When every mixed feeling is a high
One of Goa’s leading mixologists just completed a unique trip, travelling penniless across 4,500 kms with his backpack; with no hotel booking, often eating at dhabas, travelling by truck and training bartenders in select bars in seven Indian cities. With Goa being represented for the first time at the national finals of this global bartending competition, Devi Singh intends to take his signature cocktail ‘The Support’, to the world
There are many who use the phrase ‘adventure of a lifetime’ as a hashtag for numerous posts but there are only a few who walk the talk and unbeaten path, living the experience of a lifetime. In Goa, a state where there has been recent impetus to promote the art and flair of bartending and to raise the bar when it comes to creating innovative cocktails, one bartender based in Goa has slowly been carving a niche for himself. Through various national and international bartending competitions held across the country, Devi Singh has consistently emerged as Goa’s top mixologist for the finals and among the country’s top five repeatedly. And now, as part of his quest to stamp his identity as one of the country’s best, he went on a unique trip, travelling without any money or any hotel booking, across 4,500 kms, to 7 cities. While he has visited close to 50 bars across these cities, from Goa to Hyderabad, Chennai, Kochi, Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai and back, what made his trip even sweeter is the kindness of the good Samaritans he met along the way. “The whole idea behind this trip was that whatever we do in our lives; we need the support of the people around us because it’s difficult to do anything alone. Sometimes we meet unknown people we simply connect with. On this trip, I met unknown people and now they are part of my life!” says Devi. With only his backpack, he made this trip via hitchhiking, sometimes having to walk and wait for hours before being offered a lift by truck drivers, and then having to eat at dhabas. He also received invites from friends or random hosts. “This journey was full of great moments, but one of the best experiences was when I had to work at a roadside dhaba for an hour in exchange for a free meal. I even earned tips worth Rs 14! That was something special. People think that it’s the 21st century and there are no good people anymore but they are wrong. The world is full of so many amazing people and they do help you a lot. I got offered free meals, free rides and loads of free smiles,” he states happily. Devi put up all these interesting developments on his Instagram page as his daily stories and this drew in great interest from people not only in Goa but across the country. Apart from this, he also visited high-end luxury bars in every city, where he trained bartenders and spent a few hours at bar sessions with various teams. Here he also promoted the unique cocktail he has created, called The Support, and instead of just guest bartending at these sessions, he interacted with the crowds, stating that this helped him in understanding different cultures and their styles. What he found really interesting was the repeated questions he kept getting from people, who were curious about why he would take such a route for his journey, especially the manner in which he had done so; to how he prepares his drinks and his experiences in Goa. And Devi, who has worked in several shacks, restaurants and bars in Goa and has been part of various collaborations to work on new cocktails that combine local flavours and ingredients, said that the biggest part of his campaign was to promote Goa. “There is some fantastic energy in Goa and the drive to innovate and tweak a normal drink or come up with something completely new. In Goa, bartenders go beyond the traditional sense of bartending and have a strong pulse on what the audience will like and how to complement the essence of the establishments they are based at,” adds Devi. From a shack, to a gourmet restaurant to a luxury pub, Devi belongs to the new tribe of mixologists who strive to bring an edge to the bartending game in Goa. This is all part of the Bacardí Legacy Competition that is taking place in over 40 countries. Devi, has qualified for the national finals that will be held in Delhi on February 5 as part of the top 12 as the representative of the West India region, competing against the best of North India, South India and East India regions. This also marks the first time Goa has reached the finals of this competition. If he wins, Devi will compete for the global competition as India’s representative at the finals, which will be held in Amsterdam.
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