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Cocktail Jockey workshop in City of Joy

Kousis - the world's best cocktail jockeys met a bunch of Kolkata's bartenders to impart his skills, reports Drimi Chaudhuri.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2007 20:47 IST

Do you want to live your Cocktail dreams just like Tom Cruise? Do you believe you have a flair for mixing drinks even as you entertain people? Ilias Kousis is here to teach you how do all that and more.

Kousis, one of the best cocktail jockeys in the world — whose performance beyond the bar cabinet is as amazing as are the cocktails he creates — met a bunch of city bartenders on Monday to pass on some of his skills.

Brought to India by liquor major UB Group, the Greek bartender is presently in Kolkata as part of a six-city tour, to conduct a workshop on how to woo customers with tricks that go beyond shaking up James Bond’s favourite dry martini with angostura bitters and gin or the well-known screwdriver, with orange juice and vodka.

From behind a polished oak bar table, Kousis reveals his flair for juggling liquor bottles and shakers to create mind-blowing cocktails, at the same time showing a panache for entertaining. “Flair bartending is all about a great performance. A bartender has to showcase his skills at mixing drinks with flamboyance and competence,” he explained.

On Monday, he exhibited the basics of flair bartending to 30 aspiring flair bartenders, who came from a number of hotels and restaurants. “These people are good and they know about flair bartending. They, however, are lacking in basic knowledge about how to add flair to their profession. Like flair bartenders across the world, bartenders from Kolkata have it in them to be popular, but they need to practice a lot,” said Kousis, who ranked eighth at the Flair World Championship, 2006, in Finland.

The German-born Greek, who trained at Flair Motion School at London under four-time world champion Nicolas Saint Jean, said that a two-day workshop was not sufficient to learn tricks, but “practice makes perfect”.

“Tricks such as the ‘The Neck’, which I have developed, take a lot of practice. One aspiring to be a cocktail jockey should rehearse for hours, even as much as 7 to 8 hours a day. Only after such intense training one can pick up complex tricks and add a few to become famous,” he said.

Tanujeet (TJ as his friends call him), works for a BPO firm and freelances as a bartender at various city clubs. While attending Kousis’ workshop, TJ said he has been following flair bartending for over a year and wanted to pick up tricks so that he could entertain people as he mixed and served drinks. “Training under somebody like Kousis is an opportunity that all aspiring flair bartenders should avail,” he said.

Alokesh Banerjee, UB’s senior general manager (marketing), eastern India, said that the tough part was convincing luxury hotels and restaurants in the city about the workshop. But the ultimate response was good, he said.

Email Drimi Chaudhuri: drimi.chaudhuri@hindustantimes.com