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Nominees for Mixologist of the year

india Updated: Oct 09, 2010 03:07 IST
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Who’s the city’s top mixologist? As part of our quest, we’ll feature eight bartenders who are doing exciting things in Delhi’s bars. The Maker’s Mark Mixologist of the Year winner will be announced on the night of the HT City Crystals People’s Choice Awards 2010.

The winner will stand a chance to visit the Maker’s Mark distillery in Kentucky, USA for the ‘International Leave Your Mark Bartending Competition’ in November.

The nominees:
Sherin John, Smoke House Grill
Varun Sharma, Rick’s
Souvik Mukherjee, Set’z Restaurant & Bar
Konal Khatri, Rubicon Bar
Tojomon Joseph, Aura - The Vodka Bar
Sunny Chopra, G Bar, The Grand
Joao Paulo Rodrigues, The Blue Bar
Nitin Bhushan Prasad, Agni
Raj Kumar, Polo Lounge

Today, we feature one-on-ones with Souvik Mukherjee, Sunny Chopra, Nitin Bhushan Prasad and Raj Kumar

Souvik Mukherjee
Bartender
Set’z Restaurant & Bar

When did you decide to be a mixologist?
When I first joined this industry after graduating from IHM, Kolkata.

Best cocktail you’ve ever made
All margaritas... I relish making them.

Worst cocktail you’ve made to date
A cocktail I made to impress a guest. It had some tropical juices, some syrups, alcohol... it was a disaster.

Favourite bar in Delhi, other than your place of work
I don’t go to many places, but The Blue Bar at Taj Mahal hotel is good.

Best thing about being a mixologist
It’s creative and innovative. Most importantly, you make drinks to put people at ease.

Worst thing about being a mixologist
That the profession is not properly acknowledged in the world.

The best compliment you’ve received
Many guests tell me ‘you’re one of the best bartenders we’ve met’, or ‘you make me feel at home’ — those are the best compliments.

Sunny Chopra
Bar Manager
G Bar, The Grand

When did you realise that you wanted to be a mixologist?
During second year of [hotel management] college, when we had a course on wines and beverages... till then, I’d never had a drink in life.

Best cocktail you’ve ever made
I am a martini expert. Also, the Grand Champagne cocktail — it has a home-made infused syrup, champagne and garnished with an orange peel.

Worst cocktail you’ve made to date
When I’d just joined the industry, I added tequila to Mint Julep, which is a whisky-based drink.

The secret to making a great cocktail
To understand the guest’s palate. It’s not about what you want.

Best thing about being a mixologist
There’s ongoing learning, meeting new people, getting to know about different culures, and chance to travel.

Future plans
I want to make India a wine destination and educate people about wines.

Nitin Bhushan Prasad
Senior Bartender
Agni, The Park

When did you decide to be a mixologist?
Not until after college.

Best cocktail you’ve ever made
Last Word, made with gin, cherry brandy and Galliano vanilla liqueur.

Worst cocktail you’ve made to date
Rose Martini. I couldn’t find any rose petals for garnish, so I used carnation petals instead.

Favourite bar in Delhi, other than your place of work
Rick’s, because they make very good classic cocktails and have a good staff.

Best thing about being a mixologist
The bar is the only place where people are eager to meet you and you are eager to meet people.

Worst thing about being a mixologist
You’ve to handle situations where people are drunk.

Plans for the future
To open a bar where I’ll be a bartender.

Raj Kumar
Team Leader
Polo Lounge, Hyatt Regency

When did you realise that you wanted to be a mixologist?
Five years ago. I was a waiter in room service, and celebrity bartender Simon Liprot from the UK came to train us. I was fascinated by the juggling, flairing and mixing cocktails.

Best cocktail you’ve ever made
Orchid Sour —it’s vodka-based and has a lime and apple flavour.

Worst cocktail you’ve made to date
A celery-based cocktail... the taste was like poison!

The whackiest cocktail you’ve made
Orchid Sour; a Ginger Mohito using candied ginger; and a Bloody Mary with green Tabasco and lime juice.

Best thing about being a mixologist
Freedom to make many cocktails, and meet people from all over the world. It makes me feel the world lies in the bar.

Favourite bar in Delhi, other than your place of work
Smoke House Grill.

Future plans
To be an international celebrity bartender for sure.