Stranger & Sons x The Bombay Canteen’s small-batch gin cocktail in a bottle is getting a second run, and more of us are invited to the party
The first edition of Perry Road Peru was supposed to take Mumbai by storm last year, but by the time the country’s first-ever distilled cocktail in a bottle — a collaboration between Stranger & Sons and The Bombay Canteen (TBC) — was released in November, a lot had changed. With restaurants shut, the Pink Guava Chilli drink, a lockdown baby, was sold via home delivery and retail orders.
Also read | Indian gin’s young blood
A year later, a second (and apparently final) batch of Perry Road Peru has been distilled. Named after the perus (guava in Marathi) chosen from carts on Bandra’s Perry Road, the new batch will be sold in six cities: Mumbai, Goa, NCR, Bengaluru, Rajasthan and Hyderabad. Deliveries roll out this month.
Before that, however, the collaborating duo is planning a series of ‘travelling meals’, pairing Indian flavours with the pink guava gin’s distinct sweetness. Chef Hussain Shahzad of TBC will be serving up dishes that represent Bandra and local produce. In Mumbai, the menu includes crispy bhel with pork floss, while at Bengaluru’s pop-up this weekend, diners can try black garlic handvo toast, podi b**f tartare, and more.
Perus for all seasons
Rahul Mehra, co-founder of Third Eye Distillery, the company behind Stranger & Sons, says, “It was only supposed to be a one-year release; a limited edition batch for 2020. But because we weren’t able to expand it to an all-India programme [as we wanted to] because of the lockdown, we thought of giving it a comeback.”
How did the idea come about? “Both TBC and Stranger have been advocating for the cocktail scene in the country. So, when we came together, we wanted to figure out if there was a way to do a bottled cocktail.” They looked into the themes of India and nostalgia that permeate both brand offerings, and zeroed in on guavas. “Having guavas with chillies growing up was a memory that both teams had, so we thought it would be a great ingredient to create the first cocktail with,” he says, adding that he and the team joke about buying up the city’s entire guava stock to bottle the cocktail this year.
In a post-pandemic social space where we are drinking at home more, the spicy-sweet offering, with notes of citrus, is just right. More so with the country focussing a lot more on gin now. The spirit has “piqued a lot of people’s interests”, says Mehra, especially because of the range of botanicals available. It is also “easy to reflect what your gin should be, based on where you’re making it” — like Mumbai’s pink guavas bringing a richer story, underlined by the place’s history and cultural associations.
Two’s better than one
Across the spectrum, India’s liquor brands have been upping their collab game and keeping consumers interested. Whether it be Greater Than’s No Sleep, a collaboration with Sleepy Owl Coffee earlier this year, or Moët Hennessy’s recent partnership with Svami Drinks to create custom mixers for three of their signature spirits — Hennessy, Glenmorangie and Belvedere — that are being distributed for a limited time along with purchase. For those seeking a caffeine kick, Mumbai roastery Subko collaborated with Pumori Gin to age beans alongside the gin brand’s botanicals, which they’re now using to make coffee that’s available currently at both their locations in the city.
- The small batch pink cocktail starts off as a cartload of fresh guavas steeped in a still full of gin. They are then peeled and macerated for six hours, before being distilled for another 18. With a shelf life of six months, it’s best served over ice, in a highball glass, with a touch of chilli and salt on top.
There’s more planned with Stranger & Sons too, as the brand plans to launch another collaboration before the year ends. Mehra is tight-lipped, but promises two new bottles that are sure to be snapped up by home drinkers. All he hints at, since the collab is international, is that “we made our recipes on Zoom”.
A bottle of Perry Road Peru costs ₹2,999 in Mumbai. This weekend’s pop-up in Bengaluru is at The Courtyard in Shanti Nagar, from 7 pm. ₹4,950 per person. Details of the other meals on thebombaycanteen.com.