Indian food

Hot stuff: 5 Indian treats (and the gins that make them shine!)

You might have read our recent article introducing 5 amazing craft gins from India.  And that got us thinking of food. Indian food. The stuff we love.
We’ve recently reported that Japanese scientists have now officially given gin the seal of approval as a curry buddy.  We’ve also discovered a burgeoning craft gin industry thriving in the subcontinent. 

So, we thought it was time for us to take the next step and answer the question you’ve all been waiting for…

Which is the best Indian food to eat with gin?

1. Lamb Rogan Josh

This is a traditional Indian curry with a bit of a kick. Lamb Rogan Josh doesn’t have the nuclear heat of a Phall or the vinegary fire of a Vindaloo, but it’s still a spicy curry worthy of respect! 
Its rich flavours and fiery heat means that this works really well with a gin offering a dose of sweetness to soothe the palate. Just as the fiery spice tries to heat it up, the sweetness of the gin brings things back into balance. Buttery or creamy gins work well with spicier dishes like this.

Indian food

Gin’s with sweeter notes such as Bertha’s Revenge (with its milk whey spirit base) initially deliver creamy flavours to balance the heat of the curry. Sweet woodruff, cloves and almonds follow, making it the perfect match for a spicy lamb dish like this.
We recommend mixing up a large traditional G&T and garnishing it with a vanilla pod or a clove to keep the sweetness up front. Just where you need it!

2. Paneer Tikka (with chutney)

Paneer tikka is the perfect dish to be nibbling on while sipping your favourite gin.
These gorgeous little cheesy Indian snacks are the perfect finger food. It couldn’t be easier – you can snack with one hand and hold your glass in the other!
This is a classic Indian snack, made of chunks of Indian paneer cheese (somewhere between cottage cheese and Haloumi) marinated in spices including capsicum, chili, mustard oil, garlic paste and Garam Masala.
It’s then traditionally grilled at high temperature in a tandoor oven (although your home oven is fine).

This gorgeous little snack is a perfect vegetarian treat and goes really well with a honey gin.  We recommend Keepr’s London Dry, infused with British honey.  The perfect balance for the spicy cheese!

3. Chicken Biryani

This perfect chicken biryani rice dish from India is a little beauty.  It keeps the spicy warmth of a curry, but doesn’t rely on the rich, creamy sauces that often sound delicious on the menu but end up being too rich.
This spiced rice dish originated in Muslim India and is generally a mix of Indian spices, rice, meat and vegetables. It often features dried fruits, nuts and even eggs and potatoes.  Layers of Basmati are flavoured with Indian spices before being prepared with cooked chicken or spiced meat. 
This is the jewel in the crown of Indian food and we think it deserves an equally good gin to sip on while you’re taking in all those lovely tastes. 

Silent Pool’s complex botanicals, juniper forward taste and floral layers of lavender and chamomile really bring out the best in the biryani.  And the sweetness of local honey mixed up with the citrus notes of kaffir lime takes the heat out of some of the dish, which can be a welcome relief.  A gorgeous gin for a gorgeous dish.  Enjoy!

4. Onion bhaji

We all love an onion bhaji.  What’s not to like? Little fried balls of sweet, shredded onions, dipped in a gorgeous spicy batter mix and then deep fried to a golden crisp.  The crisp, spicy batter on the outside and the soft onions inside are just made to be dipped into a sweet, spicy chili sauce or a mellow yoghurt marinade.
These fabulous little treats are made to be served with gin.

We recommend something crisp and refreshing such as a Bombay Sapphire gin and tonic. Garnish with a traditional slice of lemon or cool it down with a mint leaf.  Either way, it will be delicious!

5. Curried cashew nuts

These curried cashew nuts are a taste of my childhood in Calcutta. Served warm on a shallow plate, these are my favourite snacks with a G&T. Crisp, large cashew nuts are lightly spiced with oil, curry powder and paprika.  They’re then tossed in a shallow tray and bake for 45 minutes. These are the perfect complement to a pre-dinner G&T and we think something light, dry and citrusy would work really well. 

We suggest a Tanqueray Rangpur for a sharp blast of lime to cut through the spicy nuttiness of the cashews. Don’t forget a lime garnish (and a big squeeze of lime into the glass before you drink!)

Gin and curry: made for each other

So, now you have it.  Proof that gin and Indian food were made for each other.  Some great Indian gins to drink.  And 5 great Indian recipes to match your favourite gins with.

Now, all we need is for the skies to open up again and we can try some of these in person!



Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

Don’t forget to follow us on our facebook community page to join in the gin discussion.


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tanqueray rangpur

Tanqueray Rangpur: my new gin hero

I know it’s not new and most of us have probably locked our lips around this already. But sometimes’ it’s worth reminding yourself the excellence that’s right in front of you. Having tried a few lime gins over the last year, I’ve developed a little taste for it. As a child, I grew up in India and my childhood memories form comfortably around a simple Indian drink that kept me cool on many a hot Calcutta day. It was called a Nimbu Pani and it was basically a freshly squeezed mix of lime juice, simple syrup and soda water, served with loads of ice. To this day, it evokes fabulous memories. Ever since, I’ve had a taste for lime.

A lime classic, delivered at a decent price

Whether it’s baked into a Key Lime pie or muddled with mint in a Gin Gin Mule , it’s a flavour I keep returning to. So, having tried several lime gin brands over the year, yesterday I returned to revisit Tanqueray Rangpur, one of my standard favourites. And it didn’t disappoint.
Sometimes, the standard brands are overlooked in favour of the trendiest bottles or the best back stories. But this classic lime gin deserves a place in everybody’s bar. And it’s not as expensive as some of those other fancy labels, so might be worth keeping one in stock for those lime emergencies.
So, why is it so good?

Tanqueray Rangpur does exactly what it says on the tin

Following in the footsteps of its siblings (including the ever popular Tanqueray Sevilla) this gin does what it says it will do. This is a straight, no-nonsense injection of lime infused into a standard London Dry Tanqueray mix.
Made with rare Rangpur limes (famous for their sweet, juicy zest) and then combined with juniper, coriander, bay leaves and ginger, this drink just screams “Passage to India”. It is a truly delicious drink, right down to the last drop. The resulting spirit retains a full-bodied flavour with a surprisingly smooth finish. On the nose, it is distinctly limey in a soft, perfumed kind of way. On the tongue, it’s a little explosion of lime with overtones of citrus dancing around to reveal hints of pineapple and lemon. There is no lack of lime flavour here. And the finish lingers long after you’ve swilled that last drop of this delicious elixir.
Fresh and clean, the taste hangs around for a little while, before a slow fade with no bitter aftertaste.

A refreshingly honest gin

What I like most about this drink is its honesty. If you want a lime gin, here it is. No convoluted, exotic backstory. Just a trusted Tanqueray pedigree. There’s no massive marketing hype around this like there was around the launch of Tanqueray Sevilla a few years ago. No gimmicky names required, it manages to avoid some of the slightly synthetic, artificial taste of some of the other lime gins. It’s a refreshingly honest gin. While the juniper taste is present for sure, it never dominates or gets in the way of the lime. This is an exceptional gin at a decent price.

So, how do you drink this delicious gin?

Well, preferably on a veranda, with a large ceiling fan wafting the delicious scents and smells of India all around you. But if that’s impossible, them make do with your own kitchen. Arm yourself with some simple ingredients. Franklin and Sons Natural Indian tonic water works a treat with this drink. Don’t ruin it with fancy flavours, there’s enough juicy zest in this to enjoy without any distractions. Serve it long in a tall glass, with ice. That’s what I did last night.

And it tasted just like a Nimbu Pani (but much more fun)!

Save me a seat!

Tanqueray Rangpur: the perfect pour

  1. Place a whicker chair onto the veranda.
  2. Fill up a tall highball glass with large ice cubes.
  3. Slice up two wedges of fresh lime.
  4. Wipe one around the rim of the glass and drop it in.
  5. Pour a decent shot of gin over the ice (Tanqueray Rangpur).
  6. Fill it to the top with a freshly opened premium Indian tonic water.
  7. Drop the second lime wedge into the glass.
  8. Sit back and imagine you’re in India.

PS – this is a great gin to give an extra lime edge to some cocktails (think Gin Gin Mule!)



Written by Steve (with a little help from Ruddles, the gin dog!)

Don’t forget to follow us on our facebook community page to join in the gin discussion.


RECENT POSTS

  • Barrel-aged gins: welcome to a world of wonder
    We all know how far gin has come over the last decade or so.  It has moved from being an old fashioned, last generation drink to the coolest cocktail base in town.  There has been an explosion of gin making over that time period, with major distillers taking risks with unusual flavours and new techniques … Continued
  • Gin mussels – flexing your tastebuds
    We all know how versatile gin can be and increasingly it is appearing in more and more interesting recipes. With so many complex ingredients and unique flavours, a carefully chosen gin can add layers of undiscovered flavour to traditional dishes that would have probably been unthinkable only a few years ago. But as the gin … Continued
  • Spring gin cocktail: Elderflower Collins
    It’s that time of year again. Every spring, we are teased with fleeting glimpses of bright sunshine and clear blue skies. We are seduced by the promise of warmer air and longer evenings.  And then, we return to the cooler weather and grey skies for a few days, feeling a little cheated and let down.  … Continued
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