Hemant Pathak of Junoon, NY, Decodes Indian Spices In Cocktails

That Indian spices have taken the world of mixology by a storm is no secret. With saffron and cardamom aromas dominating bars, India’s essence is being translated into ace cocktails all around the world. While not new by definition, this mixology movement has gained momentum only in the recent years, and with bars such as Ek Bar and Monkey Bar dotting the capital – the trend has certainly hoisted its flag in the capital city. Getting behind the bar and stirring the secret to the growing movement, we decode the phenomenon that is cocktails with Indian spices.

Looking at this trend through his magnifying glass, we bring to you ace mixologist Hemant Pathak. When not stirring magic behind the bar at Junoon (New York), he likes to travel back home and engage in enhancing the Indian mixology milieu. Here, the gent shares his perspective on Indian spices conquering cocktails across the globe.


How it all began

Experimentation, when accepted, prompts creativity. Indian palette has always been spice-driven and we all know the history of spices. For centuries, foreign traders have come to India just to get access to these products…they even colonised us for it!

Spice-infused cocktails had a lot to do with the Indian patrons growing more accepting of new creations, thus prompting me and others into the uncharted waters of mixology, which is spiced infusion.


How Indian spices stirred the world of mixology

Supply is always driven by demand, as much as us mixologists love to get creative, it’s customer feedback that defines the trend and popularity. The human palette is a canvas for us and we create to ensure that the end result is fulfilling. The evolution in mixology is evident and it’s getting more and more popular as people experiment with flavours they’re not accustomed to and enjoy it.


Impact on world perception of Indian culinary arts

Indian food and produce has always been loved across the world, take a look at the number of eateries in New York and London. What is yet to happen is for us to stand out more than just being a land of Mango Lassi. Every day, someone new gets introduced to a spiced creation and you know that they say, ‘when you like something, you tell at least 12 people about it’. Word of mouth in our world is still as effective as all the marketing on social media. The process has begun and we’re on the right track.


Carving a global niche in mixology

Historically, Indian spices have defined and changed the food culture of the world. You go to Le Meridien in Amsterdam and you’ll see chicken curry and basmati rice on their menu. When I first tested Indian spices in my creations, I was certain that in due time it will become mainstream. The flavours are unmatched and leave you craving for more. This is definitely not a fad but something that will branch into a main component of mixology. I consider this as giving a new range of colours to an artist who was working only with the basics before.

I would also rephrase the trend to Spiced Mixology instead of Indian Mixology. We as a country say Vasudev Kutumbakam – the world is one and every creative mixologist out there should use Indian spices to explore the world they haven’t yet!”


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this feature are those of the Guest Writer and do not necessarily reflect those of DSSC & its affiliates.


Featured Image Courtesy: patrontequila.com