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Raising the bar

Asra Mavad Dec 20 2017, 21:24 IST
Yangdup Lama

Yangdup Lama

Known for establishing 'Cocktails and Dreams', one of India's first speakeasy style bars, Yangdup Lama is now set to expand his business all over the country. Yangdup published his first ever cocktail book 'Cocktails & Dreams' few years back, featuring over 50 cocktails. The mixologist, who was in Bengaluru for 'The Great American Whiskey Experience' as the ambassador for American whiskey, spoke to Asra Mavad about his passion for mixology, future plans and more.

How did you get into the field of mixology?

It all started 22 years ago, in 1995, when I was pursuing my degree in hotel management. My first assignment was to work at a bar and that was when I discovered my passion for mixology. The experience of serving behind the bar is like none other.

You run one of India's first speakeasy style bars. How did this idea come about?

This was a dream of mine, I've always wanted to own a bar. However India is not exactly an easy place to start such a business. But I and a few other friends shared a passion for the same and decided that we were going to do it.

How has your experience in the industry been so far?

It's been quite an interesting experience. It's a proper mixture of good and bad moments. But what's important is that I am always learning. The good thing about this industry is the love and encouragement I receive from the patrons; that's what keeps me going.

What are your future plans?

I'd like to expand my business in the coming year. The plan is to open a few interesting bars all over the country, especially in cities like Bengaluru and Mumbai. I already run a bartending school but I would like to expand and improve it in the future.

What drinks do you think pair best with Indian cuisine?

Classic whiskey cocktails like old fashioned and whiskey sour, specially made with American whiskey, compliment Indian flavours the most.

Any advice for amateur mixologists?

It might seem hard in the beginning but it definitely gets better. No matter how hard it is, just keep pushing. It is very important that you keep your interest and passion for the art alive. Also, master the basics first; I can't stress this point enough. You can only move forward once you've perfected the basics.

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