New Delhi, Aug 30 (IANS) Flip-flopping of ice cubes, shattering of martini glasses and spirits soaring high with the smell of exotic drinks - it was all part of the Bacardi Bar League, a unique hunt for India's 'bartending idol'.
The Bacardi Bar League India is part of the Bacardi-Martini Grand Prix (BMGP) competition held each year in Italy.
The event late Tuesday was the regional final round in which bartenders from five-star hotels and pubs in the capital took part.
The only woman bartender taking part was 19-year-old Teeya. 'Bartending is my passion and I believe girls are coming into this profession in a big way,' said the youngster, who is six years too young to drink and freelances at pubs.
It was a mix of the classic and the exotic as the bartenders got to work preparing cocktails using Bacardi Carta Blanca as the base.
While classics like Mojito and Bacardi Coke ruled the roost, some unique cocktails like Nutcases Martini, Burnt Blue Martini and Choco Martini had the judges and viewers quite intrigued.
The participants were judged in two categories - Mixology, in which the participants were asked to prepare one creative cocktail with an original recipe using Bacardi Carta Blanca as the base, and Flair, in which contestants had to prepare a drink while performing acrobatics.
The winner of the evening was Shariq Khan, a freelance bartender and also a teacher on the art, with his Nutcases Martini, a mild yet kicking drink with coconut slices and a dash of lemon.
'I am happy that bartenders in India are now getting international fame and recognition. Platforms like these are very necessary for us as they give us the exposure we need and the confidence to face the world,' said the man who is in his early thirties.
Khan, who teaches at the Cocktails and Dreams, a Delhi-based beverage management school, will now take part in the final round to be held in Mumbai on Sep 26.
Avishek Das, brand manager for Barcardi-Martini India Ltd, told IANS, 'Through initiatives like these we plan to build a close relationship with the bartenders of the country and beverage professionals as well.'
Refusing to divulge any details on the investments done for this, Das added, 'We plan to do it every year now.'
Vikram Achanta, chief executive of Delhi-based consultancy firm Tulleeho, said: 'Today bartending is becoming a popular career option and platforms like these will enhance this more.'
Added Yangdup Lama of Cocktails and Dreams who was also one of the judges: 'Bartenders are like kings and their kingdom is the bar.'