Talking to Gegam Kazarian, you would almost think cocktails are living creatures — full of life and feelings. For the mixologist, who has been declared ‘the world’s best bartender’, cocktails are more than a concoction of spirits. ‘They are like my children. I love all cocktails. It is difficult to choose,’ he says.
Kazarian was visiting the Capital to attend a mixology workshop organised by Aspri Spirits and Molinari. While he whipped some delicious cocktails, bartenders and mixologists from the city listened in rapt attention and took notes.
What is the secret behind a good cocktail? Kazarian believes that like in life, balance is very important for a cocktail. ‘There should be balance between sweet and sour,’ he points out. Also, natural ingredients are very important for him. But then again, ‘if you do something with love, it will be your best, proclaims the mixologist who also dons the hat of a biochemist.
Kazarian’s signature cocktail varies from brand to brand and he ensures he uses local ingredients wherever he goes. ‘Most important, the cocktails should be natural, clean and ecological,’ says Kazarian. And he is constantly evolving his style, putting his travels around the world to good use and the experience he gathers about various cultures, music, history, into his cocktails.
This is his first visit to India and he says India is ‘growing up’ and he has been happily surprised by the hospitality. ‘For me that’s more important than the cocktails,’ he says. And to mark his visit, the Armenian — who now lives in Spain — has mixed Indian ingredients like basil and ginger to create the Molinari Basilicum.
Kazarian’s first brush with fame happened when he won the G’Vine Gin Connoisseur 2011 World Finals held in Cognac, France, last June. The contest was organised by Philip Duff, one of the biggest cocktail gurus in the world.
But Kazarian doesn’t believe in resting on his laurels. ‘I am not the best. There are amazing bartenders in the world. We are learning everyday,’ says the handsome man humbly. He is also involved with the Kazaris Project as part of which he does consultations, teaches and trains even at Michelin-starred restaurants.
What sort of cocktails would he make for himself? ‘My taste is more feminine. Nice, balanced ones...some floral as well.I like cocktails which are easy to prepare. Sometimes mixologists complicate things a lot. Even though I use molecular and other technologies, I prefer easy ones,’ says Kazarian.
What is he taking back from India? ‘I tried something with the Indian masala. That’s what I will try when I go back,’ he says.
A musician, the mixologist likes to play the classical guitar and plans to travel to the villages of south India to take sitar lessons. Also on his travel plans are Goa, Kerala and Bengaluru. Bon voyage then!