When I was in college, Couch was the best place to go for fantastic food, excellent service, and (at the time) great cocktails. It didn’t hurt that it was bang on MG road and easy to access. I still remember their pasta alfredo fondly. And this was a good 10 years ago.
Plenty of changes followed, and now, in place of Couch, stands Drinks. The place is not as popular as Couch used to be but there’s something they get right, and spectacularly at that. No prizes for guessing – it’s their cocktails.
When my friend first introduced me to Drinks, I was a little apprehensive, mostly because I’m wary of places that look half-empty. I have been taught to view them with suspicion. Bustling people is one of the first requirements of a restaurant, as we all learn. But then, I thought back to all those places that are constantly full but boast of mediocre food, worse drinks and service that makes me want to kill myself and decided to leave my judgemental hat outside the door where it belongs. And I’m so glad I did.
At the time, Drinks had brought in a Spanish mixologist – Alphonso, who is the mastermind behind the cocktails, arguably the best in the city and I would wager to say, among the best in the country. The trick to a great cocktail (and life) is balance and in Alphonso’s expert hands, each of the cocktails in the menu is expertly crafted to bring out the nuanced flavours of the ingredients. While Alphonso has presumably returned to his homeland or thereabouts, the bartenders continue expertly executing his recipes.
Of course, the best part for me is the lack of teenyboppers making me feel older than I am, and the fact that the service is unobtrusive but expertly trained to cater to your every need. The bartenders are friendly, confident, and knowledgeable about the menu – a tall order in most places in the city.
Here’s what you should order if it’s your first time at Drinks – Apple Cinnamon Strudel – it’s basically apple pie in a glass, just more delicious if that’s possible. The Nutty Old Fashioned, Chocolate Sazerac, and Afterwork are all must-tries.
If it’s your second time, opt for Platanos En Mole, a delicious mix of dark rum, bananas, and chocolate bitters. The Choco Tiki Coco will guarantee that you never again order a piña colada, and with good reason. Bangaloreans will love the Old Monk Punch.
Tequila hasn’t been my friend for a long time and sometimes I mourn its friendly call. But I’ve learnt the hard way that it’s best to keep some distance between us. Until I was introduced to the Jalisco Fizz – it was wonderfully refreshing and so incredibly light on the palate. Think of it as a G & T, but just a cooler, more badass version of it, courtesy the Don Angel.
If it’s your third time, you should be an old hand at ordering now. But if you are still unsure about what to get, just close your eyes and point at the menu because there isn’t a single drink they haven’t mastered to an art form. Given that the who’s who of the culinary world can be spotted there after hours, drinking and making merry, it’s safe to say that Drinks does it best.
If you are the designated driver for the night, opt for tonic water and one of their many fantastic bitters. I personally love the lavender bitters but you can take your pick. How many bars can claim to delight even the most disciplined of teetotallers?
How to Get There:
Where: Drinks – Cocktails & Conversation, 114/1, Sai Complex, MG Road, Bangalore
Contact: 080 49652950
Timings: Mon – Thu & Sun – 12 Noon to 11 PM | Fri – Sat – 12 Noon to 1 AM
Cost: ₹1,300 for two people