Over 25 bars, live music, art and delicious food—that pretty much sums up what awaits you at Jaymahal Palace Hotel Bengaluru on the weekend at India Cocktail Week. The two-day cocktail village event will be a mix of bar takeovers, popups and exciting cocktail and food experiences, with some of the leading F&B brands on board. Whether you like your gin with tonic or whisky on the rocks or a nice smooth cocktail with lots of flavour – it’s all here.
From The House of Suntory, Black & White, OBE Cocktails, Baileys, Jameson to Monkey 47, Monkey Shoulder, Malfy, SALUD, Greater Than, Maka Zai, and the popular favourites Bacardi, Bombay Sapphire, Beefeater, Absolut and Jameson, to name a few, might we warn you that you will be spoiled for choice. Bars such as 10 Speakeasy, Bombay Borough, Sanchez, Traveller's Bungalow, Hopshaus, 1BHK, Gawky Goose, Brassa, Prequel, Gatsby, Peepai, Zodiac, Social, Smoke House Deli, Klinx among others are leaving no stone unturned to make sure they lure you in with their creations.
And to take you to a different zone, there’s music by When Chai Met Toast, Worakls, Kampai and Madstarbase.
In a quick chat with Zee Zest, Rakshay Dhariwal, co-founder of ICW and Passcode Hospitality, tells us about the event and what’s hot in the cocktail scene.
1. Tell us about the ethos behind India Cocktail Week? What made you come up with the idea?
Despite India being one of the most diverse and interesting destinations with regards to F&B, it has never received the recognition it deserves. The standard set at our cocktail bars across the country are no longer second to anywhere else, and this is slowly being recognised by international award platforms like 50 Best. Our aim is to gather as much attention as possible to further help propel not only our cocktail bars, but to increase the international exposure that India receives.
2. Is the event more brand focused or is it more skill focused? How do the bars get on board, or in brief, how does the curation process happen?
It is both brand and skill focused. We do international take overs, cocktail workshops and masterclasses as well as brands creating unique and interesting experiences. We approach the best bars of the city and take help from our trusted sources in each city to get the pulse of who is doing what cocktail wise. We approach them directly and sign them up to be a part of ICW.
3. What are some of the trends you’ve spotted cocktails in India vis a vis the past four-five years?
Today you will see all modern techniques like the use of Rotovaps, sous vide machines for infusions, clarifications, like with a milk punch, etc, however five years ago you would only see techniques like shrubs, and clear ice. Another trend which has grown and will continue to grow is gastronomy. Along with food, it’s flowing in cocktails as well and it’s now an experiential for the customer unlike pre covid times. Just five years ago, the gin scene in India’s was non-existent. But the country now has its own gin game on. You can relish it straight up or on the rock, can add mixers or tonic water. The spirit has evolved from just a drink to a culture that is increasingly being fostered by festivals, tonic brands, special occasions, etc. Owing to the versatility of the spirit and the multiplicity of occasions that Gin is relevant in, it is increasingly being added to consumers’ alcohol repertoire as the go-to tipple. An emerging new spirit in the coming year is tequila and I see it growing massively in 2023.
4. What is your perspective when it comes to Indian cocktails on a global platform? Where do you see room for improvement?
The global palate is definitely inclining towards Indian food already, it’s just a matter of time that cocktails will get there as well, with the liberty and freedom given to Indian mixologist we will most definitely get there. Before, it was straight up drinks that were preferred, but lately cocktail bars are on the rise and some good ones that aren’t shying away from trying exquisite ingredients and techniques to up their game. Many Indian spirits are already making waves on a global platform, and cocktails will get there soon too. It's getting there, and this year we had five Indian bars in Asia’s Top 50 along with three in the World’s Top 50.