Mixologist Rohan Matmary was, recently, crowned the winner of the third edition of Brown- Forman American Whiskey Legacy Cocktail Challenge 2019. The Bengaluru-based bartender wowed the judges with his creations “Lillianaire” and “Aztec Mule” in the annual competition featuring the top 17 mixologists from across the country.
Rohan Matmary is also the assistant general manager and mixologist at Byg Brewski.
In an interview with Restaurant India, Mixologist Rohan Matmary says, “millennials look for intriguing flavours.”
Making conscious resolution towards the art of mixology
I started my career as a trainee bartender in Trident, Gurugram. I agreed to join because The Oberoi Group was always the dream for every IHM graduate. In the very first week, I found myself to be very impressed with the senior bartender - the attitude, the finesse and the sheer passion towards the art of mixing drinks. Somewhere, that day was the first day of my conscious resolution towards mixology.
So I started working in the dispense section, and I still love that part of the bar. When there are few guests on weekdays, there is ample time to experiment and to master a cocktail.
Interesting findings of the beverage industry
Beverage industry will never go out of fashion. There is no end to learning in this industry. So it becomes important to find the right team, mentor and leader who enable your growth.
Consumption patterns of alcohol among Indian consumers
As a collective, bartenders only cater to 10% of the country's total alcohol consumption. Although I believe, we have seen a drastic change in the style of drinking. In the past two years, we have seen white spirits consumption grow exponentially and also drop. Brown spirits taking the sidecar for a while and now picking up with tall cocktails coming into the picture.
When it comes to cocktails that have created a niche for themselves with awards and recognition, it is more about distinct flavours.
Today, consumers are well travelled, which encourages bartenders to match international standards and expectations. It had initiated a palate for liqueurs but it needs far more development.
What alcoholic beverage millennials love most?
Millennials prefer Gin and Modern whiskeys as the base to their cocktails. They look for intriguing flavours and things which create a buzz on Social Media. Although, there is also a small space of millennials who know their booze and prefer to stick to it.
Experimenting with Unusual Ingredients
I don't consider anything unusual because every ingredient has a distinct quality. Some ingredients that excite me are chicken stock, 24 karat gold flakes, butterfly pea flowers, acids and salts.
Pro-tips for aspiring mixologists
Find the right boss. Do the right thing, at the right time. Never take hasty decisions (they always show you a downfall), Search for Cognition and Recognition shall follow.
Mixology trends in India
2019, I believe, will be focused on non-alcoholic drinks to a certain level, due to the sheer ignorance that the segment has suffered in the past. Colours and nostalgia will also be the focus. Sustainability will play a major role in bar designs and menu designs.
We may even explore fermented drinks like Kombucha. When we talk about cocktails - multi-sensory experiences, usage of bitters and Amari come into the picture. Unexpected ingredient pairings must be what we are looking forward to. And, as always, Instagram-friendly cocktails will rise.
Five tips to appreciate alcoholic drinks
If you are ordering a top-shelf spirit, go neat or on the rocks. Do not spoil the journey the dream will take you through by adding juices and sodas.
Take 5 minutes to read the menu or listen to the bartender before you decide what you would like to order. Most of the cocktail complaints happen due to this misunderstanding.
Know the differences between different liquids. This is very important to understand because every ingredient used in a cocktail leaves a distinct change in the flavour. And if the consumer doesn't understand this, he will never appreciate a cocktail.
Patience is the key. Every craft cocktail is the bloodshed tears of a mixologist who has worked night and day to master his menu. Take it slow.
Avoid smoking during or before tasting good spirits to feel the flavours and aromas from the bottle.