Standing Up to Hate and Bigotry with Indian Garden Party Cocktails

After the 2016 election, there seemed to be an increasing number of incidents of hate and bigotry in our community, as in many others in the US and across the world. My concern lead me to get involved in two local organizations, Neighbors for Good, and Communities United Against Hate (CUAH), both started by and with local friends who had political and community organizing experience and also wanted to do something to bring people together and protect the vulnerable.  

As part of a recent fundraiser for CUAH, we had an Indian Garden Party, where Aman Shergill cooked a stunning array of Indian dishes and served them to about 30 guests in her beautiful garden, and my son Solomon and I mixed up thematic cocktails.  

My kids grew up cooking with me, because I was so often in the kitchen creating recipes and making dinner, and welcomed their participation, and it’s something we’ve always loved doing together. Now, as Solomon has reached legal drinking age, we’ve been having a lot of fun concocting cocktails together. We both like flavorful, citrusy cocktails and don’t mind a little heat and aromatic spice stirred or shaken in.

Solomon and I developed these recipes together through a fair amount of trial and error (at least in the case of the margaritas), but the crowd was really happy with the results of our Indian cocktail recipe development and the drinks went fast! At the party, I was happy to stand back and let Solomon do most of the mixing, muddling and serving, because I had had an extremely intense work week, that included the grand opening of my cherished client Clove & Cedar Coffeebar, plus several events for other clients. Actually, I was ready for a drink–or two–myself!

Mumbai Mule

2 servings

8 mint leaves

2 slices ginger (about ½-inch each), diced

2 slices hot chili

juice of 1 lime

3 oz. gin (or use vodka)

8 oz. ginger beer

4 oz. seltzer

In a wide bar glass, muddle the mint, ginger and chilies with the lime juice and gin. Strain into 2 medium glasses with ice, top with the ginger beer and seltzer, garnish with mint and lime if desired.

Pomegranate Cardamom Margarita

2 servings

2 oz. tequila

1 oz. Elderflower liqueur

juice of 1 lime

4 oz.  pomegranate juice

1/8 tsp. ground cardamom (or use tequila infused with toasted cardamom seeds—see note below)

2 slices jalapeno or a few shakes of hot pepper sauce (optional)

Combine all ingredients and serve over ice in a tumbler, or shake vigorously in an ice-filled shaker, strain and and serve in a margarita glass or on the rocks.  

Note: Soak 1 Tbsp. toasted cardamom seeds overnight in tequila and Elderflower to batch it for larger parties

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