Brews & Spirits

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Bartenders can concoct well-crafted stories

Bartenders can concoct well-crafted stories Sonam Kalra, multiple award-winning singer and composer, and creator of The Sufi Gospel Project. She has performed in more than 30 cuntries, and has shared the stage with the likes of Sir Bob Geldof and Sufi legend Abida Parveen.

Favourite drink memory: When I was younger, I loved (still love, actually) Tequila. On my 21st birthday, a friend from Mumbai wanted to send me a bottle of Tequila, but he didn’t know how to send it to me in Delhi.

Eventually, he managed to get hold of someone he knew in Delhi, who dropped the bottle to my house. I didn’t know the guy, but we started speaking – and have now been married for many years!


Favourite bar: It used to be the iconic Jazz Bar at The ITC Maurya Sheraton. There was a large island bar which made for a really open flow of energy and people in the bar.

The bar always had an incredible energy to it and there was also a stage with an incredible jazz singer called Jenny, who brought so much life to the bar with her powerful voice and vibrant stage presence.


Favourite drink: A good white wine, because you can taste the many notes. As a musician, of course, I love notes!


Favourite cocktail: A Cosmopolitan because I can tell myself it’s healthy with all the Cranberry juice in it! And a Hot Toddy – especially the way (ace mixologist) Yangdup Lama makes it!! After I have sung, it relaxes my throat.


Best city to drink in: Bogota (Colombia). Everyone there starts dancing as soon as they’ve had a couple of drinks. The vibe is electric!


Best bottle I’ve been given: It was by Kapil and Gaurav Sekhri of Fratelli. I had sung at an event for them at their home. They sent me a case of wine with my name printed on each label. It was a very special gift and such a lovely gesture!


We need more women behind the bar because: We need more women to be at the head of everything. Because, let’s face it, women are just better!


Plastic straws are…. Proof of the fact that if you’re still using them, you need to grow a conscience and stop destroying the environment.


My favourite bartender: It is someone who understands that mixing and bartending is truly an art. I had the good fortune to blend my music with bartender Rohan Matmary’s skills. This unique collaboration won us the India finals of The Glenfiddich World’s Most Experimental Bartender Competition.

We then went on to compete at the world finals in Glasgow. It was a wonderful experience and I was totally blown away by the creativity the bartenders displayed there.

From infusing spirits with the most exotic ingredients to presenting their creations in quirky and unexpected ways, each of the bartenders there showed us that the best cocktails need to be well-crafted stories.


Alcohol is… to most people, what music is to me: Intoxicating!


My favourite bar accessory: Someone interesting to talk to at the bar.