Hospitality Industry has been booming ever since its inception and at a rapid rate since 2010 in India. This is highly because the people know what options they have for leisure and entertainment. Indians now-a-days are more open to exploring, when it comes to food and beverage. The taboo of alcohol that I mentioned earlier no longer exists in our country anymore and people are opening up to exploring spirits more prominently. This is a great sign for the beverage industry as entrepreneurs can boldly step into opening up a bar which serves more than just a quarter! Just opening a bar, without a unique idea may just be mainstream, but yes it is a fantastic prospect that we have considered. Binny Dhadwal, Founder at Flaming Trio shares the art of bartending. Here are the excerpts from the interview:
Journey in the world of beverages
In India, drinking and serving alcohol was always considered a taboo, so definitely while growing up in an Indian family, speaking about alcohol was awkward. My interest in the hospitality industry is what brought my attention back to spirits, via bartending obviously! Learning more and more about bartending, enabled me to build a positive perception about this profession in the hospitality industry. Alcohol has so much more to it, than just its natural consumption aspect. My passion for bartending, curious nature and will to explore, led me to be creative in the world of beverages. Today, you can put up a challenging drink request and I will make sure that I come through with the best quality. Such confidence comes with years of experience; it’s not child’s play, there is a lot to learn and more than that to do. Bartending is all about creativity, implementation and also a responsibility. One should definitely know how to mix the right ingredients with the spirits carefully, to create a drink of exceptional quality. Educating the crowd to drink responsibly and making healthy drinks is another important aspect. You could say this is a rough code to be followed and it has personally given me an identity and made me popular as a flair bartender.
How did Drinq Happen?
Bartending is and has always been a passion that is close to my heart. After mixing drinks and creating experiences for so many years, learning and acquiring knowledge in abundance, it made me feel that there is something I should give back to this industry! Drinq Barmen and Academy is a brainchild project of like-minded people and my close buddies, Gagandeep Singh, Jitin Merani who handle our operations and Moksh Sani who supplies the requirements from his brand Living Liquidz. As an academy we provide training such as creativity, innovation, mixing, social skills, etc. Together we also work and provide barmen services for events and concerts. It has always been my goal to make bartending a responsible and respectable career option in the hospitality industry and that is what we plan to achieve here at Drinq Barmen and Academy.
How does bartending work?
Bartending is a lot more than what people expect, and quite fortunately I have pretty much been of every division of bartending to answer this question. Bartending, is a profession, where a bartender is creates and serves alcoholic or soft beverages behind the bar. Now there are two types of bartending done first, within a licensed establishment such as a bar, restaurant and a hotel. The bar is fixed and drinks are made as per an a-la-carte menu. Second is the bar set-up for events at banquets, open ground spaces where licenses are required for the duration of the set-up. The bar could have a pre-paid drinks plan or a pay by the drink/a-la-carte menu. However, the format of mixing and serving remains the same. It’s generally busier and has to be quick at a pre-paid drinks party, for obvious reasons… (laughs).
Playing cupid with the customers
Bartenders often play cupid and I personally have fun doing this. You get to see this dramatic side to people. Also helping a brother/sister in need is definitely something a barman prefers. Our intention is never to let it progress into physical reaction, that is something that's up to the consenting adults and we play no part in that. Our part is simply to help one get the attention of the other and get two people talking by probably offering a special unique mix that’s not made for anyone else... I do make something special that way and I like to call it the love portion. The idea is to get their attention by some doing juggling acts or other antics and then introduce them to someone who has been looking out for them... it’s easy and lots of fun. Well we do it for the greater good....bringing people together is one great feeling that you can be a part of as a barmen.
How to score a free drink. What is the strategy to it?
Ooh, that one doesn’t come easy. The bartender needs you to be in the back of their minds for you to score a free drink. A barman has to deal with a lot of different issues at one time, overly drunk customers, confiding guests, and people looking to score free drinks….. (Laughs), etc. It is very important for one to make a positive impression over the bartender. The easiest way is to be a regular. You walk-in, four to six times a week, put on that smile, be polite, probably tip a few times and done, you make it to the good list of a bartender which may help you score free drinks. Back then for me, just being polite and a great conversationalist worked in the customer’s favor.
How do you play with a drink- using the right mixture and method?
Behind a bar, six spirits, whiskey, tequila, rum, gin, brandy and vodka, build the foundation of any good drink. With years of training and experience I have understood that it is very important to get the amount of alcohol and mixers right. I personally follow a 2:1:1 ratio rule where there are two parts of alcohol, 1 part of sour such as lime juice and 1 part of sweet such as simple syrup. Moving ahead there is a 4:1:1 ratio too to make a stronger drink. Going anything above that that ratio changes. Another strong drink is 8:2:1, spirits need to go well together and the mixers shall be blended in accordingly as the sweet and sour ingredients enhance the flavor of the spirit rather than masking it. If not done right a drink could go horribly wrong.
Etiquettes are very important in any walks of life. There is a list full of etiquettes for both the bartender and the guests, but there are three commandments that a bartender should absolutely follow! The first one is - no alcohol at work. The second - keeping the counter neat and clean and the last one is – no wastage of alcohol. These three rules are absolutely necessary and they we all, bartenders should live by it.
What is your view on the growth of the sector?
Hospitality and the food & beverage industry is definitely required to grow as it plays a very important role in everyone’s day to day life. For a customer, it is fun, a bonding time and it is a way to unload or is an outlet of a hard day of work. For people who work in the industry the growth is required, as a career in the industry can be rewarding and can compensate for the demand of working when others are having fun. To speak specifically about the bar industry, it is essential that people understand their wine, beer and spirit to enjoy it better rather than just chugging It and getting intoxicated. Our country is definitely doing that right now, people know what the difference between white, red and rose wine and that is good enough. The industry is definitely growing growth rate is exceptional.