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Aneesh Bhasin on Singaporean flavors in Indian mixology

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Written by Shireen Jamooji Has been updated: December 28, 2023

Aneesh Bhasin, co-founder of Svami, shares insights from his trip to Singapore and reveals the innovative trends and unique ingredients that will shape the future of India’s alcohol industry.

Among the metropolitan, multicultural hubs that shape food and drink trends around the world, Singapore is a place we’ve been dormant for far too long. While we are all Western-trained as trend trackers, Singapore’s thriving food culture has made it a destination that not only showcases local flavours, but also shares them with the world. Through an unsolicited collaboration with Singapore Tourism Board (STB), Indian viewers have been given a taste of local delicacies. In its latest partnership, Svami, one of India’s leading bespoke mixer and tonic brands, is introducing the flavors of Singapore with its new Pandan His Tonic His Water.

Svami co-founder and industry expert Aneesh Bhasin traveled to Singapore to learn first-hand how to celebrate the flavors of the island city in different ways, reinventing India’s alcohol industry. Because we believe the time is ripe for change. . In his words, “The new age Indian consumer is creative, curious, knowledgeable, and most of them are globetrotters. Whether you’re on the go or experimenting, you’re looking for a quality cocktail experience, whether you’re at home or traveling to a brand new destination. ”

We caught up with Aneesh to find out more about what he learned on his journey, how he took the experience home with him, and what it means for the future of mixology in India.

What did you observe on this trip about how Singapore is shaping drinking trends?

I have been to Singapore many times, but this was the first time I visited with the intention of creating something inspired by Singapore. And for me, Singapore has always been her F&B, especially drinks hub. And of all the places in Asia, I think Singapore has pioneered the cocktail scene and elevated cocktails and mixology. I think a lot of other places like Hong Kong and Bangkok also take a lot of cues from Singapore bars.

The Singapore Cocktail Festival has also been held, right? So a lot of these things have always been in Singapore. So it’s always good to go to Singapore to see what’s going on. But on this trip, I think I was trying to find the ingredients, not the ingredients. I went to some of my personal favorite bars and also some new places. For example, I came across his fancy coffee shop that has a secret champagne on his menu.

What are some notable innovations?

I think Singapore has influenced many trends in Asia, such as the Bangkok Bar Show and some of the festivals in India. I think a lot of it was inspired by Singapore. I think there are some trends that are becoming very popular, and again, we’re seeing a lot of this happening for the first time in Singapore. One is a combination of coffee and cocktails. I don’t mean in the coffee or cocktail kind of way, but in the cafe-like sense, like a place with a very good coffee program or coffee program. I think a lot of places will take a cue from that.

And another place that has become a personal favorite of mine is Cat Bite Club, which only sells agave and rice-based spirits. There’s also tequila, mezcal, and shochu. These spirits and cocktails are phenomenal, whether it’s a basic martini or something more complex. The selection and execution are impeccable.

Speaking of agave and rice, another bar across the street, Kanpai, is a Japanese bar that serves a lot of shochu-based cocktails, for example the vodka martini is a shochu martini, which is a very different flavor profile and has many Across Asia, some bars will start incorporating rice and agave.

What flavor do you think will take the cocktail world by storm next?

There were two main flavors that caught my eye, one was Gula Melaka and the other was Pandan. Pandan has always been exciting to me. Pandan is a superstar ingredient in Singapore, with desserts also containing it and many cocktails also containing it. And for me, pandan is also a very familiar taste as it reminds me of aromas like boiled basmati rice and kheer. No matter where you are, Pandan and Gula Melaka have a problem and in the end Pandan solved it for us.

What do you think about combining East Asian flavors with local Indian flavors?

So all of our products have a little bit of lime forward and are very citrus products, so it makes the drinks a little bit more refreshing and easier to drink. For example, even our ginger ale has a little more lime up front, and the idea here was that the pandan was a little grassy. I wanted to. I love gondolaj in cocktails. Even if you just sprinkle a little gelatin on top, it will taste completely different than regular lime or lemon. I guess I was also looking for an excuse to use Gondolaj and this is how I found the place. What bothers me so much is that when I go to the supermarkets in India, Italian limes are sold for something like 400 rupees a piece, but I can’t find Gondraj limes. So, does that mean you can import limes from Italy but not from other states? So I think it’s right to highlight Gondorage somewhere.

Do you have any predictions for the alcohol industry in 2024?

My prediction for 2024 is that a lot of the novelty will fade away and people will focus more on well-made drinks than on 10-ingredient drinks. Another annoyance that I don’t like to see is dry ice and that kind of weird stuff, but I think some of that is starting to go away and there’s more emphasis on actual taste and flavor.

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