11 Indian Cocktail Recipes to Make for Holi

Cocktails add a vibrant and flavourful edge when it comes to drinking and they are great for Indian festivals like Holi. Here are 11 to make.

Indian Cocktail Recipes to Make for Holi f

a refreshing drink to celebrate Holi.

The festival of Holi is on March 18, 2022, and what better way to celebrate than with some cocktails.

Holi is known for its vibrant colours so it is only fitting to enjoy the festival with some brightly coloured and flavourful drinks.

India is renowned for bold flavours and these can be used to create some of the most wonderful cocktails.

These flavours can provide an Indian twist to some well-known cocktails or they can create completely original ones.

Holi is a time to enjoy with friends and family.

So with that in mind, here are 11 cocktails to make for Holi.

Watermelon Mojito

Indian Cocktail Recipes to Make for Holi - watermelon

Watermelon Mojito is a cool spin on the Cuban classic.

The sweetness of the watermelon provides a nice balance to the sourness of the lime, also providing a little extra body and fruity fullness to the drink.

It is a vibrant Indian cocktail that is a refreshing drink to celebrate Holi.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces rum
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 6-8 mint leaves
  • 3½ ounces watermelon, cut into small cubes

Method

  1. In a cocktail shaker, mix together the watermelon and mint.
  2. Add the rum, lime juice and simple syrup. Add ice and shake well.
  3. Without straining, pour into a double rocks glass.

Epitome Paan Berry

Indian Cocktail Recipes to Make for Holi - paan

Holi is a colourful festival that sees revellers typically consume paan.

This Indian cocktail is a fruity one, but the addition of betel leaf syrup and gulkand syrup give this drink a recognisable paan taste.

For those who enjoy paan, this is a cocktail to make.

Ingredients

  • 60ml gin
  • 60ml vodka
  • 10ml lime juice
  • 20ml cranberry juice
  • 30ml passionfruit puree
  • 20ml betel leaf syrup
  • 5ml gulkand syrup

Method

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour all the ingredients in.
  2. Shake well then pour into a balloon wine glass.

Cucumber Cooler

Indian Cocktail Recipes to Make for Holi - cucumber

The Cucumber Cooler is great for Holi and the warmer months in fact as the natural coolness of the cucumber provides a refreshing taste.

The addition of coriander and chillies adds an intriguing flavour depth without overpowering the drink.

When it comes to the type of gin, use something which has a fuller texture to carry the range of flavours.

Ingredients

  • 2 half-inch slices of cucumber
  • 8 Coriander leaves
  • 2 slices of green chilli
  • 1¾ ounce gin
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup

Method

  1. Mix the cucumber, coriander and chilli into a cocktail shaker. Shake until the ingredients have fully incorporated with one another.
  2. Add the gin, lime and syrup. Shake well.
  3. Strain into a glass that is half-filled with ice. Garnish with cucumber slices.

Jaisalmer Mango Panagam

Mango is in season during the warmer months and since Holi is also called the Festival of Spring, this cocktail is perfect.

The sweetness of the mango syrup compliments the gin.

This contrasts with the slight sourness of the lime juice, making for an Indian cocktail that is layered with flavour.

Ingredients

  • 50ml Jaisalmer Gin
  • 15ml mango syrup
  • 20ml lime juice
  • Ginger ale
  • Coconut chips (to garnish)

Method

  1. In an old fashioned glass, add gin and mango syrup.
  2. Pour in the lime juice and stir.
  3. Add ice cubes to the glass and top with ginger ale.
  4. Garnish with coconut chips and enjoy.

Red Snapper

Indian Cocktail Recipes to Make for Holi - snapper

This is effectively a Bloody Mary cocktail, but with gin instead of vodka.

Nevertheless, it still offers the same spicy kick but with subtle smells of juniper.

It is warming, spicy and really enjoyable to drink.

Ingredients

  • Tomato juice (as needed)
  • 50ml gin
  • 4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
  • 3-6 dashes of Tabasco sauce
  • A squeeze of lemon juice
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of black pepper
  • A sprinkle of garam masala
  • Ice
  • 1 Celery stick, to garnish

Method

  1. Place the ice into a large tumbler.
  2. Add the lemon juice, salt, black pepper, Tabasco sauce, Worcestershire sauce and gin.
  3. Mix well then top up with tomato juice. Garnish with the celery stick and sprinkle over some garam masala. Serve immediately.

Jaisalmer Spiced Orange Gin & Tonic

This is a warming cocktail to enjoy during the evening.

Aromas of orange and various spices are prevalent while the gin gives this drink a much-needed kick.

Ingredients

  • 50ml Jaisalmer Gin
  • 15ml simple syrup
  • ½ Orange
  • Aromatic tonic water
  • Lime slice, dehydrated (to garnish)

Method

  1. In a highball glass, add gin and simple syrup.
  2. Squeeze the orange half into the glass and add ice cubes.
  3. Top with tonic water and garnish with the dehydrated lime slice.

Holiday Highball

Indian Cocktail Recipes to Make for Holi - holiday

As the name suggests, this Indian cocktail is one to make this Holi.

Thanks to the strawberry syrup, the Holiday Highball has a fruity flavour. This is balanced out with lime juice.

For the best flavour, use a whisky with sweet and spicy notes. One recommendation is Johnnie Walker Red Rye Finish.

Ingredients

  • 60ml Johnnie Walker Red Rye Finish
  • 45ml strawberry syrup
  • 25ml lime juice
  • Soda water

Method

  1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the whisky, strawberry syrup and lime juice. Shake well.
  2. Strain into a highball glass and top with soda water.

Jaisalmer Rose Spritz

A vibrant Indian cocktail that will stand out during Holi is this Jaisalmer Rose Spritz.

It has quite a tart flavour thanks to the grapefruit syrup and lime juice.

But rose lemonade mellows the taste and also gives the drink its signature pink hue.

Ingredients

  • 50ml Jaisalmer Gin
  • 15ml grapefruit syrup
  • 20ml lime juice
  • Rose lemonade

Method

  1. Add gin and grapefruit syrup to a highball glass.
  2. Pour in the lime juice.
  3. Add ice cubes and top with rose lemonade.
  4. Garnish with an edible flower and enjoy.

Dirty Mango Lassi

Indian Cocktail Recipes to Make for Holi - lassi

This Indian cocktail is an alcoholic twist on the classic mango lassi.

The yoghurt drink is refreshing and has sweetness coming from the mangoes, however, the rum provides an added kick.

This makes for a great cocktail to enjoy with friends during Holi.

Ingredients

  • 1 Mango, peeled and chopped
  • 4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • 3 tsp sugar
  • A handful of ice cubes
  • A generous shot of dark rum
  • A sprinkle of cardamom powder

Method

  1. In a blender, add the yoghurt, mango, sugar, ice and rum. Blend until smooth.
  2. Pour the mixture into a tumbler and garnish with some cardamom powder.

This recipe was inspired by Hari Ghotra.

Holi Grail

The Holi Grail features a plethora of flavours that will enhance your enjoyment of Holi.

It has a subtly bitter taste from the coffee syrup while a hint of saltiness comes from the saline solution, an ingredient that is used in cocktails to enhance ingredients.

A nutty flavour comes from pistachio-infused vodka.

Ingredients

  • 25ml coffee syrup
  • 60ml vodka
  • 3 drops of saline solution
  • A handful of pistachios

Method

  1. In a bowl, soak the pistachios in vodka for one-and-a-half hours.
  2. Once done, strain the vodka into a cocktail shaker. Set the pistachios aside.
  3. Add the coffee syrup and saline solution. Top with ice and thoroughly shake.
  4. Double strain into a chilled old fashioned glass.
  5. Garnish with an orange twist and optionally, the vodka-infused pistachios.

Vodka Thandai

Thandai is typically drunk during Holi for its cooling effect.

It is made with a fragrant blend of ground nuts and spices that is simmered in sweetened milk.

An alcoholic twist is to add approximately one ounce of vodka per cup.

Ingredients

  • 240ml whole milk
  • A pinch of saffron
  • A pinch of sugar
  • ¼ cup Thandai masala
  • A splash of rosewater
  • Pistachio slices and rose petals (to garnish)
  • 1 ounce vodka

For the Thandai Masala

  • 18g almonds
  • 1 Pistachio
  • 2½g cashews
  • 1 tsp pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Cardamom pod
  • A pinch of fennel seeds
  • A pinch of poppy seeds
  • A pinch of black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp dried rose petals
  • A pinch of nutmeg

Method

  1. In a spice grinder, add the almonds, pistachios, cashews, pumpkin seeds, cardamom pods, fennel seeds, poppy seeds, black peppercorns, dried rose petals and nutmeg.
  2. Pulse several times until the mixture becomes a fine powder.
  3. To make the thandai, add milk to a saucepan and heat to a simmer.
  4. Transfer two tablespoons of milk to a small bowl. Place the saffron strands into the bowl and allow to infuse for 15 minutes.
  5. Add the sugar and the thandai masala to the saucepan. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Remove from the heat and add the saffron-infused milk. Pour in the rosewater. Cover and allow to steep for at least an hour.
  7. Strain the thandai into a pitcher and refrigerate for at least two hours, ideally overnight.
  8. When ready to serve, pour vodka into a cup then add the thandai. Stir and garnish with pistachios and dried rose petals.

This recipe was adapted from Masala and Chai.

Holi is known for applying coloured powders to one another and these cocktails add even more vibrancy.

Many of these drinks only need a few steps to make and this guide shows you how to.

So for this Holi, enjoy the festival with some fantastic drinks.

Dhiren is a journalism graduate with a passion for gaming, watching films and sports. He also enjoys cooking from time to time. His motto is to “Live life one day at a time.”

Images courtesy of Mixing Cocktails, Jaisalmer, Architectural Digest, Reuters & Lifestyle Asia