, the depressing bit will be the venue itself. A good party is mostly about the vibe you get from wherever the party is hosted. Unfortunately, most Indian house parties are hosted in a semi-furnished three bedroom flat, with a vastly empty lobby and a plastic table resplendent with years of grime as the sole item of furniture. If you’re lucky, there will be chairs which are not broken, and bean bags if the guy is particularly posh. You will most likely have to step under a clothesline drying underwear at some point. The condition is so uniquely 20-something Indian that I could not even find a representative image off Google.
Fortunately, some of us have better taste. The other day, I visited the largest liquor store in Hyderabad, in fact all of India, Tonique. Its truly a magnificent place full of brands from all over the world. Its like a connoisseurs’ market, you walk around slowly, savouring the variety on offer. You take pleasure in placing a grubby fingerprint on a bottle marked INR 5,23,700 and then watching the armada of cleaning staff huffily descending to wipe it clean just after you step away. You take your time, weigh your options, talk to the sales staff and then make a choice to buy an expensive bottle or two. Quite a far cry from the regular alcohol buying experience on offer.
I have recently inducted myself into the drinks enthusiast category and I was tired of the former. To get something very clear, I am not a snob. I really enjoy these bachelor house party’s a lot. The conversation is great and the mood is always upbeat. Since there is nothing to go wrong really, the camaraderie builds up really well. But we can do better and this weekend, I really tried. It worked I think.
Having been inspired by the poshest liquor store I’ve ever seen, I bought a bottle of Kahlua coffee liquer. I was browsing through the custom liquer section when I had this thought. Why not host a cocktail party? Not the kind we see in the movies, it would still be a simple house affair with a few friends. But a party where half the fun would come from mixing up cocktails and trying different recipes. The alcohol would be the centrepiece of the show as always, but unlike any other time, you would not simply chug down the bottle in a random company logo cup mixed with soda mildly chilled in the fridge. We could make this a classy affair I thought.
So I invited a couple of people a day before and I started plotting the grand party. I discovered that Kahlua is a common liquer used in many dessert and drink preparations. It has an entire website dedicated to recipes for the perfect drink and I read through them all. The website is quite good, check it out:
Classic Kahlúa drinks like the White Russian, Espresso Martini, Mind Eraser and Kahlua Sour. Our bartender is ready to…www.kahlua.com
The one problem with most of the recipes on here was that you needed at least one other spirit to add to the mix. Fortunately, I had a plan. I told one of the people coming to get some vodka, the other to get a full bottle of Jameson. Then, I went about doing a common denominator analysis of the recipes and looking at things I could easily buy from a nearby department store. Here’s my list:
- Ice, obviously
- Coke to mix as cola into the drinks
- Glasses. Because no more china cups or steel tumblers. This was a classy party.
All this stuff is of course cheap and rather easy to find. The perfect combination then for an expensive bottle and an experiment. The guests arrived and we started off the celebration by trooping into the kitchen and beginning the festivities. I must say they were rather stunned by the amount of trouble I had been through to put this together while in reality all it was was a bit of google and a shopping trip. The first drink we mixed up was the White Russian. Here’s what you need:
- A glass, chilled, filled up with ice
- 1 part Kahlua, preferably chilled
- 2 parts vodka, definitely chilled
- Topped off with a splash of milk put in over the back of a spoon
- Stirred gently to make it look like a cold coffee
It took us a couple of tries to get the mixture just right but we ultimately did get it done.Here’s what the finished product looks like (I was unfortunately too drunk on both success and alcohol to click a photo of the real thing):
As the party progressed we tried various iterations of this drink and quite soon we were out of vodka. But no worries, whisky to the rescue. When you’re drunk enough, everything tastes good so I cannot vouch for the virgin taste of this cocktail. But here’s what you do. Chilled glass, fill with ice. Pour in about two inches of Kahlua. How do you know its 2 inches? You don’t, cause you’re drunk. Just pour about a finger’s breadth if you’re really bothered with the specifications, otherwise pour to taste. A quick waterfall pour of the whisky. This bit is tricky because too much whisky will make the drink taste entirely of whisky negating the point of the entire exercise, so take a good couple of swigs before you perfect this one (that’s half the fun). Top it off with milk, stir, drink, repeat.
This version of the drink is quite stronger, leaves you with great taste and keeps the high in check. The sweetness of the Kahlua and the milk temper the strength of the brew keeping you in check. If that’s not your thing, do what we did. Finished off the cocktails and then set about the whisky, downing the entire bottle. That’ll fuck you up good.
All in all, it was quite a successful experiment in mixing drinks and having some fun. A higher iteration to the traditional party we all enjoy.