Sanjay, you have a fantastic sense of mixing traditional beverages with the liquors. How did you come up with the idea of giving such kind of fusions to the beverages?
Sanjay Ghosh:-Thank you Hospibuz.com for this interview and I hope your readers will enjoy the story ready as much I did living it. The idea was always there in my family. My father was a Sweet Shop owner and in my childhood days, we used to mix different flavours to our sweets and test many before we actually launch 1 flavour which can bring customers to go – Wow. Bartending came naturally to me that way. It’s just this time I am mixing Alcohols and many other ingredients just to make you go – Wow & High!
What dragged you towards this profession of a bartender? Was it passion or something else? How has been your journey until now as a bartender?
Sanjay Ghosh:- A journey of the bartender – well it started like the most start. Need for a job and getting one in Hospitality as Bartender. Middle-class family, humble beginnings – You can imagine. Won’t bore you with a sob story.
But then, the difference is the journey. Years of mastering the art of mixing, flavouring and knowing the palate of customers across India.
Worked with many major brands of Hotels and then kept learning the skill. The real twist came when I left the job to be India’s First Cocktail YouTuber.
It was hard at the beginning- Working shifts at the hotel and shooting videos at 1 in the night when shifts ended at 12 midnight. Or sometimes 6 am in the morning as my shifts started at 11 am.
People laughed. Many felt pity. I and my wife shot videos with 1 single room. Videos weren’t great at the start- Editing wasn’t nice too. Kept at it.
Today I have 100Million views on Youtube! 2 Lac 37 thousand Subscribers and I am Brand Ambassador of “Blue Tea India”, Consultant of “Paul John Whisky (The Great Indian Single Malt)Learning continues in knowledge and enhancing experience.
So living the dream you may say. Hard work paid off. It always does.
As you are the owner of ‘Cocktails India’, which fusion of yours has been your favourite and why? What kind of Customers and Audience do you have?
Sanjay Ghosh:- This is exciting times, we are living in!
In a figurative manner- I would like to believe that Cocktails India Youtube Channel has brought mixing skills to average Indian homes. People try cocktails and unique drinks at home and not just a five-star restaurant or bar.
Making of fusion of Internet accessibility, Smartphone, Cocktails and YoutubeVideos will make India high & happy. And in a real manner- I like to call myself conscious sustainability Bartender.
I like to play with natural organic ingredients like flowers, fruits, herbal teas, herbs, coffee etc to make gourmet alcoholic cocktails as healthy as possible.
Less use of artificial colours, syrups is better- I feel. Regarding audiences – many are from bartending and hospitality community. Many hotel restaurant owners who seek new menu ideas for their bar and also Housewives & professionals who want to have their favourite alcohol in a different style at home. Cocktails India as now a vast range of Customers. A lot of alcoholic brands – Big or small – they sponsor our videos for Product usage in cocktails and unboxing. We have many unique bar product brands coming forward too for their product promotion. Even restaurants are coming up with Bar Showcase on our Cocktails India channel.
How did you think of starting India’s first Cocktail e-magazine? How has been the experience and the response so far?
Sanjay Ghosh:- We launched CoI – Cocktails of India (India’s Cocktail Magazine) in 2018.
We organized competition and promoted unique recipes. However, it was a path-breaking idea but it still needs substantial funding to run through. However, the response from the industry has been great. But it’s a new Idea- so it will need some time to digest that a magazine just for COCKTAILS and DRINKS.
We pulled it through for 3 editions but we could not launch any further. Hope soon we will restart the Magazine by 15th Aug 2020.
What do you think, professions like mixologist and bartender are growing up in fashion in India? What difference does it make with it’s trend In foreign countries?
Sanjay Ghosh:- I think this answer will be long.
Globally the Liquor industry is thriving. Many new brands have come up post 2000s. Small distilleries are trying to compete for market share in Europe and the USA. Unique offerings are making customer shift their loyalty and there is continuous addition to the overall alcohol-consuming population.
India has 1.8 Crore people entering the Drinking age every year. Assuming organized Hospitality industry only caters to 2-3% of it, we have 5 Lac new customers adding every year in the Indian context.
So naturally, you will need more Mixologists and Bartenders who will make drinks more interesting and more appealing to wider consumer class with respect to age, sex and taste palate. And we all deserve some style in restaurants and bars right- without Bartenders Bars are less lively places.
This is a trend, which will only grow in time.
Drinking culture in India is at an infant stage in organized hospitality! We are just about 25 years old since the time industry saw some changes coming.
US EUROPE is much ahead- but the world is one market now. Customers travel abroad and global customers come to India. Internet is playing its part in spreading global trends and Bartenders and Hoteliers in India are getting ready for the big jump.
Whom do you consider as your mentor throughout your career journey and why? How has the person been your inspiration all through?
Sanjay Ghosh:- Mr Sunil Chandra Saha – He is Founder of Blue Tea and Online Tea brand selling globally.
I feel lucky that I got connected with Sunil. He has pushed me to expand my vision with respect to my objectives. My growth- has been largely because of unique ideas and the guidance, which I get from him.
His approach has helped me develop my personal brand of DADA BARTENDER of COCKTAIL INDIA, loved by millions on the internet. He has worked with me in dark times and helped me grow with my channel.
As we all are facing difficulties due to the havoc of the coronavirus, so what do you have for your viewers that they can try at home in this lockdown situation?
Sanjay Ghosh:- Corona Havoc- has brought humanity together in this fight as 1 species. We need to stay home – follow Govt Orders. I being a Youtube Content creator and influencer have made appeals in every video of mine! Also, it’s important for me to produce something unique in these difficult and boring times for our people at home.
Well for my viewers- I shared some healthy organic drinks recipes to boost immunity. Also some “Homemade Cocktail Recipes” – made with ingredients that are easily available at home like- Cinnamon, Ginger, Cardamom, Lemon etc.
Sustainability and use of organic produce are at the core of Cocktails India. One more time- Stay Home and Stay Safe.
What is the basic thing that one has to take care of while preparing drinks as cocktails? Share one of your best tips with the upcoming buddies of this profession.
Sanjay Ghosh:- Practice – Practice Hard – Practice Harder.
“Until you do it you will never know” There are players and then there is Sachin Tendulkar. Be that one.
Tell us about any of the funny incidents that you met with in all through your drink-making journey!
Sanjay Ghosh:- One fine night I was bartending. I made drinks for my customer.
After the shake – I tried to open the shaker. It did not open.
The customer was ready at the bar, glass was ready just the Shaker was not opening.
The customer saw me struggle for a few times.
I asked the customer – ‘Sir it’s not opening.’
Customer said – ‘Let me try’
The customer tried and he failed too.
And soon his friends came to try and it went on for 3 friends. Everyone started failing and laughter was bigger and better, every time someone failed!
Finally, it was opened by another person on the bar!
It was so much fun for all of them and a big embarrassment for me.
But customer then asked – ‘Did you do it purposefully? It was a great trick we loved it’
All’s well what ends well I guess.
When it comes to mixology and bartending, where does India stand globally and is there anything that we should adopt from any other country?
Sanjay Ghosh:- India is a developing country and Bartending trend is probably just 20 years old.
Even though – today we have world-renowned celebrity bartenders driving change. But India is now being recognized as a talent hub with several bartenders working in top bars- redefining the game.
India is Unique, Diverse and Vast.
India has a unique set of taste palate and also unique ingredients to explore. The world will soon be exploring our spices more than even in their infusions. Channels like Cocktails India, are making sure, this knowledge of India goes on the Internet for the world to see – How Indian bartenders are and what ingredients we use. So, at this point, I would say the world has more to learn from India than Indian bartenders need to learn from the world. We have anyway learnt mostly what the world has taught us in past 20 years.
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