The long wait is over! United Kitchens of India is finally serving liquor. ETC (Eat-Talk-Chill) – the lounge and bar located on the first floor of UKI, officially launched with a few lucky couples on Valentine’s day. I was invited to a preview session held a few days earlier, and had the opportunity to sample some of the signature cocktails and watch award-winning mixologist Sharad Arora in action.
The signature drink of ETC is Road No. 45 – a deceptively innocent looking concoction of Gin, Elderflower syrup, sweet and sour mix, and Sparkling Wine (Sula Brut). The drink is smooth and sweet with a hint of sourness. It brilliantly masks the harshness of Gin liquor but packs a solid punch. The award-winning Lotta, one of the signature mocktails of UKI, is now available in its real avatar. The Lotta cocktail adds white rum to the deliciously refreshing mix of basil, passion fruit and coconut. Indian Punch, a rather soothing mocktail made by mixing Earl Grey Tea, Citrus, and Indian spices, is also available in a more potent avatar with Janus brandy thrown in. This drink is available in a warm avatar that’s highly recommended if you have cold or a sore throat.
UKI loves to play around with its plating and uses distinctive vessels for many of its signature dishes. ETC keeps up with this practice. The Mojito, which is called Ms. Jito is served in a glass shaped like a shoe. Sufiana, a brilliantly green vodka drink with Kiwi and Fennel, comes in a light bulb shaped glass. Citrus Martini is offered in a smoking glass goblet. Gulaboo, a bright red cocktail of Whisky and Rose (fresh Rose petals and Rose water) is sealed in a polyethene bladder bag.
There’s a lot to explore in ETC’s menu, but among the few that I drank, my favourite were the Chocolate Vodka shot, Road No. 45, and Espresso Martini (Voda with Espresso and Hazelnut Syrup). Sharad Arora is a master mixologist, and ETC’s cocktail selection reflects his creativity. The lounge will also have live music on select days, and offers a comfy yet energetic setting for unwinding with friends. Most cocktails are priced between Rs. 400 and 450, and the regular liquor pricing is on-par with other pubs in the region.