Asia’s 50 Best Bars list was just broadcast online and Delhi’s Sidecar is the only bar from India on it. This also marks India’s debut on the list. Sidecar’s Yangdup Lama’s 24 years in the business means a vigorous menu of craft cocktails, with a lot of the extractions— from bitters to syrups—made in-house. Yangdup is also the founder of Cocktails & Dreams Bartending School/Consultancy Services, Delhi and co-founder of Cocktails & Dreams Speakeasy and Cafe Lungta, Gurugram.
According to you, what are the top five things that helped Sidecar make the list?
• From day one of the opening we were very clear about the quality of service that we would like to deliver to our guests. We never compromised on that.
• The look and feel of the place. We always strove to create a place that was world-class in terms of ambience. the décor, even technical details of the bar and the layout, everything was top notch. Last but not least, the genre and intensity of music, which is very critical to the overall feel of a bar.
• A crisp cocktail menu made with our series of unique in-house liqueurs, cordials, infusions, bitters, tinctures and grog. We truly remained an artisanal bartender’s bar.
• The curating of events over the course of the last year and a half has been in sync with what the place represents, from interesting book-reading sessions to bar quizzes and community table events.
• Our collaboration with the bartending fraternity in India and outside of India. We would always be open to hosting bartenders through guest shifts and special promotions and events. this helps us stay connected with the bartending fraternity as well.
What has been the best moment of your career so far?
Opening the first bar seven years ago with all the savings my partner and I had in the bank. It was a dream come true to have our passion project take shape in the form of India’s first bartender’s bar.
What is your favourite drink to order at a restaurant?
Bourbon on the rocks.
Can you share one of your earliest alcohol memories?
As an amateur bartender, tasting every cocktail that I made starting at 6pm and going on till midnight. I would be on a happy high by the time I was doing the books at 2am.
What would you choose to do for drinks on a special occasion: stay at home and be the bartender, or go out?
When I am at home I can’t play bartender, so I’d rather go out to a nice bar and take a seat on the bar counter.
If you could have only three tools in your bar, what would they be?
Shaker, muddler and bar spoon.
What do you have in your fridge right now?
Crystal clear ice blocks, a few oranges and some dark chocolate.
What’s the one piece of advice you would pass on to young bartenders?
Foundation is the key along with a disciplined professional life. The remaining skills can be acquired over a period of time.
The secret of your success?
No secrets. That’s the secret of my success.