Dewar’s by Bacardi India: A Bartender's Journey From Arth in Bandra to Aberfeldy Distillery in Scotland

Jeet Rana, bartender at Arth Mumbai, discusses his experience at Scotland, Dewar's by Bacardi India, Mumbai nightlife and more

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Bartenders are growingly becoming custodians of pop culture experiences with recommendations being sorted from them and larger reliance on them for innovation with drinks and food pairings. Armed with these techniques Jeet Rana, bartender at Arth Mumbai is now utilising the learnings of Dewar’s at its Aberfeldy Distillery at Scotland back home at Arth to innovate more.

Dewar's by Bacardi explored the nuance of Scotch whisky, the process and flavours in cross-cultural experience with bartenders from India, China, Philippines and Lebanon. Along with these, lifestyle influencers and chefs from these regions also travelled to acquaint them with gourmet food and whisky pairings; and putting forth content on social media to represent his work better. From India, Chef Ranveer Brar and Rannvijay Singha travelled to Scotland.

Also Read: Copper Chimney Launches A Special Monsoon Menu

In an exclusive chat with Mumbai Live, Jeet Rana had some insights to share

Tell us about your experience at Aberfeldy Distillery in Scotland

"It was a once in a lifetime experience being in the very heart of Scotland. Normally, learning about blends is often run-of-the-mill research. However, this trip was a fun, out-of-the-box approach to whisky, like friends spending time together over Scotch whisky at Scottish highlands. While in fact, we were meeting for the very first time."

"Beyond learning just about whisky, I also learned about the whisky culture in different countries. . Jade (from Lebanon) and I even mixed cocktails with our local ingredients; and Chef Ranveer Brar curated some interesting dishes to go with them. It was all of us having fun with ingredients and pairings."

"Besides, of course, the food and beverage element, the entire trip was a visual right from touring the beautiful distillery to understanding Dewar’s water sources and production process! Fraser Campbell, Dewar’s Global Brand Ambassador, who’s worked on bringing the bartending community together through Global Bartender Exchange helped us understand the synergies we – as bartenders – can leverage and also took us through the double-aging process of Dewar’s that brings it extra-smoothness."

Do you think people in Mumbai know their drink as people from different countries do? How do you think people of Mumbai choose their drinks?

"India loves whisky and by extension so does Mumbai, from what I have seen at Arth it is the highest selling spirit each weekend. While the older generation has always had affinity toward the ‘Old Fashioned,’ younger drinkers constantly want to experiment with whisky cocktails. Drinking with friends and family is now a part of almost every occasion from partying, chilling, bonding and celebrating. Consumers are no longer as restricted as they were a decade ago."

"In addition, it is nice to see that it is not only the ‘man’s drink’ anymore – younger consumers are looking for elevated cooler whisky experiences that brands like Dewar’s are bringing to the table. Mumbaikars choose their drinks based on anything from the price, to looks as well as depending on how much they want to experiment. Recently, consumers have been more than happy to try different flavors and fusions."

Your take on Mumbai nightlife

"Come night and it’s as if a new day dawns at Mumbai. The city never sleeps and is among the safest in the country. There’s an endless array of experiences to devour from the moment the stars loom in the sky to the time the sun rises again. And there’s something for everyone – whether you’re a dance fanatic or more of lounger, there’s definitely a spot for you."

What in your opinion separates Dewar’s from the rest?

"I see many younger millennial consumers asking for Dewar’s serves and cocktails. For us bartenders also it is a unique blend that offers a canvas to innovate – as it is aged, blended and aged again. And this brings it extra smoothness that provides an elevated experience to the consumers. It is definitely a younger, cooler Scotch whisky that leaves room for cocktail and food pairing innovations."

"At Aberfeldy, where the double-aging process first started in 1899, we got a firsthand sense of why age and smoothness are the fundamentals of this scotch. I was fascinated that the Dewar family started with a small wine and spirits shop. It’s an incredible legacy and the distillery brings the entire range a distinct honey flavour." 

3 DOs and DON'Ts of Bartending

DOs:

1) Always smile and greet your guests. A bartender’s personality helps him go a long way as much as his cocktail making skills.

2) Be approachable and make a proactive effort to understand your guests’ preferences. It’ll give you the best results and enhance your guests’ experience. 

3) Try and build a relationship with guests. It’ll help you create loyalists

Don'ts:

1) Be careful and serve alcoholic beverages only to those of legal drinking age.

2) Bartenders often tend to fixate on receiving a large tip. However, enhancing the guests’ experience is a more rewarding feeling. It brings me immense satisfaction to bring the best possible experience for the guests.

3) A clean bar is a must. Always keep your bar clean and uncluttered, as consumers observe the establishment carefully.  

Your experience at Arth, Mumbai

"My experience at Arth has been an amazing journey. Chef Amninder Sandhu helped me understand the importance of Indian cuisine and the role of spices in it. It has peaked my interest in procuring the finest spices from across the country and showcasing them through my cocktails. Arth has a colossal role to play in how far I’ve come. I’ve been very lucky to work with the passionate and driven team."

Best food-drink combination 

"It’s great fun conjuring up cocktails at Arth as the menu has delectable dishes to pair with them. A great example is the Dewar’s Highball cocktail which goes perfectly well with the Mutton Deomali on the menu."

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