Combining Cocktails with the Spicy Cool Flavours of India

If you live in any town or city in the UK then it’s a given that at some stage you have been out for a late-night curry. It’s a British rite of passage! When you consider what to drink with your meal I can almost guarantee you that the answer will be beer…perhaps a Cobra or a Kingfisher? Yet as we speak, in major cities such as London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, some of the top restaurants in the country are pairing cocktails and Asian food together with delicious results. The Indian Cocktail is the next big thing.

So where do we begin in designing an Indian cocktail menu for the local curry house? Just as there is no one wine to pair with every course of your Christmas dinner, so there is no one do it all drink to pair with Indian dishes. However, there are, without doubt, some winning combinations. Floral flavours such as rose, & elderflower are a regular theme on Indian restaurant menus as they provide a cool refreshing counterpart to the hot dishes. Meanwhile acidity and sugar are great at cutting through heat, making many of the classic pours an effective weapon when battling with spicy Indian dishes. Sours make a great addition to the menu, as do lime based Margaritas and Daiquiris.

Indian Cocktail

Fruit should a key role in any Indian cocktail menu. Why not switch your mango lassi for a mango mojito? Or if you were feeling particularly adventurous you could give the lychee martini a try. Ingredients such as midori (melon liqueur) and passion fruit are also favourites.

If being transported to India is the drink you’re after then get inspired by a Tamarind Margarita or the increasingly popular Mumbai Martini. TenderOne’s Indian version of the painkiller adds super healthy turmeric to the mix.

No analysis of an Indian cocktail menu would be complete without more than a mention of mocktails. A must have for your Indian clientele and your designated driver. My favourites include the Apple Cinnamon Mojito & the all time classic Shirley Temple which combines pomegranate with lemon juice and ginger ale. Yum. Iced teas are also a great addition to an Indian mocktail menu.

So here is my list of cocktails for pairing with Indian food, some classics, some TenderOne signatures and some great tasting mocktails!

The Classics

Piña Colada


Daiquiri/Strawberry Daiquiri

Mai Tai

Margarita (try with mango or passion fruit)

Mojito (combine with mango, strawberry or passion fruit)

Porn Star Martini

Espresso Martini

Blue Hawaiian

Amaretto Sour

Midori Sour

Whisky sour (contrary to popular misconception… whisky is an excellent accompaniment to Indian food)

Signature Serves

Tamarind Margarita

Mumbai Martini (with curry leaves and ginger)

Cherry Clover

Indian Painkiller (with Turmeric)

Twisted Mule (combines tequila with passion fruit)

Cardomom & Mint Mojito

Lychee Martini



Shirley Temple

Passion Fruit Punch

English Country Fizz (with Elderflower)

Tropical Tease (combines coconut, lemon, grenadine, melon & orange)

Ginger Ninja

Apple & Mint Sparkling Iced Tea