There’s a good cocktail and then there’s one that will leave you simply amazed! Arun Kumar, the bartender from Chipstead in Chennai, is all about taking a simple cocktail all the way to that point of extravagance.
It is this particular skill that has brought him to the Top 10 list of bartenders at World Class 2019. This bartending competition by Diageo Reserve picks the best bartenders from the country to compete on an international platform. One national finalist will make it to the global final that’s going to be held in Glasgow this year.
Arun was chosen from a list of 50 talented bartenders from all over India. He stood out among the rest for a bunch of reasons. We spoke to him to find out more about his style of bartending and his World Class journey.
When did you first realise you wanted to be a bartender?
I always wanted to do something extraordinary. So, when I got a chance to train at different hotels and colleges, I was instantly attracted to mixing drinks and realised bartending was something that was really special.
What cocktail do you order when you’re on the other side of the bar?
Old Fashioned! Because there’s a certain simplicity to this cocktail.
One overrated drink you’re tired of hearing people order
The Flaming Lamborghini. It is popular these days simply because it’s trending globally. The only appeal of this cocktail is the glass tower that’s set on fire and not the actual drink.
Tell us a bartending tip you learned during World Class
The most important thing I learnt at World Class was the concept of sustainability and how leftovers should not be underestimated. They can contribute to not only a fantastic cocktail but also help the environment.
Tell us about your World Class cocktail creation and how it stands out from the rest
I was intrigued by the sustainable single ingredient concept so much that I created my whole cocktail using this ingredient. My cocktail is called “The Myth” and it is made using a single pumpkin in every possible way. I used pumpkin juice, shrubs and tincture to make the cocktail. Then I powdered the seeds to rim the glasses. I even made the coasters from pumpkin.
Basically, I aimed to create a sustainable cocktail using a single ingredient that would not only appeal to the taste buds but all 5 senses.
What cocktails should we be sipping in 2019?
A good cocktail to me is the one with the right proportions that will leave all your senses astonished at how perfectly it is made. You should be sipping on any cocktail that makes you feel like that.
Other than your own, which other WC cocktail by any of the top 10 bartenders did you like the most and why?
Morse Code by Azar was great because he used the ingredient tamarind in a very interesting way. He also used edible paper as a garnish with a QR code and that left me stunned.
Tell us one incident from your early bartending days that taught you a lesson for life
I was once sent out of the bar for not knowing the difference between tonic and soda. That’s when I realised that knowing the basics is extremely crucial, as it allows us to take control of every situation.
If you could choose anyone at all to share a drink with right now, who would you pick and what drink would it be?
I would share not one but many drinks with my mentor Asmani Subramanian. We would create something new for each other to try.
Follow the World Class India finals here to see which of the Top 10 bartenders win the national finals!
Also Read: Devi Singh Tells Us What It Takes To Deliver The Ultimate World Class Cocktail