Download the latest issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine just for ₹69/-

Here are the Best Special Spirits Winners of the Cosmo India SNAs

The first annual Cosmopolitan Saturday Night Awards identifies the best spirits available—the wines, champagnes, gins, vodkas, whiskeys, and more. Team Cosmo India and our expert jury panel judged hundreds of Indian spirits to arrive at a list of fabulous winners. 

Best Special Spirits

1. Bacardi Carta Blanca

Bacardi is one of the world’s most popular rums, and it’s said that the party never really begins until there’s Bacardi! So why have we voted it as our number one rum? Of course, it has an impeccable taste, but also the incredible history behind it, which began with the son of a Spanish bricklayer,  Facundo Bacardí Massó, on the harbour of Sitges, near Barcelona. He caught a ship to Santiago de Cuba—a Spanish colony—with his brothers in search of a better life. In 1830, Facundo opened his first grocery store, got married, and had children. After a series of earthquakes and a cholera outbreak, he was forced to return to his family in Spain. But when he got back to Cuba, his store had been destroyed, and that is when he decided to become a rum distiller in this island of sugarcane, enlisting the help of a local French rum distiller. Facundo Jr planted a coconut tree at the distillery—known as El Coco. That’s how the legend of Bacardi (the symbol of which is a coconut tree) was born. The coup d’état by Castro ensured that Bacardi shifted its assets to the Bahamas (they took their yeast and secret recipes with them, so Castro was unable to replicate the rum in the now-state-run El Coco distillery). Prohibition and closeness to the US ensured that Bacardi thrived, and soon it was a global empire—made in Puerto Rico, Mexico, and India. Bacardi Carta Blanca is made of a blend of charcoal filtered 13-year-old rums from molasses, aged in lightly charred ex bourbon casks. It is crystal clear, with a citrusy aroma, with a dry yet slightly sweet taste, with hints of pear, vanilla, caramel, and pepper spice.

Bacardi carta blanca

Sunglasses, Vogue
Eyewear, price on request


Best Special Spirits

2. Jägermeister

An iconic drink that is a cult favourite, started as a celebratory drink among hunters, is now a bold herbal liquor that is prized by bartenders around the world—from Berlin to Estonia and New York to Hong Kong. The story begins not far from Berlin, in Germany’s Lower Saxon town of Wolfenbuttel. Curt Mast, the son of Wilhelm Mast, who was in the vinegar business, took the family’s business in an entirely new direction by creating this elixir of 56 botanical ingredients (star anise, liquorice, cinnamon bark, and many others in this secret recipe). He adopted the emblem of the stag and was inspired by the story of Saint Hubertus, the patron saint of hunters—the hunting master or jägermeister in German—who saw in his vision a stag with a glowing cross between its antlers. A keen outdoorsman, Curt Mast wanted to create a firm, square-shaped bottle that could withstand wear and tear—that is when he perfected the shape of the green bottle, which is found in bars across the world today. It even featured in Ted and Marshall’s New York apartment in the US sitcom How I Met Your Mother! On the nose, the Jägermeister is herbal, citrusy, and intense. On the palate, it’s spiced, sweet, fruity (with a candied orange taste), and has a peppery finish. Beyond the Jägerbomb, that is a favourite of the party crowd: you can mix it with cold-brew coffee and ground coffee (sprinkled on top) to create the Kaffee for an extra caffeine kick. Or make Hunter’s Tea—with black tea, lime juice, maple syrup, and lemon zest.


Lipika Earrings, Amama Jewels, ₹2,000


Best Special Spirits

3. Molinari Sambuca Extra

This is yet another iconic, perfumed liqueur from Europe. But, this time the story begins in Italy. In 1945 in Civitavecchia, Angelo Molinari, an expert perfumer and connoisseur of the secrets of blending, concocted the Sambuca Extra liqueur with a recipe that is still a closely guarded secret to date. Thanks to the entrepreneurship of Angelo and his sons who brought it to the attention of the restaurateurs of Via Veneto—Angelo’s liqueur soon spread to Rome. A drink that was consumed with three coffee beans carefully floating on top of it (Sambuca con la Mosca) soon became emblematic of the belle époque of glamour and the inspiration behind filmmaker Federico Fellini’s masterpiece, La Dolce Vita, starring Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastro. Celebrities would endorse it, and it even caught the attention of Frank Sinatra, who wrote to the Molinari family praising the liqueur. In 2017, the bottle design was updated to its classic design and about a year ago, the brand celebrated its 75th anniversary with a special limited edition colourful bottle. It’s a steely, clear colour, with the aroma of aniseed, fennel, and celery stalks, with tasting notes of black liquorice and rock candy. One of the best ways to enjoy it is as a Sambuca Caffe Corretto, by adding 5ml of Sambuca to an espresso cup. Swirl it so that it coats the inside of the cup, and quickly add a shot of 45ml espresso coffee—no need to add sugar, as the Sambuca sweetens the cup.

molinari sambuca

Eve Heels, Zori World, ₹4,999


Best Special Spirits

4. Martini Fiero

Italian vermouth Martini is aiming for a younger audience with this brightly coloured expression, the Fiero. Launched in 2019, Fiero means ‘bold’ and ‘proud’ in Italian. With its 100 percent natural, bittersweet, zesty deep orange flavour, it pairs perfectly well with tonic water for the classic Italian aperitivo. It is a blend of white wines and botanicals that include the Murcia orange peel, Artemisia absinthium, and Artemisia pontica (the botanicals give it that bitter touch that blends well with the orange). The best way to enjoy the Martini Fiero is with equal parts of tonic water, mixed in a balloon glass with a slice of orange to garnish. Martini was founded in Pessione, just outside Turin, Italy, in the 1860s. Not only was it one of the original companies making vermouth, but it was one of the first to take it global. In the fifth year of its existence, it was already exporting to New York, and by the 1930s, Martini had factories in at least four continents. Pessione is still home to the original factory where 95 percent of its drinks are made and as you see the motto ‘volere è potere’ emblazoned on the gates—where there’s a will, there’s a way—you’ll understand the true spirit behind this iconic brand.

Martini Fiero

Sunglasses, Valentino, ₹20,940


Best Special Spirits

5. Baileys The Original Irish Cream

This is the world’s first cream liqueur and also the most loved. It is life’s most pleasurable indulgences—we certainly think so, as it tops our list of best special spirits! It is the sweetest, most delicious drink you can pour over ice, shake into cocktails, drizzle over ice cream, or even bake a cake with. The idea was really quite simple, but genius! The founder Tom Edwin Jago from Ireland took the country’s two national treasures—dairy cream and Irish whiskey and combined them through trial and error, to create the very first batch of Baileys in 1974, adding fine spirits, rich chocolate, and vanilla flavour. Today, 200 million litres of fresh Irish milk from family-owned farms go into creating the creamiest cream that goes into a Baileys bottle, made by Diageo. The whiskey is local, of course, something the Irish have been distilling for 1,000 years. The tasting notes present cream with a delicate milk chocolate flavour, soft nougat with a nutty edge, all coupled up with a trickle of Irish whiskey and brewed coffee. Drink it as Baileys Hot Coffee by pouring 50ml of Baileys Original straight into black coffee. Sprinkle some chocolate shavings on top, and enjoy!


Coraline Heels in White and Beige, Aanchal Sayal, ₹7,500