Vetiver is a grass which belongs to the same family as lemon grass and citronella and is priced for its roots which give you all the aromas and therapeutic properties.The roots of Vetiver or khus ki jad do not give you a hint till they are soaked in water, the earthy woody notes make them a favourite in the perfume industry and also aromatherapy. Vetiver is used in the form of an essential oil for its calming effects and it's extract is also ingested for its cooling effect on the human body. You will find the khus sherbat made during summers in many Indian homes. We tried making the Vetiver syrup at home it turned out great. here is our recipe. Do let us know how it turned out for you in comments or any suggestion that you may have to improve this recipe.
Vetiver roots : 30 gms ( Bought from a Ayurveda Shop)
Water: 350 ml
Sugar: 300 gms
Lime juice: 5-7.5 ml
- Wash the muddy dried root well in water at least 2 times and cut them into 4-6 inch pieces with a pair of scissors
- Soak the roots in 350 ml water. Press the roots in so the water cover it completely. Leave it for 12 -14 hrs.
- The Khus extracts are now in the water, strain it through a regular strainer and then muslin.
- Add sugar to the water and cook till one string consistency. Add lime juice to finish, this is to avoid crystallization.
- Cool it and store in a refrigerator.
- Ready-made khus syrups are green due to added colour.
Sandal wood is known for it therapeutic properties and is used in Ayurvedic medicines as much as it is used in religious rituals in India. Sandal wood is also used in Awadhi cuisine for Kebabs etc and is slowly making it way into a common man's kitchen in India in the form of ready made sandal wood syrups and sharbats. We tried to make our own for use in cocktails and non zero proof cocktail drinks and the wood can add wonderful aromatics and complexity to a simple drink. Here is our recipe. Do comment and let us know if you made any changes or if you have any suggestions. Thanks .
Sandal wood powder: 50 gms ( edible, bought from a Ayurveda shop)
Water: 500 ml
Sugar : 400 gms
lime juice: 5-7.5 ml
- Soak the Sandal wood powder in water overnight, 10-12 hrs
- Strain it 2-3 times through muslin cloth or filter paper to get rid of the fine particles
- Take the clear fragrant water and add sugar to it and cook till one string consultancy
- Add the lemon juice at the end to avoid crystallization
- Cool it and strain once more for clarity
- Store it in the refrigerator. Ours went good till a month before it got over.
Gin industry is fledgling in India with so many new brands in the foray to get a fair share of the growing gin market . However today we speak about Gin brands which are not Indian but they are surely India inspired , at least their names say so. Here are a few foreign Gins with Indian names. Of course we have not included the well known Sapphire, the Blue one.
Already available in India and quiet famous in the Jodhpur, this Gin is inspired by the Blue City. Jodhpur is a London dry style produced with 13 botanicals including Jeera and Ajwain in the oldest distillery of England.
A gin made in Cork, Ireland the Maharani is the brainchild of Bhagya who hails from Kerala and her husband Robert Barret. The spices like mace, cassia are sourced from a cooperative; Vanamoolika from Wayanad Kerala and the bottle also has Malayalam text. Malayalis in the house, please stand up !
Created by one the largest Indian caterers in the UK, the Mumbai Gin flavoured with Mango and Pomegranate complements gourmet Indian food, their website mentions.
Old Raj Gin
Made for Cadenheads's since 1972. the Old Raj is bottled in Campbeltown Scotland. The yellow tint is because of the use of Saffron and the name is of course leading to its India connection.
A made in London gin, Goa is inspired by the Indian state and co-incidentally the state is already home to some 5 odd home grown gins.
Indian Summer Gin
Made in Scotland; it refers to the bright sunny and hot days which are often referred as the Indian Summer in Britain. This gin again comes with a golden hue because of Saffron.
Made in the United States, this gin with 13 botanicals uses Grape spirit as a base unlike grain spirit for most of them.
Again from the states, this gin is inspired by the Masala chai and uses ginger, pepper corns, black tea apart from the other ingredients.
P.S: Greater Than, Stranger & Sons, Hapusa, GinDia, Jaisalmer, Gin Gin, Gin Jiji, Samsara, Terai, Pumori, Tickle are some Indian Gin brands for your perusal.
The Bar World of Tomorrow is a training course developed for the post Covid scenario by Pernod Ricard, Trash Tiki and the Sustainable Restaurant association on the platform edapp. Our founder Ajit Balgi completed the course and thought that it is very much relevant to India in most aspects . The whole objective about the module to make your bar more sustainable and includes topics from reducing carbon foot print to waste management to associate work life balance.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle are the mantras that are reiterated in this module and it helps a bartender navigate through the various aspects they may have ignored till today. With difficult times, Saving is as good as making more money and this cannot be at the cost of consumer dissatisfaction, the course brings all that up. Taking care of yourself is as important as thinking about your consumers, work-life balance is highlighted here. The Trash Tiki comes in with knowledgeable inputs on sustainability in the bar with regards to ingredients and its reuse or getting the maximum yield out of ingredients in your bar rather; thus saving costs. Oleo Saccharum, cordials, stocks etc add to the jazz that the bartender often seeks. It will take you a couple of hours to navigate through this and if you are a progressive bartender, then you better give it a shot. You can sign up through the link below, it is free.
With Covid-19 pretty much putting the entire hospitality industry into a precarious position, do or die is the way ahead. With necessity being the mother of all inventions, the restaurants and bars industry will have to keep pulling rabbits out of their hats till the situation normalizes. The liquor industry which is also dependent on bars and restaurant;not completely though can also innovate to mitigate losses or at least the loss in the revenue. Both the bars and the liquor industry will have to be ready for the post COVID consumer. Here are a few trends/suggestions/solutions we envisage going forward:
Home delivery of Cocktail premixes:
If the consumers aren't coming to you then be ready to take your experience to the consumer. With alcohol delivery not possible in the Indian context, the beverage revenues could be still given a boost with premixes of signature cocktails that could be home delivered. These premixes need to be just poured over ice along with the spirit and the cocktail is ready. Pricing cannot be prohibitive for most restaurants but the luxury hotels can price it their way with fancy packaging, DIY kits etc.
The rise of RTDs ( Ready to drink ) beverages:
The sales of retail will surely go up as people will prefer to drink at home and stay safe and also save money. This throws open an opportunity to create ready-to-drink SKUs mimicking favourite cocktail recipes like the LIIT, Cosmopolitan, Sours, Sangrias etc. These will be convenient for the house party culture that will become the norm. 'Crack it open and pour it on ice' will address a big pain point.
House party catering will rise:
House parties will rise and can you as a restaurant/bar cater to beverages too? Can you create compact per person packages that can get your restaurant experience at people's home? Hygiene, Safety checks will be paramount and then comes the number of cocktails, drinks that can be offered in the package. Of course there are bartending services out there but can they match up to your standards and hygiene levels! So think on these lines and there is a huge opportunity here.
Rise of the home bartender:
A lot of people would want to learn the art of cocktail making etc to be a better party host and manage the show themselves. Can you as a restaurant /Bar create educational experiences for your consumers in your bars ? These home bartenders trained by you could be the ones who could be the customers for your cocktail premixes in the future. We at The Happy High are already offering some courses online
Bundling up food and beverage at an attractive price to get the consumers visiting you will have to be done till the situation eases. These fixed priced options will ensure a certain business to the restaurant whilst the insecure consumer will have the option to choose a fixed budget for that evening. All said, every place will have to sincerely adhere to safety and hygiene norms and also let the consumers know about it.
We can only put our best foot forward with a hope that 2020 will not be that bad a vintage as it seems now!
Indian Sommeliers are making our country proud by excelling in different part of the world. Some of them even find the time from their tannic schedules to post on Instagram and inspiring the world to drink wine or for people to pursue the profession. Here the instagram accounts of Indian Somms to follow. We considered accounts that had activity on them insterspersed with wine inspiration once in a while if not always. Follow them, Seek advice, Drink better, Work better !
Bracing for Impact is what anyone should be doing right now. With loss of business in all sectors and uncertainly of a bounce back in the economy, job losses are on the anvil. Non-Essentials like Luxury dining, leisure travel which has come to a screeching halt will take much longer to get started which means that it will be the survival of the fittest for businesses and survival of the fittest employees within the business.
The fittest businesses in case of this event are the ones with deep pockets with an ability to burn cash and keep their employees with them for the dawn that will eventually happen. But most in the restaurant businesses will not have that depth and hence they will have to let go of people in the interest of the greater good. So here I am speaking for entry level , rank and file employees in hotels and restaurants, retail services.
What should you do so that you don't suffer a job loss after or during the lockdown?
What do you do if you lose your job because of this lockdown?
We at The Happy High announced our full time 6 week bartending course and this could be one of the skills one could acquire which could or rather have led to globe trotting careers. Our bartending institute in Mumbai looks to admit students from any discipline with a minimum education of 12th Pass and a good conversational level of English. Bartending is a skilled job and it take years to learn the skill which translates to better jobs each time. So if you have lost your jobs as a waiter, flight attendant, retail store associate, travel desk associate then this may be the course you want to upskill with. Even fresh graduates who are coming out of colleges in this difficult times, may consider this. You can find more detail on this vocational course in bartending here
1) Cognac Summit
4 ginger slice + Muddle + 40 ml Cognac + build + lemonade to top + Lime zest + Cucumber peel
60 ml Cognac + 30 ml Cointreau + 30 ml Lemon Juice + Shake + Coupe + Lemon peel
Sugar Cube + Peychaud’s + 45 ml Cognac + Stir + 15 ml Absinthe rinse for Rocks glass + Lemon Peel
4) Vieux Carre
20 ml Cognac + 20 ml Rye + 20 ml Vermouth + 5 ml Benedictine + 2 dash Angostura and Peychaud each + Stir + Rocks Glass + Orange Peel
5) Between The Sheets
22.5 ml Cognac + 22.5 ml White Rum + 22.5 ml Cointreau + 15 ml lemon juice + Shake + Coupe + Orange peel
6) Brandy Crusta
50 ml Cognac + 20 ml Lemon Juice + 15 ml Triple Sec + 5 ml Cherry liqueur + 2 dash Angostura + Shake + Sugar Rimmed Cocktail glass + Whole lemon peel
7) Brandy Alexander
30 ml Brandy + 30 ml Crème de Cacao + 30 ml cream + Shake + Couple + Nutmeg
30 ml Cognac + 30 ml Benedictine + Stir + Rocks Glass + Lemon Twist
9) Corpse Reviver
40 ml Cognac + 20 ml Apple brandy + 20 ml Sweet Vermouth + Stir + Cocktail glass + lemon peel
10) Brandy Daisy
60 ml Cognac + 20 ml Lemon juice + 20 ml Grenadine ( or triple sec) + Shake + Cocktail/Collins + Soda to top + Lemon peel
Seems like an nouvelle relation, but it exists and the Swedish have embraced it as a colonial gift. Let's decode this a little better.
What is an Indonesian Arrack aka Batavia Arrack?
A spirit that predates rum, Arrack was a spirit made out of sugar cane molasses and red rice in the 17th Century Dutch colonized island of Java, the capital of the Java was Batavia and hence the name. It was very popular in Punches in the 18th and 19th centuries but emergence of other spirits including Rum and import taxes pushed Batavia Arrack out of fashion.
What is the Swedish connection with Arrack?
The Swedish East India company formed in 1731 started to import Arrack from Java in 1733 and along with it came the Punch, the Swedish Punsch. The Swedish punch was hot water, Arrack, lemon, sugar, spice The swedes raised a toast to it and it became a part of their culture. It was drunk hot and in small cups with an ear. It soar in popularity that people started offering premixed punches and it became more accessible when a wine merchant J. Cederlunds Sonner started to bottle it in 1845. He added a little sour wine to his recipe, may be to make it more affordable. With Ice, Punches also started to be drunk cold globally. The Haryy Johnson's 1882 Bartender's Manual had a recipe of a Cold Ruby Punch which had Batavia Arrack, of course, Ruby Port and Green Tea. In fact, the Arrack is an ingredient in the Swedish chocolate Praline the Punschpraline and the Punschrulle and also the Finnish Runeberg torte called Runebergstårta in Sweden. Today multiple brands of Swedish Punsches are available in the market and they include rum too in the mix whilst in the west the Batavia Arrack is trying to make a comeback over the last decade.
60 ml Tequila + 30 ml Cointreau + 30 ml Lime Juice + Shake + Coupe + Salt rim + Lime Wheel
60 ml Tequila + 30 ml Triple Sec + 30 ml lime Juice + Shake + Couple + Lime Wheel
60 ml Reposado Tequila + 30 ml Apricot Brandy/Liqueur + 30 ml Lime Juice + Shake + Coupe
4) Tommy’s Margarita
60 ml Tequila + 30 ml Lime juice + 15 ml Agave syrup + Shake + Rocks Glass + lime wedge + Salt rim (optional)
60 ml Tequila + 60 ml Grapefruit juice + 10 ml Sugar Syrup + Dry Shake + Collins + Salt rim + Soda to top
60 ml Reposado Tequila + 90 ml Fresh Pineapple Juice + 15 Lime Juice + Shake + Rocks Glass
30 ml Reposado/Anejo Tequila + 30 ml Vermouth Bianco + 30 ml Cointreau + Stir + Cocktail Glass
60 ml Tequila + 15 ml Lime Juice + 2 pinch salt + 100 ml Cola + Build + Stir with Knife
8) EL Diablo
45 ml Tequila + 15 ml Crème de Cassis + 15 ml Lime Juice + Shake + Collins + Top with Ginger Beer + Lime Wheel
60 ml Orange Juice + 30 ml Lime Juice + 30 ml Pomogranate Juice + Chili Powder (other spices) + Build + Tumbler
10) Tequila Sunrise
45 ml Tequila + 90 ml Orange juice + 15 ml Grenadine + Build + Highball + Orange slice
60 ml White Rum + 30 ml Coconut Cream + 30 ml Heavy cream + 180 ml Fresh Pineapple Juice + Blend with Ice + Tall Glass + Pineapple Wedge
2) Mai Tai
30 Ml Aged Agricole Rhum/Cachaca + 30 ml Aged Jamaican Rum + 15 ml Orgeat + 15 ml Curacao/ Triple Sec + 30 ml Lime Juice + Rocks Glass + Crushed Ice + Mint Sprig
60 ml White Cuban Rum + 15 ml Lime Juice + 7.5 ml Simple Syrup + Shake + Coupe
12 mint leaves + Muddle + 60 ml White Rum + 22.5 ml Lime Juice + 15 ml Simple Syrup + Crushed Ice + Build + Soda to top + Mint Sprig
5) Dark & Stormy
60 ml Dark Rum + 30 ml Lime Juice + 15 ml Simple Syrup + Shake + Collins + Ginger Beer to Top + Lime Wedge
6) El Presidente
60 ml White Rum + 30 ml White Vermouth + 15 ml Orange Liqueur + A dash Grenadine + Stir + Cocktail + Orange Peel
7) Planter’s Punch
60 ml Pot Still Jamaican Rum + 40 ml Lime Juice + 20 ml Simple Syrup + 3 dashes Angostura+ Shake + Tall glass crushed Ice + Orange and Mint Sprig
60 ml light Rum + 60 ml Dark Rum + 60 ml passion fruit juice + 30 ml orange juice + 15 ml Lime Juice + 15 ml Simple Syrup + 15 ml Grenadine + Shake + Hurricane Glass + Cherry + Orange Slice
9) Mary Pickford
60 ml White Rum + 45 ml Fresh Pineapple Juice + 10 ml Cherry Liqueur + 10 ml Grenadine
10) Hot Buttered Rum
60 ml Dark Rum + 2 Sugar Cubes + Hot water + Mug + 5 g unsalted Butter + Grated nutmeg
60 ml Rye or Bourbon + 30 ml Red Sweet Vermouth + Stir + Cocktail/Coupe + Cherry/Lemon twist
2) Mint Julep
Gently Muddle 1 mint sprig with 20 ml Simple Syrup + Crushed ice + 60 ml Bourbon + Build + Silver Cup + Large mint sprig/more ice
3) Whiskey Smash
Muddle Mint, 4 Lemon wedges & 15 ml Simple Syrup + 60 ml Bourbon or Rye + Cracked ice + Build + Rocks Glass + lemon wheel/mint sprig
60 ml Rye + 15 ml Simple Syrup + 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters + 5 ml Absinthe ( to rinse the glass) + Stir + Rock Glass + Lemon Peel
30ml Bourbon + 30 ml Campari + 30 ml Sweet Red Vermouth + Stir + Rocks/Coupe + Orange Peel
30 ml Bourbon + 15 ml Triple Sec + 2 dash creole bitters + 2 dash Angostura + Stir + Flute + Champagne to top
7) New York Sour
60 ml Rye + 30 ml Lemon Juice + 20 ml Simple Syrup + 1 Egg White + Shake + Rock glass + Dry Red wine to float
8) Ward 8
60 ml Rye + 15 ml Lemon Juice + 15 ml Orange juice + 10 ml Grenadine + Shake + Cocktail Glass + Cherry
45 ml Rye + 30 ml Dry Vermouth + 20 ml Lime Juice + 15 ml Grenadine + 2 dash Orange Bitters + Shake + Cocktail Glass + Orange twist
10) Brown Derby
45 ml Bourbon + 30 ml grapefruit juice + 15 ml honey water + Shake + Cocktail glass + Grapefruit peel
1) Blood & Sand
25 ml Scotch + 25 ml Sweet Red Vermouth + 25 ml Cherry liqueur + 25 ml Orange juice + shaken + coupe + Orange slice
Muddle 1 piece ginger + 45 ml blended Scotch + 20 ml lime juice + 20 ml honey water + Shaken + Old Fashioned + 15 ml Islay Malt to float + Candied ginger/Fresh Ginger Slice
3) Rob Roy
40 ml Scotch + 20 ml Sweet Rosso Vermouth + Angostura 2 dashes + Stir + Cocktail/Martini glass+ Cherry
4) Rusty Nail
45 ml Scotch + 15 ml Drambuie + Stir + Old fashioned + Lemon peel
40 ml Scotch + 20 ml Amaretto + Stir + Old fashioned + Orange peel
6) Whisky Sour
60 ml Scotch + 20 ml Lime juice + 15 ml Simple Syrup + 15 ml Egg White + Shaken + Old fashioned + Angostura bitter
7) Scotch Old Fashioned
Muddle sugar cube with 2 dashes Angostura bitters + 60 ml Scotch + Stir + Old fashioned + Orange Peel
8) Bobby Burns
30 ml Scotch + 30 ml Ross Vermouth + 15 ml Benedictine + Stir + cocktail glass + lemon zest
9) Atholl Brose
60 ml Scotch + 45 ml Brose + 20 ml honey water + Shake + Coupe
Brose : 45 gms Oats + 150 ml warm water + Soak 15 minutes + strain = Creamy Brose
10) Blue Blazer
60 ml Scotch + 60 ml hot water + 1 tsp powdered sugar + Throw with flaming scotch + Brandy balloon + lemon zest
50 ml Gin + 10 ml Dry Vermouth + Olive/Lemon peel + Stir + Martini Glass. A Martini with cocktail onion as garnish is called a Gibson
60 ml Gin + 15 ml Lime juice + 15 ml Sugar syrup + lime wheel Shake + coupe
20 ml Gin + 20 ml Italian Bitter ( Campari) + 20 ml Red Vermouth (Martini Rosso) + Orange Peel + Stir + Rock Glass
4) French 75
45 ml Gin + 15 ml Lemon Juice + 10 ml Sugar syrup + Shake + Champagne Flute + 75 ml Champagne to top + Lemon peel. A lot of bars use Cognac instead of Gin as it is believed the former was a part of the original recipe
5) Clover Club
45 ml Gin + 15 ml Dry Vermouth + 15 ml Raspberry Syrup + 10 ml egg white + Shake + coupe + raspberries on stick
6) Tom Collins
45 ml Gin + 20 ml Lime juice + 20 ml Sugar Syrup + Build + Collins glass + Soda water to top
7) Singapore Sling
30 ml Gin + 15 ml Cherry Brandy + 7.5 ml Triple Sec + 7.5 ml Benedictine + 10 ml Grenadine + 15 ml Lime juice + 120 ml Pineapple juice + Build + Hurricane/Sling Glass
60 ml Gin + 5 ml Maraschino Cherry Liqueur + 5 ml crème de violette + 20 ml lime juice + 10 ml sugar syrup + Shake + coupe + Cherry on stick
9) Ramos Gin Fizz
45 ml Old Tom Gin + 30 ml Sugar Syrup + 30 ml Lime + Lemon Juice + 1 whole egg white + 60 ml cream + 2 ml Orange flower water + Shake till tired + Collins Glass + Soda to top
10) Bee’s Knees
60 ml Gin + 20 ml honey water + 20 ml lemon juice + Shake + coupe /Saucer
1) Bloody Mary
60 ml Vodka +150 ml Tomato Juice + Tobasco Sauce to taste+ Worcestershire sauce 5 ml + 2 lime wedge +Black pepper + celery salt + Build + tumbler
2) Moscow Mule
60 ml Vodka + 120 ml Ginger beer/ale + 10 ml lime juice + Fresh ginger optional + Build + Mule mug
45 ml Vodka + 15 ml Triple Sec + 15 ml lime juice + 30 ml Cranberry Juice + Shake + Martini
60 ml Vodka + 120 ml Orange + Orange Slice + Build + Tumbler/Collins
5) Vodka Martini
60 ml Vodka + 20 ml Vermouth + Lemon Peel + Stir + Martini
6) Salty Dog
50 ml Vodka + 100 ml Grapefruit + salt rim + lime wedge + built + rocks
7) White Russian
50 ml Vodka + 20 ml Coffee Liqueur + 30 ml cream + stir
60 ml Vodka + 15 ml Triple Sec + 15 ml Lime juice + shake
9) Espresso Martini
30 ml Vodka + 30 ml Coffee Liqueur + 30 ml Espresso + 3 beans to garnish + Shake
10) Harvey Wallbanger
60 ml Vodka + 120 ml Orange Juice + 20 ml Galliano to float + Orange Slice + Cherry + Built
A cold dense black coffee like infusion with a fine creamy foam or head on top is what comes to your mind when you think of a stout beer. So, what is a Stout? A Stout is a top-fermented beer or an ale which is typically made using roasted unmalted barley and often with adjuncts like oatmeal etc added. The classic aromas of a stout include coffee, chocolate with hops in the background. Going against its looks, a Stout is not that bitter but is on the sweeter side relatively speaking in terms of beers. Indians have taken up to stout very well, perhaps it all started with the Irish Guinness and then the microbreweries took it even higher so much that we now have stouts in bottles made by Indian producers. Here are the Indian Stout Beers in bottle
Creamy, Espresso, Ebony, Bold are the adjectives the company uses to describe their stout. It is again light bodied relatively with 5% alcohol.
Bira Malabar Stout
The Malabar Stout beer from Bira mimics a cold brew coffee with alcohol. It has 4.5% alcohol and is much lighter than traditional stouts. They use coffee beans from the Malabar hills in India and hence the name. Sounds like a good beer to induct a coffee lover into the beer world.
Goa Brewing Cos Breakfast Cereal Stout
This one has a different take on a traditional stout with a different grainbill. This one had rice puffs, oats, corn flakes as the base of the beer and you now understand where the nomenclature comes from. They also add adjuncts like chocolate and lactose to the mix and bottle it at 4.5 percent alcohol
Briggs Brewery Stout Alchemy
A full bodies Irish stout, it exudes aromas of caramel, coffee and chocolate and will moderate bitterness from the hops. This will be released short in the market
A career in bartending is slowly gaining momentum in India and hence lot of bartending institutes and bar schools are mushrooming to fill the gap in bartending education. Whilst some may be focused on education, many are factories where the quality of education of often ignored specially due to faculty with lack of industry experience and hence content.
The Happy High hence is slated to start it's own bartending school in Mumbai after being in the wine and spirit education field for 10 years. The Bartending Academy in Mumbai will be headed by Ajit Balgi , a WSET Educator, India's first India based wine educator who is also a Cognac Educator( one of the 90 in the world) and also a Maison trainer a global bar training program. Ajit has trained over 5000 professionals and has trained hoteliers in Maldives, Thailand and London and is associated with beverages for the last 19 years.
The Happy High Bartending institute aims to groom beginners and get them job ready with content that is relevant for today's bars. We will look at getting the basics right in terms of spirits knowledge, wine tasting techniques, cocktail styles and cocktail making apart from getting the core of customer service and Bartender's personality right. Whilst Flair Bartending is what many beginners aspire to learn, we feel that the skill is not relevant for bars in India and abroad for now. Hence Fire Flair etc will be out of purview in this course.
How to choose a Bartending School in India?
- Look at the Faculty & industry connect
- Look at the infrastructure - a functional bar, equipments
- Look at the course relevance and practical aspect.
- Don't look for low fees. You do a bar course once, so please don't cut corners.
- Don't look at earning money during the course. You are there to study.
- Don't get lured into Flair Bartending, the industry relevance is low.
Check the link for more details on our bartending academy in Ghatkopar, Mumbai
The world of wines begins with some 8-10 grapes and most wine list comprise of these because they are global and move off the shelf easily. However, because of the brand value these grapes carry, they automatically command a price which may necessarily not offer value. As a wine enthusiast it is advisable to look beyond to broaden your wine horizon and also save money as the lesser known varieties can offer super value. Here are a 10 not so known grape varieties that are available in India. Sante!
Hailing from Sicily this is the main hero in Etna DOC wines made 800 meters above sea level on volcanic soils. It produces a very lean and crisp wine with green fruits notes. Mt Etna is still an active volcano by the way which make this wine even more interesting.
Caricante brands in India: Scalunera Etna Bianco
Hailing from Sardinia; Italy, the Vermentino is quite an aromatic grape variety and offers refreshing notes of pears and citrus with floral undertones. It’s also called Rolle in France and brings out very value driven wines from South-eastern France.
Vermentino brands in India: Marius by Chapoutier, France, Bibi Graetz Casamatta, Italy, Metal, Australia.
The Austrian specialty with bracing acidity, the GruVee is a wine meant for ageing. A high yielding variety it can be spicy & peppery or can be laden with stone fruits depending from where it comes from. It accounts for over 28% of Austrian wine acreage.
Gruner Veltliner brands in India: Domaene Gobelsburg, Weingut Jurtschitsch
Albarino in Spain or Alvarinho in Portugal is a grape known to produce wines with refreshing acidity and citrus notes with some stone fruit and tropical melon creeping in with ripeness. The grape is also a part of Vinho Verde blends from Portugal.
Albarino brands in India: Bodegas Paco & Lola from Rias Baixas; Spain
The most famous white grape from Salta, Argentina. This is one is very perfumed with balanced acidity couple with stone fruit notes. Indian palates will love this.
Torrontes brands in India: Crios, Zuccardi Santa Julia
This north eastern Italian grape make is the main hero in the world-famous blends of Valpolicella and Bardolino. It can also be available as a 100% with a very good potential to age. It makes light to medium bodied wines with refreshing acidity, red fruit notes with cherry lingering. It is the same grape used to make our favourite Amarone Della Valpolicella.
Corvina brands in India: Zenato, Tedeschi, Zonin, Folonari, Pasqua, Tenuta Saint Antonio
A thin-skinned paradox which requires a lot of sun to ripen to give out a lot of lovely strawberry and red fruit noted but the acidity gets it caught on the wrong side, it’s low. Thus Grenache in most cases is a blend with Syrah for the balance and also GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) blends . The classic region for Grenache is southern Rhone, Priorat in Spain where it is called Garnacha and now Australia too, mainly Barossa is getting very popular.
Garnacha brands in India :
Rhone and South West France Blends: Famille Perrin, M Chapoutier, Daronton, Le Grand Noir GSM.
Spain: Prima by Bodegas Maurodos, Castello De Monseran
Australia & India: Rolfbinder;Oz, Source by Sula Grenache Rose, Chapel Hill 100% Grenache; Oz,
Monastrell in Spain or Mourvedre in France is a grape which yields a full-bodied red with black fruit, spices and herbs. It can see oak and makes wine which are a mouthful. It is the ‘M’ in the GSM blends.
Monastrell brands in India: Eco Bodegas Fuerza; Spain, Fairview Caldera GSM,
This Italian grape is the 2nd largest varietal planted in Italy. It yields medium bodied red wines which are black fruit driven with sweet spice and supple tannins. The most famous Montepulciano wines come from Abruzzo.
Montepulciano brands in India: Sirente, Folonari, Pasqua,
Lush black fruit, licorice and the ripeness is alluring in this Sicilian variety which is not as known. It makes medium to full bodied fruit driven wines. Surprisingly we also have an Indian version of Nero D’Avola made in India by Reveilo wines.
Nero D’Avola brands in India: Donnafugata Sedara, Pieno Sud
2019 passed of in a jiffy and India saw a lot of progression in the drinks trade like every year. Sustainability was the buzz word and so was gin to a great extent and homegrown whisky brands continued to make a splash locally and globally. Here are our insights on what should 2020 be like or would be for the wine and spirit trade in India… Cocktail trends, new spirits and more.
People are getting more conscious about their diets and about price points. Low alcohol cocktails with a 30 or a 40 ml shot of spirit can bring the costs down by 1/3rd and also make the drink healthier. The price will also attract more patrons to order a cocktail and the bartender can have more creative work behind the bar.
Sugar free Cocktails:
With health becoming a priority and people going for spirit and water combinations, sugar free cocktails will be a new thing on the menu. Sugar free doesn’t mean drinks with Stevia and sugar alternatives but cocktails with a salt and acid balance or balance drawn from the sugar in the aged spirit.
Hand Cut Ice
The importance of ice in a drink has long been known by bartenders but due to operational issues that it was just treated as another ingredient. However we will soon see more bars getting serious about one of the most important ingredients in a drink by investing in better ice machines and also getting more involved in cutting ice blocks and hand carved ice
Wine is slowly coming to terms with India and vice-versa. The upper echelons of the society who is more exposed to wine and can afford it will look at the next level, Organic wines. Wine lists will have organic pointed to for those discerning.
Ayurveda and seasonality:
India has 6 seasons or ritus , Vasanta (spring), Grishma (summer), Varsha (monsoon), Sharad (autumn), Hemant (fall winter), and Shishir (winter) and the Indian Ayurveda diets based on these apart from the classification of food based on Satvik, Tamasik or Rajasik. For Cocktails, India will take of leaf of Ayurveda and use of ingredients like vetiver, licorice root, turmeric, sesame,neem, brahmi, ashwagandha, ginger with more functionality. Even regional fruits like the Bael fruit, kokum would see some light. Antiaging, cooling properties etc will be the buzz words.
Alcohol free :
Why should only people who drink alcohol have all the fun! Teetotalers wouldn’t want to be left out and hence will take up to non-alcoholic beverages as long as the look and the feel and the experience is like that of an alcoholic beverage. Artisanal mocktails or alcohol free cocktails with more seriousness will take some steps this year.
In house fermentation of fruit juices, kombuchas, tepaches, hop infusions and more. Progressive bartenders will pave the path for the country to follow in due course. It will be small beginnings given the resources and people’s ability to afford thus translating to lower demand. Top bars will set themselves apart with this.
Rum & Brandy:
Lastly there will be new wave of dark spirits with Rum being at the forefront and brandy specially Cognac in tow. Rum Old fashioned, Cognac Sours, Rum and Cigar, Cognac cocktails will take a leap. Both spirits have a profile that suit the Indian palate and it is only a matter of time and sustained marketing that these will rub shoulder with whisky, of course in the higher
Cheers to 2020!
Wheat beers are favourites in the craft beer scene in India because of their fruitiness and low IBU (International bittering units) typically. So, what is a wheat beer? Wheat beers use a higher amount of wheat than barley to produce beers and because of the higher protein content in the former the beers are hazy but give a richer and thicker mouth feels to the beers. The wheat unlike malted barley doesn’t add much flavour of its own to the final product and hence the yeast plays a very important role for flavour. In the India the two most popular style of wheat are the Hefeweizen and Belgian Wit. We will look at them both individually and list Indian brands in bottles for you apart from one American Styled Wheat.
Belgian Wit bier
Wit bier is made of minimum 50% unmalted wheat in Belgium which makes them different from the German style in addition to the flavouring of Coriander and Orange peel the Belgians add to this style. They could add more spice but the above mentioned are the basics. This style was revived globally and in India by Hoegaarden specially with their ritual of adding an orange slice into the glass.
Kingfisher: The latest entrant in the India’s bottled non-lager segment, Kingfisher the market leader in beers is all set to ride the craft wave with this wit bier.
Simba: Apart from the classic Coriander and Orange peel, the Simba roars with some added goodness of Lemongrass.
Mad King Dufa: This one was thought of in Delhi but made in Belgium. The other one from the brewery is a lager call the Kolga.
White Owl Spark: It started off as a microbrewery in Mumbai and continues to but has also added to bottled fare.
Bira White: The craft behemoth which started the wave for bottled craft beer in the country continues to grow.
White Rhino: India’s first craft brewery in the bottled business, they also flavour their wit bier with Himalayan coriander.
Mahou Maestra Wheat: Although owned the Spanish Mahou, this one’s made in Indian and used Himalayan Coriander and Seville orange peel for the brew.
Willy's Witbier: The latest entrant in the bottled witbier segment, the Will's by Briggs Brewery Bengaluru is now launched in the Bengaluru market.
This German cloudy wheat beer has aromas of banana and cloves owing to the yeast so much that it can’t be handled by many palates and hence a slice of lemon can help uplift. It can be made with made with both malted and unmalted wheat. In Germany Hefe come from yeast or beer with yeast that is typically unfiltered and that is showcased by Weihenstephan which claims to be oldest brewery in the world through their beers.
Thirsty Simona: This one’s a Indian co but they brew in Bosnia under Alex their brew master.
American Wheat Beer
This style is America’s take on the traditional Bavarian Hefeweizen but without the spice. The beers are summer beer which are thirst quenching with great balance of malts and hops. The bittering units are low and so are the hops. The style has been making waves and become mainstream over the last one decade.
Arbor Easy Rider:
An easy drinking beer for the tropical weather with good balance of hops and malt. Hence the name perhaps!
IPA or India Pale Ale was created for India, not for Indians bur for the British Colonists in India. The British got their ration of beer directly shipped from England; however, a lot of beer was spoilt during the long and arduous sea voyage. To overcome this, the brewers started to work on different ingredients and then finally decided to harness the power of two ingredients which were already a part of the beer, Hops the flavouring agents in beer and alcohol the by product of fermentation. They made a more alcoholic beer and hopped them more than usual. When the beer reached Indian, it wasn’t spoilt, it was more aromatic, and it was bitter. The soldiers loved it and Voila, the India Pale Ale was created.
IPA’s have got popular in India over the last decade majorly owing to the craft beer scene in India, and we heard recently about Kimaya brewing co based out of Pune created the ‘IPA Divas by the Pune Beer Mandal’ , translates from Marathi to ‘IPA Day by the Pune Beer Association’. It just reiterates the increasing popularity for the beer category; however, IPA is not for all; specially the Indian palate. The bitterness is the hurdle and hence most brewers keep the IBU (international bittering units) relatively low. low for the Indian palate. IPA hence has flourished in our opinion and now also coming in bottles for those who do not have access to brew pubs around them.
Here the 4 Indian IPA beer brands:
Bira IPA: The Bira version of how Indian would love an IPA. This one is brewed with pomelo and is very zest and citrusy. It used a blend of barley and wheat and is flavoured with Citra and Mosaic hops.
White Rhino: At 40 IBU the bitterness is very controlled. The brand uses Ahtahnum, Cascade, Mosaic and Styrian Goldings hops for their brew.
Arbor Beach Shack IPA: They call it a session IPA, session refers to low alcohol beers this IPA at 6 is much lower than traditional IPAs. Citra and Centennials hops give it that aromatic thrust.
Eight Finger Eddie by Goa Brewing Co: Gutsy attempt and a successful one at lauching an IPA as their maiden and flagship product. This one with 30 UBU is a very easy drinking IPA with pleasant aromas.
Hoppy Feet by Briggs Brewery: The latest entrant to the bottled craft beers segment in India , this American IPA is brewed in Bengaluru and now available in the city's retail.
Cognac is the world’s best-known brandy. In India Cognac if often associated with Bollywood, “Cognac sharaab nahi hoti” said Rishi Kapoor in Chandni 1989 and then Shahrukh Khan to Kajol in DDLJ 6 years later. If you read between the lines and try to understand the deeper meaning, may be it relates to what the Indian upper classes generally think of the beverage, sophistication. Well Cognac certainly deserves the respect for all it undergoes to come into ones lead free crystal.
Cognac is made from the Ugni blanc grape, double distilled in a special copper pot still called the alembic charentaise and then ages for a minimum of 2 years in oak barrels, either new or in the ones that carried a wine or a wine-based spirit. These days a sherry or a port cask finish is quite common in the Cognac world. The time they spend in the barrel in indicates as VS, VSOP and XO in an ascending order of 2 years, 4 years and 10 years. The years indicate the youngest cognac in the bottle, the oldest may be 5 decades old. This is where the art of Cognac blending comes into picture.
The Cognac market in India is most in the Southern states of India, Tamil Nadu and Kerala where the blue collared drink locally made brandy (mostly made from molasses) and the upper strata drinks Cognac. So, the following brands of Cognac are available not so readily in India but for the top 3.
Martell: The oldest of the big four in Cognac, the house of Martell was found in 1715 by a Englishman. The brand is now owned by Pernod Ricard and is known for its Borderies focussed Cognac, Borderies being the sub-region where the terroir or the growing environment gives it’s a floral overtone.
Remy Martin: Known for its specialty the ‘Fine Champagne’ Cognac which is a blend of grapes grown in Grande and Petit Champagne the most prestigious regions known for its long-lived Cognacs. It also produces the Louis XIII Cognac, it goes at Rs 3 lakhs plus a bottle.
Hennessy: The market leader of the Cognac world, Hennessy commands a 50% market share globally. It was found by an Irishman, Richard Hennessy in 1765 and today is owned the conglomerate LVMH. They claim to have over 70 cellars in Cognac.
Delamain: Established in 1759, Delamain is one of the oldest and still family run Cognac house. They make only Grand Champagne Cognacs and only XO Cognac which put them in the top tier immediately.
Pierre Ferrand: This house was only found in 1989 and emphasises on 100% Grand Champagne Cognacs which are richer in style. They do not use the known VS, VSOP nomenclature but use proprietary ones. One called the Reserve which is equivalent of a VSOP is available in India.
Otard: Made in the building Chateau de Cognac where Francis the 1st the initiator of the French renaissance was born, Otard was found in 1795 by Jean Baptiste Otard. He was the Mayor of Cognac until his death. The brand is owned by Bacardi now. This Cognac ages in cellars which are at the level of the Charente river with very high humidity and dry cellars over ground which give more blends for the final.
Camus: A family owned company found in 1863, Camus starting 1990s emphasizes on Borderies and also have a 100% Borderies XO Cognac which is their signature. They are also one of those have wine aged expressions in their repertoire.
Courvoisier: Being the only official supplier to Napoleon , Courvoisier has basked in the glory of the title ‘Brandy of the Napoleon’ ever since. They were also the Cognac to toast the ‘unveiling’ of the Eiffel tower.
Godet: Found in 1783, this is an outlier of the lot as the house is based in La Rochelle a town in Cognac on the Atlantic coast. Going back in history this was the town where the technology of distillation met the wines of today Back then they called it "Brandwijn" in Dutch which translated to burnt wine.Today Cognac is the greatest of the burnt wines in the world.
Hine: Found in 1763 and based in heart of the Grande Champagne , Hine is know for its vintage Cognacs and specially "Hine Early-Landed Vintage Cognac" the barrels of which are aged in the damp cellars in Bristol, England. This English connection goes back to Thomas Hine who was originally English.
One counter of the breakfast buffet at my hotel in Athens had an exquisite decanter like bejeweled bottle which read ‘Tsikoudia’ and some shot glasses. I saw people pouring a 40% something alcoholic beverage and sipping it alongside their eggs, cheese and pastries. I had never seen this culture before. Greece, certainly not the oldest civilization but the Greeks were the birthplace of the western philosophy. The idea of democracy, scientific and mathematics principles, literature and drama and more emerged from here. Given their strategic location in the midst of Asia, Africa and Europe, the Romans, the Persians and the Ottomans had their eras in Greece thus giving us a rich history and a reason to visit Greece. Of course islands, beaches, party zones are as much motivation to go holidaying on the islands. I had a different motivation to visit Greece, it was the gourmet angle. Baklava, Gyros and Souvlakis to Greece are like Pizzas and Pastas to Italy and I had my share of those. After that breakfast with Tsikoudia, I set out to find more about what the Greeks drink! Apart from their incredible wines and commonplace beers, here is a list of beverages you should try on your vacation to the islands this summer.
It is a pomace brandy made from pomace which is the residue of grape skins etc from the wine press. It is also called Tsikoudia on the island of Crete, the same one I had for breakfast. Tsipouro is best had chilled and neat however many people dilute it with water and ice. The beverage comes as is or with Anise flavouring and these days aged ones are also common.
This is perhaps the most recognizable spirit outside of Greece, an anise flavoured spirit which turns cloudy when mixed with water. It takes its roots from Tsipouro which was created my monks in the 14th century and their anise version got to be known as Ouzo. Ouzo only became popular in the 20th century with the downfall of Absinthe. Ouzo is served with mezze or Greek appetizers and I loved it during the nip in the spring evenings.
It is brandy based liqueur which is flavoured with Mastic a resin drawn out of the Mastic tree. The resin also known as Arabic gum is known for its medicinal and antioxidant properties since millennia. The Mastica is produced in the island of Chios where the Mastic tree grows. Mastic translates to ‘gnash the teeth’ and is the root of the English word ‘masticate’. Mastica can be enjoyed in a variety of cocktails
Another drink with resin, this time pine resin used to flavour wine. 2000 years ago when wine used to be prone to oxidation, the amphorae or clay pots used to be sealed with pine resin , the pine kept the oxygen out but imparted flavour to the wine. When barrels came into the scene the resin became obsolete however the consumers enjoyed the resinous taste and Retsina stayed on and is popular even today.
It is a brand but I have included this here as it was the first Greek brandy which began selling in 1888 and since then survived both world wars, only one of the two companies to do so the other was a tobacco co. Metaxa is an oak-aged brandy mixed with fragrant muscat wines and then flavoured with natural herbs and floral extracts. Metaxa and Tonic and in cocktails Metaxa Juleps and other such long refreshing drinks are preferred.
Hotel management careers ? Beverage is the choice for most. The beverage industry is alluring to many from the outside and as beverage professionals we can confirm that it is as much from the inside however passion is the driving force to stay put in the industry. As a fresh hotel management graduate or as a student of hospitality, many are quite disillusioned as to what the industry has to offer based on their industrial training experiences or influenced by colleagues. For them they know that the hardships in hotels and restaurants are not their cup of tea however they do not know where to go to! Through this article we are highlighting career paths in beverages for hotel management students however we would like to reinstate that hardships are everywhere and passion is the key. There is no easy way out
1)Bartender: The more glamorous term is mixologist and even more is the Bar Chef doing the round these days! An experienced bartender with 4-6 years of experience can get over Rs 50000 a month in bars and a skilled bartender is always in demand. Don’t shy away from taking your first job as a assistant barman in a very good bar , the first few years are the foundation of a glorious career which could take your to various countries. The Happy High bartending academy offers a full time 6 week bartending course. Check details here.
2)Sommelier: Translates to a wine waiter in English, the Sommelier’s role in India is still nascent and taking shape. The role initially would involve stacking of bottles, serving on the floor and as the career progresses once is also responsible for buying and P&Ls. A lot of Indian sommeliers are making their presence felt in the Middle East and South Asia and countries like Maldives and Seychelles. The minimum requirement to get on the floor knowledgeably is through a WSET ( Wine and Spirit Education trust) lev 2 qualification or a CMS ( Court of Master Sommeliers) both of which cost Over Rs 32000.For those who don’t want to spend as much as want to test the wine industry , The Happy High has an introductory course focusing on wine tasting technique for Rs 5500.
3)Wine Salesman: Which hotelier doesn’t like Sunday day offs! This job will give you 9 hr work days and a better work life balance. The flipside is the sales pressure and the hardships on the field be it summers, winters or rains and outside an air conditioned environment. A wine sales fresher could start at Rs 15000 and move up the ladder with experience. A wine tasting course will certainly help the aspirant with more jargons and move him/her ahead of the class in interviews.
4)Brand Ambassador: After having been in career option 1 or 2 as above for long, could be 6-8 years opportunities to be a brand ambassador for a liquor co or an import co come around once in a while. This job role entails one to be the educator and the spokesperson for the brand and offers a good work life balance and decent money many a time going to a lac plus. The downside of this role could be monotony and then inability to go back to the rigours of hotel or bar operations thus reducing your job options.
5)Beverage Journalist: For those who can paint with words a beverage journalist role could be your gateway to the world! Beverage journalists often get opportunities to travel to different wine and spirit regions around the world on invitation and taste the best of luxury. The flipside is the relatively less pay the profession offers. A wine course will help you with this , but the command over language and a crash course in journalism could help further.
There are gifts and there are gifts to impress. The way to the man’s heart is through his stomach believe some but some men with finer tastes in life have it through their liver. You got me; few things could be more impressive than the lady being proactive in setting up her man’s wine and spirit closet. One liver, so you better ensure that he is drinking the best. This valentine day here are some tipples you want to bedazzle your date with.
Johnnie Walker Green Label
An outlier from the JW portfolio, the Green is a blend of malts and has no grain whisky unlike other expressions from the range. You will find the elements from four corners of Scotland with hints of Talisker, Caol Ila, Cragganmore and Linkwood.
El Dorado 15 year old
Always in the top rums of the world, this Demerara rum takes its name from a river in Guyana. The brand from the only distilling co in the country is made in century old wooden stills; a rare treat. El Dorado is a sipping rum best had neat.
With the essence of grapefruit and other citrus elements, this gin is best had with a dry tonic with a slice of your favourite fruit, preferably citrus. I love to put in a mogra or Arabian Jasmine flower for that extra burst of aroma.
The bottle stands out amongst bourbon whiskies and the liquid doesn’t fail to impress. Aged in barrels made in their own cooperage this elixir shows nuances of prunes and figs with the freshness of orange, it is well rounded but more crisp than luscious.
Paul John Bold
This homegrown Single Malt from Goa is available in over 20 countries and scores over 94 points in the whisky bible. At 40 ppm peat this smoky whisky is likely to impress those who love their Islay malts.It is a perfect blend for making penicillins and sours too. If you are in the mood to splurge then Goa has another expression, the “Kanya’ which was adjudged Asian whisky of the year in the Whisky Bible.
Lastly don’t forget to look into your partner’s eyes when clinking your glasses or it will be 7 years of bad sex as per a French belief! Wish you a love filled Valentine’s Day.