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PRABALIKA M. BORAH
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Event Sonaivel Venkatesan talks about setting up bars and experimenting with flavours

Sonaivel Venkatesan was a barback when he stepped into the hotel business. That’s when he learnt a lot, he says and was eager to try his hand at the bar, shaking and mixing to give the connoisseurs their right glass ofdrink. His wish came true when he got a chance to work in the bar of a leading chain of hotels under experienced and celebrated bartenders. “From there on, my journey has been quite a nice one. I tried everything, one after the other and in due course of time, I have gained a lot of exposure to the art of bartending,” he says. Currently a trainer at Tulleeho, Sonaivel was in town to give shoppers at Godrej’s Nature’s basket in Jubilee Hills a lowdown on how to set their own bars, the mixes to be kept ready and why it is not always a good idea to serve sweet mocktails.

“Our palates are tamed to some standard tastes. We either like it very sweet or salty and spicy. There is no midway or surprises for our palate. The old fashioned ideas about flavours in cocktails and mocktails is to be broken and that’s what I am intending to do here,” says Sonaivel.

Sonaivel says a lot of beginners are keen on knowing their drinks and what to expect out of it in the first sip. While one cannot be given a pre fixed idea of the flavours of the spirit, giving them an idea of the mixes would be wiser. To introduce first timers to spirits, Sonaivel suggests a lot of frozen cocktails which could be fruity and creamy. “Fruit and creamy flavours dilute the flavour of the spirits.”

While he gave suggestions about setting up of bars and the essentials required, Sonaivel also spoke about shaking techniques which can go a long way in diluting the drinks.

There was a short session on making use of seasonal fruit preserve in mocktails. A few suggestions that surprised guests were the use of tamarind, jamun and strawberry homemade preserves.

PRABALIKA M. BORAH

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