The Remy Martin Bartender Talent Academy kicked off in New Delhi in September with a national-level competition for bartenders. The winner this year was Agnieszka Rozenska from Hong Kong Club, New Delhi.
The winner of the competition is India’s representative at the International Remy Martin Bartender Academy finale in Cognac, France. It involves a visit to the Remy Martin distillery, a vineyard tour and a memorable experience in Paris.
Her winning cocktail: ‘Certainly Ma’am’!
According to Mr. Abhishek Parameswaran, Country Manager at Remy Cointreau, the competition was to give a platform for some talented bartenders and groom them by giving them some international exposure by sending them to Remy Talent Hunt international competition.
“People within the industry just know the use of Cognac for toddies. This competition was to give a feel of cocktails that can be created from Cognac,” he said, adding, “It is a complex beverage; yet some of the great classic cocktails have been created from Cognac.”
Among the leading bartenders who competed were Abhishek Chawla (Pullman, New Delhi), Nikhil Singh Bhandari (Home Bar, New Delhi), Wilston Gilbert Carvalho (Masque, Mumbai), Prantik Halder (O Pedro, Mumbai), Sourav Singh (Ping’s café, Kolkata) and Nilotpal Bhattacharya (R-Bar, Bengaluru).
Others in the line-up for the title were Vasundhara Vats (Bengaluru), Rohan Matmary (Byg Brewski, Bengaluru), Cindy Lalramgaihzuali (Perch, New Delhi), Jaydeep Singh (Townhall, New Delhi) and Yohan Pereira (Americano, Mumbai).
The contestants were taken to various bars in the National Capital Region to give them an idea of the local cocktail culture. They also tasted some classic cocktails based on Remy Martin Cognac.
The format for the finals involved every participant having to make two Cognac cocktails, one classic and one signature, in less than 10 minutes.
The contestants were judged on three aspects: the bartender’s ability to weave a story seamlessly into her/his inspired creation and connect it to the values of Rémy Martin; as an artist (aesthetics, style, precision and technique); and as a creator where the harmony of the cocktail was evaluated.
The jury included Himanshu Desai (winner of last year’s competition); Arjun Sagar Gupta, Founder of Piano Man Jazz Café; Jamie Rhind, Bar Operations Manager at Bamboo Bar, Bangkok; and Minakshi Singh, Co-founder of Sidecar, New Delhi.