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These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things!

What does bar equipment mean to mixologists? How does it help bartenders whip up their magical concoctions? Brews & Spirits spoke to some behind-the-bar experts about their pet pieces…

Devi Singh Bhati is Head Mixologist of Firefly, at Pedritos, Goa. He is Diageo World Class (India) 2019 winner; was named Inca Best Mixologist (Goa) winner in 2017 and 2018; and was finalist at some prestigious national mixology competitions.

 

What’s your favourite bar equipment?

I was fascinated by the movie Cocktail, with Tom Cruise shaking a drink with a cocktail shaker. I always wanted to do that; and that perhaps attracted me to shaking cocktails. That is why my favourite tool is the cocktail shaker.

After I became a bartender I realised how important a cocktail shaker is. I love the Koriko shakers from Cocktail Kingdom because of their quality and design. It’s very comfortable also to do craft flair and attract your guests toward this art.

Why do you like it?

I like its design because it is very smooth to work with, easy to open and has a good grip.

How do you attract customers to the bar using it?

I try to attract my guests while using some art flair as the shakers are awesome to work with, and we can develop some amazing flair styles with them.

Any superstitions connected to it?

Hmmm. No superstitions.

How many cocktails do you make with it?

I make around 50 drinks per day using those shakers.

What excites you the most about this tool?

The sound of the liquid within is so peaceful to the soul of a bartender!

Do you carry this while you’re not in the bar? Why?

Yes, I always carry it. As a bartender we never know when we might need – it can be useful at any time.

 

 

Rohan Matmary, aka ‘Rogue Rohan’, is Head of Beverages at Byg Brewski Brewing Company, Bengaluru. Starting as a Bar Manager, he was promoted to Senior Beverage Manager before taking up his current role of steering the beverage experiences into exciting new realms.

He is a leading mixologists in the country with a big tally of awards that include the North American Whiskey Legacy Challenge 2019, The Glenfiddich World’s Most Experimental Bartender (India) 2018 and The Monkey Shoulder Flash Competition 2019.

 

What’s your favourite bar equipment?

Erik Lorincz’s Birdy Cobbler Shaker.

Why do you like it?

The shaker uses their signature vertical grain polishing which is a 10-step technique to reduce stress on the ingredients. Each Birdy Shaker has exactly the same weight and shape, which has helped me standardise my cocktails and motion.

How do you attract customers to the bar using it?

Cobblers have always been a sign of a well experienced bar. Cobblers are traditionally used by a lot of Japanese bartenders. I had always faced a challenge to shake two sets of Boston Shakers together. The Birdy solved this for me. It has been my +1 in bar tools for more than 2 years now.

Any superstitions connected to it?

I have always believed that you only need to shake a cocktail once in a Birdy. It has never demanded a dry shake from me.

How many cocktails do you make?

At least 10 per day.

What excites you the most about it?

The art and science that has gone into creating the perfect shaker excites me. To think there is so much more to bartending than we really know motivates me to do much more every day.

Do you carry this while you’re not in the bar? Why?

Gylt (the bar next to Big Brewski) stocks 12 Birdy Shakers, so I don’t carry them when I am at work. But yes, I carry my couple of Birdy’s always with me.

 

 

Subham Gupta currently heads R&D at ‘Together@12th’ in Gurugram. In his decade-long stint he has flipped bottles at night clubs and worked in the best cocktail bars – Ek Bar, PDA and PCO among them. They have each been great experiences in terms of learning about cocktails and the differentiation in audiences.

 

What’s your favourite piece of bar equipment?

It is the first one I owned: a pair of cocktail shakers. Tin-on-tin, two-piece shakers. I’ve been blessed in my career to work in a few celebrated bars, where I was able to play around with modern bar equipment like Sous-Vide or Vacuum Press. But the effectiveness and sheer necessity of a pair of good shakers has never been less.

At PDA I got the opportunity to use copper Parisian shakers, which were excellent for reducing the temperature of the drink fast. But I got hooked to Koriko shakers, the perfect Japanese tin-on-tin equipment. I have been accused of being biased against three-piece Cobbler shakers. I completely blame it on Koriko spoiling me!

Why do you like it?

Mostly because of its simplicity – they are just two different sized tins that can form a perfect airlock vacuum when closed. It sounds very easy, but any bartender with experience can tell you what kind of nightmare it is to work with a pair of shaker with that single flaw.

You have 10 orders to pick up and the airlock breaks, spilling the cocktail all over you – that’s a scary thought!

Stainless steel will be my favourite because it’s super easy to clean, doesn’t retain any odour from the previous drink if washed properly, and doesn’t react adversely to any of the ingredients used.

That said, I distinctly remember a Bacardi master class where there was a silver two-piece shaker with a Daiquiri made in it. Silver being a very good conductor, the crushed ice inside frosted the shaker within a matter of minutes. It was glorious!

How do you attract customers to the bar using it?

Every bartender has his/her own shake and style of grip. If you pay attention, no one shakes the same. I personally have always been a fan boy of Japanese bartending. So, when I got my hands on my first pair of Koriko, I wanted to imitate the Japanese Hard Shake.

It’s a shaking technique invented by Kazuo Uyeda, almost like a dance form but with shakers. Once I tried it for a few nights, I humbly learned two things: there’s a reason it’s called the ‘Hard Shake’, and it’s designed for much smaller three-piece shakers. So I modified my shaking style, which is somewhere between a bird flapping its wings and a Japanese ‘Hard Shake’ with Koriko!

Shaking styles have attracted customers to the bar in a variety of different ways. At Ek Bar we had this concept of ‘no lone shaker’. So you suddenly saw all of the bartenders shaking two shakers together in their own styles.

Any superstitions connected to it?

I’m not a very superstitious person; but I’ve always had this fear of using Boston Shakers. They are the predecessor to the tin-on-tin shakers with one key difference: the top part in a Boston is made of glass.

It allows the guest to see what goes in the shaker, but it also tends to break every now and then while opening. I always think I’m going to break it whenever I use a Boston.

How many cocktails do you make?

It’s very difficult to put a number on this. But I would say about 70% of the drinks I make would be shaken.

What excites you the most about it?

There is a common sound to cocktail bars across the world, and that’s the sound of ice being thrown around with liquid inside a shaker. As a friend used to say, “We shake it to wake it”. Not just the cocktails but the guests also. I think it’s the most exciting piece of equipment we have.

Do you carry this while you’re not in the bar? Why?

When I’m not working inside the bar, I prefer someone else making the drinks. So no, I don’t carry a shaker. I own my favourite one, but that’s just for special occasions.

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