Indian-Inspired Summer Treats in Atlanta
SONIA CHOPRA explored area establishments to discover these ten enticing desserts and cocktails that have flavors reminiscent of home.
July is the month I most crave the things I learned to love in Delhi: lemonade with black salt, the sticky juice of mangoes, rose water’s cooling scent, and hot tea—never iced—regardless of the temperature outside. The tea with cardamom and ginger, the mangoes cut lengthwise and eaten directly from the skin, crushed pistachios crumbled over rose-scented sweets.
In Atlanta, as in India, July has sweltering heat and fierce storms, fresh fruit in colorful cardboard cartons, open windows and fans going at full blast. And now—this wasn’t the case ten years ago, or even five—it also has a handful of restaurants offering summertime treats with flavors many of us associate with the homeland. The twist? None of them are served at Indian establishments; instead, they’re made in Jewish delis, fine dining restaurants, and bars that open only after 10:30 at night. People can now enjoy cocktails made with sugar cane and black pepper during five-course tasting meals at white-tablecloth restaurants; they can choose mango-flavored ice pops and cones of kulfi alongside American mainstays like cookie dough and banana pudding. And they can do it all within the perimeter of Atlanta.
Cachaca Lime Press
1782 Cheshire Bridge Rd., Atlanta
woodfiregrill.com; (404) 347-9055
Executive chef Tyler Williams created this Indian-inspired cocktail for this fine dining restaurant. It has fresh-pressed sugar cane, ginger lime, and black salt with cachaca, a liquor made from fermented sugarcane juice. It’s served over crushed ice.
Green Tea Bon Bon
1050 Marietta St. NW
chocolatesouth.com; (404) 815-8859
This truffle has green tea-infused organic cream, mint, and dark chocolate inside a white chocolate shell. The Darjeeling green tea is sourced from India by way of a Candler Park tea shop, Dr. Bombay’s Underwater Tea Party. Katrell Christie, the café’s owner, also founded a nonprofit organization that helps fund university scholarships for orp- haned girls in the Darjeeling region, and 100% of the proceeds from the tea goes to the cause. (Read more at theLearningTea.com.)
75 14th St. NW, Atlanta
fourseasons.com/atlanta; (404) 253-3840
Inside Midtown’s Four Seasons Hotel, find the Indus Fizz, a cocktail made with Lagunitas’s India Pale Ale, saffron-infused gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, and house-made wormwood bitters, which contain cardamom, coriander, and cinnamon. Executive chef Robert Gerstenecker created this with Indian flavors in mind. Is it any surprise it is shaken over ice and finished with more cinnamon?
Mango Lassi Pop
King of Pops
A summertime favorite at King of Pops is the seasonal mango lassi popsicle, which has fresh mango puree, cream, cardamom, and organic cane juice. Get the frozen treats from KOP headquarters in Inman Park, or look for the cart and its rainbow-striped umbrella at farmers markets, festivals, parks, and other locations around the city.
The General Muir
1540 Avenue Pl., B-230, Atlanta
thegeneralmuir.com; (678) 927-9131
Behind the bar at the General Muir, turmeric syrup and coriander tincture (an alcohol extract made from the plant’s seeds) are made in house for the Tiger Lily cocktail, which also has aged gin, fresh lemon juice, and Aperol, an Italian aperitif made with bitter orange and rhubarb that brings out the cocktail’s other ingredients. The drink is finished with a flamed lemon peel.
Pink Peppercorn Ginger Truffle
Multiple locations, including
1046 North Highland Ave. NE, Atlanta
cacaoatlanta.com; (404) 892-8202
In their Virginia Highland, Buckhead, and Inman Park shops, find Cacao’s pink peppercorn and ginger truffle. It features a dark chocolate ganache mixed with crushed pink peppercorns and both candied and powdered ginger. Cacao also sells a Scotch-infused dark chocolate and candied ginger truffle as well as a pistachio-cherry macaron.
Cardamom Fromage Cheesecake
560 Gresham Ave. SE, Atlanta
octopusbaratl.com; (404) 627-9911
Indians have long known the value of elaichi (cardamom) in flavoring desserts. One of pastry chef Sarah Dodge’s rotating desserts at this late-night spot, the cheesecake is made with cardamom, fromage frais, and rosewater. It’s topped with fresh, edible flowers and pistachios and is offered during restaurant hours, after 10:30 p.m. six nights a week.
East Indian Kulfi
Morelli’s Ice Cream
Multiple locations, including
749 Moreland Ave. SE, Atlanta
morellisicecream.com; (404) 622-0210
The East Indian Kulfi at Morelli’s is only offered occasionally, but it’s worth a try when it’s in stock. The ice cream is made from a blend of pistachio, cardamom, rose water, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Also of note at the ice cream shop: the mango yogurt and blueberry rose water flavors.
Van Lear Rose
The Pinewood Tippling Room
254 W. Ponce De Leon Ave., Decatur
pinewoodtr.com; (404) 373-5507
Gin, rose water, and house-made lime cordial make up the Van Lear Rose. The cordial is made with lime juice as well as lime peel; the peel gives the drink a slight spicy bitterness almost reminiscent of traditional nimbu pani, or lemonade with black salt.
Saffron Pistachio Ice Cream
High Road Craft Creamery
2241 Perimeter Park Dr., #7, Atlanta
highroadcraft.com; (678) 701-7623
This ice cream flavor from High Road Craft Creamery is made, of course, with saffron and pistachio. Here’s your opportunity to find out if American establishments have given any twists to the uniquely Indian kesar pista. Find it on a rotating basis at High Road Craft’s Sweet Auburn Curb Market and their Saturday-only factory store as well as nightly at Sandy Springs Persian restaurant Rumi’s and the Original El Taco in Virginia Highland.
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