Easy summer cocktails with Ajay Nayyar

A master bartender comes up with three refreshing cocktails to get you through a punishing Indian summer.

Come summer and we all get a little thirsty. The current heat wave, however, calls for drastic measures. That’s why we called in the gifted Ajay Nayyar, Reserve Brand Ambassador, Diageo India, to resuscitate us.

Last year, Nayyar conjured up some magical cocktails for us, including a classic Negroni. He returns as our saviour this year with these refreshing, summery cocktails. Some are so easy to make, you’ll be gasping in relief.

Gin Sour

The recipe for a classic Gin Sour is as simple as they come. As Nayyar puts it, “One of sweet, two of sour, three of weak, four of strong.” Yup, it was that simple in the good old days. Of course, there’s a bartender’s twist in this version — Nayyar’s Gin Sour is made using sweet lime. And the proportions have been tweaked accordingly.

Just add 45 ml of gin to your cocktail shaker, followed by 60 ml of sweet lime juice, 15 ml of sugar syrup, and some egg white. Add lots of ice to the shaker and shake with all your might. Strain into a copa glass filled with ice. To add a hint of colour, pour in a little bit of beetroot water. Add a lime slice and enjoy.

Ajay nayyar, reserve brand ambassador, diageo india, thinking about his next cocktail recipe.
Ajay Nayyar, Reserve Brand Ambassador, Diageo India, thinking about his next cocktail recipe.

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Speyside Martini

This is not your usual, boring gin and vermouth martini. Nayyar uses a single-malt Scotch whisky as the base instead. Just pour 45 ml whisky into your cocktail shaker. Add a couple of spoons of apricot marmalade. To balance the sweetness, add 15 ml of freshly squeezed lime juice. And that’s it, three simple ingredients.

Add lots of ice to the shaker. Shake well. (No stirring, remember? It’s a martini.) Pour into a chilled martini glass through a strainer. Add a whiff of orange peel by twisting it over the glass, rubbing it on the rim and dropping it inside. To finish, spray some angostura bitters over the glass. Feel free to use orange marmalade if you don’t have the apricot version at hand.

Ajay nayyar, diageo brand ambassador
Even a bartender gets thirsty sometimes.

Red & Ginger

As if those cocktails weren’t easy enough, here’s one that even the most challenged of home bartenders can pull off with panache. Named after the Johnnie Walker Red Label whisky which Nayyar uses, any premium blended whisky should work well in this cocktail. Just fill a highball glass with lots of ice and pour 45 ml whisky into it. Top up with ginger ale. Garnish the drink with a slice of orange. And voilà, you’re in business.

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