Saturday night and cocktails are the perfect pairings for a good weekend. Wouldn’t you agree?
So, when I heard there’s a World Class Cocktail Festival happening, I thought, why not check it out! I’ve had plenty of cocktails in my life but never had I ever come across any that called themselves World Class worthy.
Hoping for a good experience and a chilled cocktail, I stepped out on a hot, sultry Saturday evening and headed straight to Diageo Reserve’s Cocktail Festival at WeWork, Gurugram.
Now, for those of you who haven’t heard of it, World Class is an international bartending competition, brought to you by Diageo. The best bartenders from the country are trained to compete in it and one finalist from India goes to the global final happening in Glasgow this year. The cocktail festival I was going to attend was the regional finals. Which means, the drinks would be top-notch and competition-worthy!
Nuff said! That’s all the convincing I needed to race right to this event.
As I stepped into the plush venue, I was greeted by a Johnnie Walker installation and the smell of fruity cocktails. The place was bustling with some of the best bartenders jostling cocktail shakers and stirrers behind glossy counters. This just got me further excited about the delicious drinks awaiting me.
Among the cocktailing crowd of Delhi, I also saw a few known faces of the food and culinary industry. Kelvin Cheung, Vir Sanghvi and Yangdup Lama were the panellists at the event, sharing their words of inspiration and motivation.
By now, I was more than curious to try out some of these fabulous-looking cocktails being served at the counter.
As I stepped towards it, every bartender had a bright smile on their face. They made me their signature World Class cocktail and let out little secrets of what went into making the perfect punch.
The first thing I tried was a Tech Tonic Jamun Tanqueray cocktail and it was pure magic. The colour, the consistency and the garnish, everything was done to perfection. And then, when I took the first sip, I could feel the rush of the tangy Jamun flavour delighting my taste buds. It was like a refreshing fruit blast with a bittersweet aftertaste.
And that’s not all, next stop was the Pumpkin Tartan Tiki cocktail.
A mind-boggling mix of pumpkin, pineapple, grapes, cinnamon and Talisker blew my mind completely. I never imagined that there could be so many interesting flavours in one cocktail.
To add to the already happening evening, the bartender, as cheerful as always, kept me entertained with his humorous banter and tricks behind the bar. This was the first time I saw a bartender pull a juggling act for real in front of me and conjure a garnish to my cocktail as his finishing move. What a showman, he had me wowing and cheering all in one go.
What better way to end the night, right! It was an experience in itself and an honour to relish the cocktails served by India’s best bartenders.
What’s more exciting is that the best among the lot will represent India at Glasgow, in the World Class global finals.
May the best man win!
Written by Bidisha Sarkhel