Discover the world's finest cocktails, made by the world's best bartendersregister
WITH VARUN SUDHAKAR – WORLD CLASS FINALIST 2013
A CELEBRATION OF INDIAN CULTURE
This month we’re talking to Varun Sudhakar, South India’s best flair bartender and head mixologist at AER Bar and Lounge, Mumbai. His speciality is adding traditional Indian flavours and notes to classic cocktails.
You pride yourself on using local ingredients in your cocktails, can you give an example of this?
In my cocktails I love to use Indian wild gooseberries as they are smaller, sharper and have more of a citrus taste than regular gooseberries; and Darjeeling tea, the champagne of teas. I also try to use things like mangoes, but only when they are in season.
Tell us a bit more about your AB Cocktail.
I created it as a tribute to veteran Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan who recently starred in The Great Gatsby. I used it for the World Class Red Carpet Challenge and my inspiration was an Indian star attending the Cannes Film Festival, hence the Darjeeling tea twist.
What’s it like at AER Lounge and Bar?
We have a distinctly Indian flavour, but with a modern take. It’s monochrome black and white and sits in the open air on the 34th floor of the Four Seasons hotel, and has a wonderful 360° view over Mumbai. We have a seasonal menu for our cocktails, which enables us to create the freshest drinks all year round. Perfect to sit back, sip and watch the busy world go by.
And finally, what do you love most about your job?
The energy level of a bartender is always high, there is always something new to learn and every day is different. Also, there is a lot of room for creativity, which means I’m never bored.