Gulab Jamun

The Gulab Jamun cocktail celebrates Indian cuisine and not only tastes like the sweet dessert, but features a real Gulab Jamun as a garnish!

What to do with leftovers

We’ve created several drinks that got their start with leftovers…the Bubbly Dog comes to mind (leftover cocktail), and the Peanut Satay (converting a condiment into a cocktail ingredient). But this one truly is made from leftovers, from Indian takeout.

Elizabeth ordered us some Indian food (dine-in is still not an option here, not that we want to do that right now anyway) from Little India Express in Tacoma, so that we could celebrate. We’re not too big on Valentine’s Day, but a year ago at the end of January (close enough to Valentine’s to count) we went on an amazing trip to Jaipur, India.

Side note

On this trip is when we first became aware of how serious the pandemic was going to shape up to be. This dawned on me in Dubai’s airport, actually, when I saw so many staff wearing masks. I’ve flown in and out of Dubai many times in my previous life, when I used to go to the United Arab Emirates for work, and had never seen anything like that before. I was shocked, and the bits and pieces of news that came over to India from China suddenly took on a different context. But even then – little did we know!

Anyway, I digress.

Indian food celebration

Elizabeth and I thought that celebrating this trip might become something we do every year at this time: eating Indian food, drinking Gin and Tonics, reminiscing, looking at photos… Elizabeth ordered the food, which was absolutely delicious, with Gulab Jamun for dessert.

I’m going to take a little break here for a second to say that I love doughnuts. I love Dunkin’ Donuts, I love little Munchkins, I love these Gulab Jamun. OK, just so we know where we stand.

Elizabeth brought one for each of us, in their customary rose-water-and-sugar sauce, sprinkled with a little bit of shredded coconut. I was so full that I couldn’t eat mine for dessert, though.

I kept looking at that one little Munchkin-like doughnut ball left, in its syrup, looking so dainty, yet self-possessed.

Folks, I was getting an idea…what if, instead of, say, eating this doughnut in the usual way, I put it in a cocktail? What if I mixed it with…gin, which we had enjoyed in India. It could kind of keep the celebration going!

So I did that. I put gin in the shaker, poured all of the sweet syrup in there too, and garnished it all with the Gulab Jamun doughnut ball. Easiest cocktail I ever made!

Showing off

I was meeting some friends on a happy hour Zoom call and they were very impressed.

Is that a truffle?!

NYC Girls Happy Hour friend

You always have the best drinks!

NYC Happy Hour friend

Well, we do it for our fans…they’ve come to expect it, you know.

Me, humbly

I can happily report that the gin delightfully mixed with the rose flavors in the syrup. It was herbaceous and botanical, yes, but there was also a wonderful bit of sweetness that I don’t often taste in a gin cocktail. *Completely* special and delightful!

The smell of gin as I took the glass to my lips reminded me of India also – we were there a year ago! Elizabeth returned to Seattle, while I stayed in Tacoma for a bit, so we didn’t drink this together, but we should have – maybe next year. Our real cocktail to celebrate India was certainly our Gin and Tonic that we sipped with our food. This drink was a little more fanciful perhaps, but the G&T was more real, more reminiscent of the “real” India we experienced – as if we could have discovered that! I simply mean that it was a more direct connection to direct experiences we had while we were there.

Thumbs up!

The bite of the “doughnut” was awesome, too. Bursting with sugary thick syrup, gin…and the coconut flavor really comes through here, though I don’t taste it in the drink.

I will say though that the garnish itself was very heavy – literally heavy; it was a doughnut loaded down with liquid! It almost made the glass want to tip over, so that’s something to look out for lol.


  • 3 oz Gin

  • 1.5 oz Rose Water and Sugar mixture from takeout container

  • Garnish: the doughnut itself


  • If you have the self control or the full stomach to say no to Gulab Jamun, you’ll have the syrup and garnish ready.
  • Add syrup and gin in a shaker; shake with ice until satisfied.
  • Garnish with doughnut; impress friends; celebrate India and your amazing girlfriend.
Thoroughly enjoyed on January 27, 2021


  1. Anne02/06/2021 | Reply


    • admin02/06/2021 | Reply

      Thanks, Anne! Sometimes you just know when you have a winner :)

  2. Elizabeth02/09/2021 | Reply

    I can’t wait to have this with you next year!

    • admin02/11/2021 | Reply

      Absolutely, babe! Let's do it!!!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *