While we noticed Asian-inspired cocktails making a showing from both Clever Koi and The Gladly at Devour's Bartending Competition, one Valley bartender is infusing the flavors of the East into every cocktail he makes. You can expect mango, rose, and coconut flavors from Anthony Felsianes' brand new cocktail menu at Chennai Chettinaad Palace, along with some imported Indian sodas and even a wine cooler.
While Anthony Felsianes' Indian cocktails aren't available at North Phoenix's Chennai Chettinaad Palace quite yet, he's been busy mixing up new recipes in preparation for the menu. Most impressively, each of his concoctions will only be $6, which is pretty much unheard of in the signature cocktail world, with happy hour specials and more to come.
So far, Felsianes' menu ranges from classic to inventive, with a heavy-dose of 90's bartending throwback. This is likely because Felsianes has been in the bartending game since his first gig in San Fransisco back in 1987. Although he used to work at Tempe's The Dhaba, Kam Patel, owner of Chennai Chettinaad, enlisted Felsianes' help when he opened his new, sleek, and upscale looking Indian joint off I-17 and Bell Road.
As a restaurant, Chennai Chettinaad kind of matches Felsianes' cocktails. While both certainly aren't the kind of thing you'd find on, say, Food & Wine's Best Bars of the Nation list, Patel's bright, blue-light covered white bar with cubbies displaying liquor bottles on its outset and Felsianes' flavored martini-centric menu are kind of a nice break from the snobbery mainstream mixology sometimes unfortunately gets steeped in. Plus, who else in town do you know of making an all Indian-inspired cocktail menu?
Although Felsianes didn't give us precise recipes, he did share some tricks to infusing Indian flavors into your cocktails. For his Limca Gin Fizz, he combines gin, lime juice, and a classic Indian soda called Limca, which gives with cocktail a tart, gingery flavor with a nice effervescence. He garnishes this drink with cherry, lime, and a slice of fresh ginger.
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One of the most creative cocktails he showed us from his new menu is the Mango Lava Cocktail. The smooth mixture of vodka, triple sec, and mango puree is a great base for a cocktail, but what puts it over the top is the rose cream garnish, which adds a unique, floral element to the drink. Felsianes garnishes this cocktail with a fresh mango wedge.
The current cocktail menu at Chennai Chettinaad does admittedly look a bit dated. Take the Blue and Gold Martini, for instance. The brightly colored mix of vodka, blue curaçao, triple sec, and mango puree served in a martini glass definitely look like something you'd order at a bar in "Sex in the City," but the flavors are what count here and we could see these cocktails pairing well with spicy Gobi Chettinaad Masala or the smoky Bengan Bharta.
Felsianes' other cocktails include a cranberry wine cooler with fresh mint and the Chennai Romance Martini with Ciroc's coconut vodka, all of which will be available at the restaurant soon. For more information, visit Chennai Chettinaad Palace's website or call 602-993-0085.