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'Artisanal Bars' For The Discerning

Concept bars with crafted cocktails made of natural ingredients, are becoming the go-to places for the well-travelled city slickers

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An artisanal cocktail bar is all about originality. While it is a common sight in many parts of the world, especially Europe, it is only now catching pace in India. Such is the draw of artisanal cocktails that even non cocktail drinkers don’t mind trying the unique blend offerings with a homemade touch.

The globetrotting discerning drinkers are only too happy to find the same experience on home ground and are actively seeking it.

Artisanal cocktails are all about creative innovations using the right technique, good quality ingredients and striking a fine balance that comes with many years of experimentation and consumer preference. It is also about using ingredients that are home grown, like in-house bitters, cordials, purees, tinctures, liqueurs and garnishes.

Yangdup Lama, senior mixologist and co-owner Sidecar says, “We saw a vacuum in the cocktail centric bar space when we decided to open our artisanal bar. Delhi has quite a few bars but there are very few that are into crafted cocktails or led by a bartender. The focus at Sidecar is cocktails and all the fourteen signature cocktails are a mix of in-house brews, and mixers that are unique to us.” Apart from the classic Sidecar, the bespoke bar offers an interesting variation made of bourbon whiskey, homemade corn puree along with fresh lime juice and orange juice. 

Internationally, artisanal cocktail bars are growing in huge numbers and the use of quality ingredients in cocktails has been a trend for over a decade now. “We in India are not far behind with now quite a few good bars in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore that are doing some extraordinary creations. We might be in a nascent stage but we have the advantage of our diverse culture and the offering that we would be second to none,” says Yangdup.

According to Nitin Tewari, Beverage Head at Together at 12th, Le Meridien, “The bar scene in the country has come a long way from just serving up the standard cocktails. Nowadays a bar wants to be identified for its unique offering. Months and months of research go into creating the right ambience and theme to go with the cocktail philosophy of a place.” The much acclaimed bartender likes to create a tale around each cocktail and prefers using only fresh locally sourced ingredients.  His philosophy- Simplicity is at the heart of anything intelligent and it is better to steer clear of anything too elaborate!” The in-house infused tonics at Together at 12th give the cocktails a refreshing edge. Nitin has worked with some of India's most recognized bars and was at the helm of curating the bar menu at the popular Ek Bar in the capital. He has been an integral part of the cocktail revolution in the country and is confident it is only set to grow.

Cocktail bars are truly coming of age offering not just standard fare but much more attention to detail complimenting the taste and style of its patrons. Here’s hoping we see more of such forward-thinking drinking dens on the cityscape.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Artisanal Bars Sidecar food

Shveta Bhagat

The author is a Delhi-based freelance writer

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