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The ambassador of spirits

We’ve heard of disc jockeys, radio jockeys, video jockeys, and, well, just jockeys. But, what do we get when we couple thus ‘jockey’ with a heady concoction of cocktails? A cocktail jockey, of course!

brunch Updated: Sep 01, 2013 10:52 IST
Disney Brar Talwar

We’ve heard of disc jockeys, radio jockeys, video jockeys, and, well, just jockeys. But, what do we get when we couple thus ‘jockey’ with a heady concoction of cocktails? A cocktail jockey, of course!


As it turns out, this profession of layering and flaring spirits (while looking glamorous), helps you see the world!

Don’t believe us? Read Chandigarh-based cocktail jockey, Vineet Mishra’s story.

The 27-year-old flair bartender, who also runs cocktailjockey.com, is the Indian ambassador to the World Flair Association. He now proclaims to have mastered awe-inspiring tricks of the trade after having toured five regions of Europe, world famous for nestling distilleries of the world’s best single malts. Vineet visited 52 distilleries in just a span of 23 days, covering a distance of about 2,300 km in Scotland, all by himself.

Talking about his experience, Vineet says, “I had planned this trip a year ago, but my visa couldn’t come through. When I finally got my visa, the second time around, Scotland was the first place on my itinerary, as it has around 106 distilleries.”

Vineet’s first stop in Scotland was at Aberdeen, which nestles the famous Keith distillery. In fact, Keith is home to half of Scotland’s malt whisky distilleries.

After a brief recce, Vineet was invited to attend The Glenlivet School. “I was invited by the school’s brand ambassador, Ian Logan, and was granted the privilege of attending the school free of cost. There, I learnt how an old distillery works, the old methods of distilling and making whiskey, right from procuring the raw material to bottling the whiskey. Here, I also got to attend the Master Blender class.”

Having travelled to different regions of Scotland — Highland, Lowland, Campbell Tower and Islay — Vinnet returned with the knowledge of some tricks of the trade. “During some of my distillery visits, I learnt that they have flavoured
barrels and casks to store the whisky; these flavours makes a huge difference to the taste of the drink.”

During his visit to Islay, Vineet was fortunate enough to witness the famous Whisky Festival, about which, he adds, “Whisky bottles and casks were showcased according to their age; there was a free tasting session where one could taste whisky, endlessly; I got to taste a 60-year-old whisky straight from the cask. During the festival, I also learnt about the history of different whiskies and their ingredients. Interestingly, the managers of distilleries there shared their whisky making secrets with me without hesitation!”

And then, awaited a surprise. “I always wanted to meet Richard Patterson, the third-generation master blender of Whyte & Mackay whiskey. During the Jura festival in Islay, I finally got the chance to meet and share a drink with the man who has penned some of the world’s best books on whiskey.”

And if you thought all was hunky-dory through the trip, dig this: “The most difficult part was that I had to walk and drive for miles to find a place to live; sometimes, I had to sleep in the car to bide the night. Then, I had to
survive on fruits and instant noodles for 23 days at a stretch. One day, my car got stuck in snow and I could not find help for hours, thanks to being stuck in the middle of nowhere, without food or water. But then, you have to go through hardships to experience something truly great,” concludes Vineet.