"Indian people traditionally have a sweet palette but this trend is changing. Nowadays dry and sour cocktails are more and more accepted and appreciated. Whisky is still the favourite spirit but gin and vodka are becoming popular too," says Andrea Fidora, brand innovation manager of MONIN (MEIA).

 

The Dubai-based mixologist was on the judging panel of the recently hosted MONIN Cup India, a platform for upcoming bartenders, the winner of which will represent India at the contests international edition in December in Paris.

 

The art of mixology essentially requires bartenders to imagine and concoct innovative drinks using their knowhow of not only techniques and flavour combinations but also limits and constraints of bar operations.

 

"You have to design great drinks that are easily executed in the bar you create them for. It is about striking a perfect balance of ingredients and the right technique in the execution," says Fidora.

 

Much of this expertise comes from experience gathered from extensive travels and consequent exposure to a plethora of cultures. "Creating new drinks, on the contrary, is all about research and creativity. It takes culture, knowledge and most importantly willingness to learn and experiment every day.

 

"Keeping up with trends, new products and techniques takes a lot of time and effort. To boost one's own creativity, it is required to be continuously exposed to new stimuli, thus it is a must to travel, explore and attend shows and events," he says.  

 

According to Fidora, India, being a treasure trove of culture, has embraced the growing trend and has been quick to adapt the same, despite several taboos associated with consumption of liquor.  "India is an incredibly creative country and in the last few years people are more exposed to the world through media and travels. This makes innovative cocktails popular and
researched," he says.


He notes how the expanding acceptance for the profession has made Indian mixologists popular, not just across the country but also on global platforms.  "It is becoming more and more accepted. India's top mixologists are famous in the country and abroad. They are acclaimed professionals.


 "We now have a growing bartenders' guild. There are also lots of events and competitions providing chances to talented mixologists to rise in their careers," he says.  Talking about how a ban on liquor in several states might serve as an impediment in the growth of the cocktail industry, Fidora says, "Politics come and go, culture and experience stay. The environment for bartenders today is much better than it was 10 years ago.  "Availability of exotic and premium products is also helping the level of cocktail-making improve fast."