Margarita Mayhem at Chilis Bar and Grill
Friday’s Shaken and Stirred with Mybangalore tells you why the Margarita is still the drink for the season though summer time is long gone.
Ignore the weather that’s playing spoil sport because there is stilll reason to enjoy a Margarita at yet another happy hours bar. We hopped into India’s first Margarita bar at Chilis Grill and Bar, Old Airport Road, Bangalore. This 5 months young bar, a unit of Om Pizzas & Eats India Pvt Ltd., is a franchisee restaurant of Brinker International that specializes in Tex Mex & Italian food chains around the world. Famous for their Fajitas and Margaritas, Chilis, Bangalore is the chain’s 200th bar outside of United States.
Margarita is the world’s most popular Tequila based cocktail, commonly mixed with triple sec (an orange liqueur) and lime, shaken on ice and served straight in a salt-rimmed, ultimate or a Margarita glass. Mostly perceived as a summer drink for its amazingly refreshing taste, this cocktail can vary in its flavor from place to place. This variation can be primarily because of two things – quality of the ingredients and their ratios for mixing. We caught up with Simansu Prusty, Restaurant Manager at Chilis to understand why they claim to make the best Margaritas of the world.
Simansu, has worked with the finest names in the bar industry across the world for last 10 years including the Mecca of Polynesian cocktails – Trader’s Vic. He explains that the biggest differentiating factor for their amazing Margaritas is the superior quality ingredients they use. Most of their drinks have Sauza or Jose Cuervo`s Gold Tequila as base unlike most other places where they use Silver Tequila. Also in place of commonly used triple sec, Chilis uses a fine quality orange peel liqueur – Cointreau. The ratios are their trade secret. Apart from using international quality syrups such as Rose’s, another unique feature at this bar is that most margaritas here are served in hand blown super thick Mexican glasses that are signature Chilis.
The margarita bar menu has three sections. Signature, Premium and Caribbean Margaritas.
In the signature section the two featured drinks here are Presidente and Top Shelf Margaritas. Presidente Margarita has all the standard ingredients apart from a fine dash of cognac that makes it the most popular drink at this bar. Besides, if you ordering this at your table, the drink is pre mixed in a plastic shaker when served to your table and is shaken in front of you before being served into your glass of Mexican poison. Top Shelf Margaritas are served in three different ways: frozen, on the rocks and straight. The frozen top shelves are generally flavored in strawberry, mango or raspberry or in a combination of flavors. The top shelf margaritas are the strongest drinks at this tequila tap. What makes them special is use of a Cognac based Orange liqueur called Grand Mariner. Again the taste is much dependent on the ratios in which these ingredients are used.
The Premium Margaritas section has two great selections – El Nino and traditional Margarita martini. El Nino Margarita has been given the name after the climatic effect El Nino and the drink very much looks and is built like the “Tequila Sunrise”. The traditional Margarita martini is the most traditional and undisturbed margarita formula served in a martini glass.
The Caribbean Margaritas replace Tequila with Rum as the base of the drink although they still do contain some Tequila. They also use a variety of great tasting liqueurs like Midori etc. These cocktails are very uniquely served in Chilis Signature Beer Mugs. Imagine a Margarita in a big beer mug. That’s a lot of alcohol.
Most of the Margaritas go well with their nachos or fajitas. All these cocktails are priced in the range of Rs.595 to Rs.625 a drink. The premium pricing is understandable as the quality of ingredients is of the best quality available. A 750 ml bottle of Sauza Gold Tequila costs around Rs3500 while a litre bottle of Cointreau costs about Rs 4,200 off the shelf in Bangalore. Yes, as much as your favorite scotch or single malt. Besides with an every day happy hours between 4 to 8 pm at Chilis, with a one plus one offer, we would call it a fab deal.
A big challenge for a bar like Chilis is availability of good quality ingredients at all times. It becomes important to stock enough booze to last long enough. To begin the show, they imported most of their ingredients and are slowly localizing them.
All their bartenders have been put through a month long rigorous training program conducted by in house trainers from United States. You may be rest assured these guys know their Margaritas.
Chilis serve most other popular classic and contemporary cocktails as well at their bar, but who cares about them when you are at a Margarita bar. There is enough Tequila at Chilis to shock you with an experience of seeing so many different types of Margaritas trotted out in their menu. If you were on talking terms with your liver, we would ask you to jump into a cab and head to Chilis as soon as possible.
The Author Sesank is a 9-5 Charted Accountant who moonlights as a bartender at Take 5. He is also a travel enthusiast who believes that a culture of a place is in its bars