The Holi is right around the corner, and if you’re trying to decide what drinks to serve at your Holi party, we have you covered. The celebration of Holi is a joyful one that’s synonymous with beautiful vibrant colors, so we’ve rounded up some bright, eye-catching drinks you can serve during the revelry. From classic tipples like thandai (with a boozy spin, of course) to gorgeous jewel-toned cocktails, this Holi show off your mixology skills with these tantalizing drinks.
Holi Drink #1 – Hibiscus Rose Caipirinha
If you enjoy the occasional mojito, you’ll adore the caipirinha. This Brazilian beverage is a cousin to the mojito. Made with cachaca, a sugarcane-based spirit, sugar, and lime, the caipirinha is ultra-refreshing. Make it Holi-friendly by infusing your caipirinha with vibrant hibiscus and rose. Planning on serving up more than a few of these tasty cocktails? Make a large batch of the hibiscus-rose tea ahead of time. When it’s time to bust out your bartending skills, you’ll be all set up to go. And if you don’t want to leave out the little ones or aren’t in the mood for a drink, you can swap the cachaca out for lemon-lime soda or even sparkling water. If you opt for the soda version, be sure to leave out the added sugar, so your caipirinha mocktail isn’t overwhelmingly sweet.
For the syrup:
2 teaspoons dried hibiscus flowers
2 teaspoons dried rosebuds
8 ounces of water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 lime, quartered
1 teaspoon superfine sugar
2 ounces cachaca
1 ounce hibiscus-rose syrup
Bring the water to a boil. Add the hibiscus petals and rosebuds. Allow the mixture to steep for several minutes, then strain out the flowers. Stir in the sugar and leave the tea to cool to room temperature.
In a cocktail glass, muddle the sugar and lime. Add ice, then pour in cachaca and hibiscus-rose syrup. Gently stir, and garnish with a lime wedge, if desired.
Holi Drink #2 – Baileys Thandai
Thandai is a fixture at many Holi festivities, and it’s so tasty no proper Holi celebration can kick off without a glass in hand. This refreshing milk-based beverage is flavored with fragrant fennel seeds, rose petals, cardamom, saffron, and melon seeds. There are plenty of variations like mango, almond, and bhang (for adults only, of course). This year, Holi falls on the 18th, a day after St. Patrick’s Day. Double up your celebrations by adding a splash of Baileys Irish cream liqueur to your classic thandai. Again, do yourself a favor and make the thandai ahead of time, so when it’s time to serve guests, you can mix up the cocktails with ease.
½ to 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
12 green cardamom pods
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 tablespoons dried rose petals
1 tablespoon melon seeds
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the thandai:
Generous pinch of saffron
¼ cup milk, warmed
3 cups milk of choice
2 to 3 tablespoons rose water
¼ to ½ cup of sugar, depending on taste
For the cocktail:
3 ounces thandai
2 ounces Baileys Irish cream
Grind the spices and nuts, then set the mixture aside. Place the saffron strands into the warmed milk, and leave to steep for 10 minutes or so until the color changes. Heat remaining milk. Stir in the sugar and masala mix. Remove from heat. Stir in the saffron-infused milk, then leave the mixture for half an hour. Stir in the rose water, then let the mixture sit for another half an hour to an hour. Strain and chill.
To make the Baileys thandai cocktail, add ice to a rocks glass. Pour the thandai and Baileys over ice. Stir. Garnish with grated nutmeg and almond slices, if desired.
Holi Drink #3 – Butterfly Pea Bramble
Butterfly pea is rising in popularity as a cocktail ingredient thanks to its stunning color and almost magical color-changing ability. It has a woody aroma and flavor, not unlike green tea, which makes it a fantastic pairing with the wonderful botanical notes found in gin. And when you add a bit of acid, like lemon juice, the tea will transform from a rich blue to a lovely pink.
For the butterfly pea tea syrup:
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons dried butterfly pea flowers
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ ounce crème de mure blackberry liqueur
1 ounce butterfly pea tea simple syrup
2 ounces gin
Place the water, dried flowers, and sugar into a pot. Bring to a boil, and reduce by half, stirring occasionally. Strain and leave to cool.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in gin, lemon juice, butterfly pea tea simple syrup, and crème de mure. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass filled with ice. Garnish with a blackberry and a butterfly pea flower.
Want to learn more about the festival of colors? Check out The Holiday of Holi: A Time to Paint Body and Soul