As Delhi had a slight respite from the terrible air pollution over the weekend, Delhiites flocked to various food and drink festivals. Having already reviewed Horn OK Please festival, I visited the Cocktail Village at 1 AQ, Mehrauli, as part of India Cocktail Week. Read on to know more about this fest.
Enjoying a cocktail made with ‘Smoke’ vodka
INDIA COCKTAIL WEEK, NEW DELHI:
India Cocktail Week was organised by WMS Entertainment and Pass Code Hospitality– the chain that runs popular restaurants like PCO, Saz, Jamun, and Ping’s Café Orient, among others. The India Cocktail Week took place across multiple restaurants and bars in Delhi, where popular cocktails were served at special prices. Apart from discounted drinks, there were a host of international bar pop-ups, brunches, bar crawls and other interesting activities.
The week-long party ended with the Cocktail Village in Mehrauli, over the weekend. This unique two-day festival hosted alcoholic brands serving a plethora of cocktails, along with food pop-ups, and performances by talented artists.
Cocktail Village at 1 AQ, Mehrauli
WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE COCKTAIL VILLAGE, INDIA COCKTAIL WEEK:
The India Cocktail Week and the Cocktail Village in particular, were billed as a “celebration of India’s burgeoning cocktail culture”. I would describe it as a full-blown party in an interesting space, where attendees were spoilt for choice with the extensive selection of alcoholic beverages and cuisines.
The classy yet contemporary décor and the well-organised layout, made this festival stand apart from its competitors. All the stalls were arranged in two levels around the lawn, which housed the stage and a large area for people to relax or shake a leg to the foot-tapping jazz/contemporary music.
Two stalls constituted a shopping section– ‘Cinnamum’ offering organic and earthy goods, and one for leather goods. Some stalls offered unique sensorial experiences, which involved more than simply sipping your drink!
Clockwise from left: Ketel One strawberry cocktail; pulled pork sandwiches from Playground by JW Marriott; Aku’s Burgers; ebi tempura from Orient Heritage
WHAT I DRANK AND ATE AT THE COCKTAIL VILLAGE:
As there were no wine brands at the 2019 edition of the Cocktail Village, I made my way through the vodka brands. At the stall of the premium Indian vodka brand ‘Smoke’, I tried the vodka, Campari and aniseed infusion; then enjoyed the minty cocktail at the ‘Absolut’ stall; and ended the evening with a sweet and fruity ‘Ketel One’ drink made with strawberry puree and ginger ale.
Each stall used Sepoy & Co. mixers exclusively, the proprietors of which had their own place at the festival. People who don’t drink alcohol, could sample the tasty and refreshing tonic waters and ginger-ales from Sepoy & Co., as well as coffee from Blue Tokai.
There were only a handful of food joints which included ‘Playground by JW Marriott’, ‘Orient Heritage’, ‘Aku’s Burgers’, ‘Big Fat Sandwich and Pizza’, ‘Koyla Kebab’, and ‘Baileys x Georgia Dakota’ for desserts. I enjoyed the ebi tempura from Orient Heritage and my friend liked the burger she had from Aku’s, but I was a tad disappointed with the lamb open sandwich from Playground. The chocolate mousse and Nutella chocolate cookie from the Bailey’s x Georgia Dakota stall, were easily the best part of our meal!
Smoke Vodka; Bailey’s x Georgia Dakota
REVIEW OF THE FESTIVAL: SHOULD YOU VISIT IT?
The Cocktail Village festival is much smaller than other food fests that happen in Delhi. For this reason, it maintains its exclusivity. Right from the understated invitations to the unobtrusively thematic décor, every aspect of its presentation is lovely.
When I arrived at 3:00 p.m., it was practically empty, allowing us to enjoy our pick of food and drinks without battling excessive crowds or standing in endless lines. It began filling up around 5:00 p.m. and became a rocking party after 7:00 p.m. If you don’t enjoy large crowds, you should definitely visit this fest early.
The selection of food is limited but represents all major cuisines, and one doesn’t feel deprived of choice. I wish there had been wine stalls along with the other drinks, but I enjoyed trying the vodka cocktails too. It was also nice to see large stalls dedicated to home-grown alcoholic beverages such as ‘Smoke’ vodka and ‘Greater Than’ gin. One required coupons to buy the alcohol which are quite annoying, but the food could be bought directly.
The well-curated line-up of artists didn’t miss a beat, and their choice of music perfectly complimented the mellow vibe of this festival.
There were clean toilet facilities (at least when I was there!) which were easily accessible.
The venue is small in comparison to other venues used for food fests, and it is located quite far from central Delhi, but these two factors work in its favour. Attendance only by a certain clientele stops it from getting overcrowded.
Teetotalers may not enjoy this festival as the choice of food is limited, but it’s still worth a visit, just for its ambiance. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Cocktail Village by India Cocktail Week, and I can’t wait for its next session!
Have you been there? What was your experience? Let me know in the comments below.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE FESTIVAL:
The 2019 edition of the India Cocktail Week took place from November 8-15
Cocktail Village was on November 14-15 at 1 AQ, Mehrauli
Timings: 2:00 p.m.- 10:00 p.m.
Ticket Prices: INR 499
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