Two years ago, a sales exec walked into a bar, cut to 2019, he’s now one of India’s Top 10 mixologist competing on an international platform like World Class. Was it luck, passion or destiny? Rohit Gurav the bartender from Arth, Mumbai tell us all about his life-changing decision about taking up bartending.
When did you first realise you wanted to be a bartender?
I was working in sales until a friend suggested I try bartending on a cruise ship. They paid well, he said. I was at the early stage of my career and thought why not give it a shot. Soon, I was training at a bartending institute by day and working as a trainee bartender by night. And things worked out just fine. Even before I applied for a cruise job, I found my way to the bar counters of Arth, met my mentor Jeet Rana (World Class 2016 India Champion) and here I am, competing in World Class 2019.
What cocktail do you order when you’re on the other side of the bar?
I like a classic Old Fashioned.
One overrated drink you’re tired of hearing people order
It makes no sense to me when people ask for a ‘Mojito Without Ice’. When there’s no ice, the mint will float on top and will taste nothing like what the cocktail is meant to be.
Tell us a bartending trick you learned during World Class
I can’t just pick one. I saw someone use a smoke gun when making a drink, which created a bubble. I had never seen anything like that before. It really stunned me. Another contender made homemade coconut wine, again something I’ve never heard of before. It was an interesting experience and an educating one too.
Tell us about your World Class cocktail creation and how it stands out from the rest
My World Class cocktail is called “Wisdom”. I wanted to refer to the knowledge of all the concepts I learnt at World Class. I used the single ingredient and smoke modules in my cocktail. The single ingredient I used was corn. I used charred corn puree for the drink, then used the husk to make coasters and even the leftover corn cob to make straws.
What cocktails should we be sipping in 2019?
I think people should be trying Low ABV cocktails. They make for great brunch sippers.
Other than your own, which other World Class cocktail by any of the top 10 bartenders did you like the most and why?
I liked the sustainable cocktail called Walk Together made by Devi Singh.
Now that you're in the top 10, how do you plan to impress your guests?
My mom always says that work to express yourself not to impress. But I am sure that my concept and my ideas will win the hearts of judges as well as guests.
Tell us one incident from your early bartending days that taught you a lesson for life
When I began working with Jeet sir, I discovered bartending like never before. He introduced me to the actual bar industry and cocktail competitions. I have participated in many such competitions, but my goal is to win World Class, just like my idol Jeet Rana.
If you could choose anyone at all to share a drink with right now, who would pick and what drink would it be?
I would say my best friend from the industry, Mohan Barkola. He is a gem of a person, a good human being and has a great sense of humour. What more could I want from a drinking buddy?
Follow the World Class India page for the latest updates about Rohit Gurav and the other top 10 bartenders.