May 27, 2020
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If You Have The Shaky, Shaky Blues

Is it the flair, is it the cocktail, is it a ear for conversation? What makes a good bartender great?

If You Have The Shaky, Shaky Blues
Jitender Gupta
If You Have The Shaky, Shaky Blues

“In the world of bartending, this is the age of minimalism,” says Mahesh Aiyar, who set up the popular Syn resto-bar at Hyderabad’s Taj Decccan hotel. “A great bartender is all about intuition, sensitivity and knowledge of his drinks, and less about flash and showmanship. He should be unobtrusive, low-key and yet have that rare intuitive sense to look at you and know what you’d enjoy. The best exemplar of this is the great Australian bartender, Tim Etherington, considered by many to be the world’s greatest today.” Below, some Indians with formidable reputations.

Deepak Korangia, Wink, President Hotel, Mumbai

Very creative with cocktails and has a great sense of taste, often missed by flashier bartenders. Won the international Ambrosia Best Barman competition in the whisky category (’09-10), with his ‘Farmer’s Son’ cocktail (Ballantine’s whisky, cinnamon, black pepper, clove, elderflower cordial).

Arshad Khan, The Blue Bar, Taj Palace, Delhi

A master of cocktails who has won acclaim at several bartending competitions, nationally and internationally. Responsible for crafting the Blue Bar’s award-winning cocktail menu. His innovative cocktails include the best-selling Kiwi-and-Capsicum martini.

The best bartenders have often branched out on their own to become consultants or to start their own bartending schools, like:

Yangdup Lama, Consultant mixologist, Delhi

Was judged one of Asia’s best young bartenders when working at Delhi’s Polo bar in the ’90s. Certified trainer in bartending from Hyatt International, Chicago. Now runs the Cocktails & Dreams School of Bar Management.

So what’s the word on bartending acrobatics? It’s a nice add-on skill to have, provided you know your basics, and don’t waste time.

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