bartending Food

Chris Moore, director of London bar Coupette, takes a trip around India

Chris Moore

Chris Moore   | Photo Credit: Divya Kala Bhavani

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The British bartender reveals that simplicity can speak volumes about a drink — and that not everyone has to be gung-ho about trends

The excited and murmuring crowd at The Bar in Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre is mostly made of bartenders who have come to learn a thing or two about honest bartending from British bartender Chris Moore, who is currently on tour with World On A Plate. He had just finished his first leg in Delhi at the Playground JW Marriott.

The 35-year-old is behind the bar-top, wearing a blue apron with the name ‘Coupette’ in white. He coolly surveys the crowd briefly before kicking off the masterclass – more a seminar. His voice, though low, commands an otherwise-noisy room. After ages, it is refreshing to see India host talks with someone who is not a liquor brand ambassador.

A legacy in store from Coupette

He starts by describing Coupette, his brainchild bar in London’s Bethnal Green. The bar was brought to life in 2017 and is an amalgam of Chris’ bartending philosophy and elements from his hometown of Coventry and his inkling for French culture “but not in an obvious way.” He explains that the core of Coupette is about generating intrigue, pointing out the obvious and providing unique opportunities for both bartender and patron... all while being “consistently excellent, not consistently consistent.” The intrigue is definitely there; in pictures alone, the small space seems to be enhanced by thoughtful elements such as a bar-top comprising 10 centime French coins.

Chris’ India Tour
  • The Westin Pune on November 15
  • Olive Mumbai on November 16
  • The Whitefield Arms, Bengaluru on November 17

Chris considers being a bartender is a two-job gig, where one is both the face of a business and the brawn. He adds that what he requires of any bartender, especially at Coupette, is empathy, and not just because they’re in the hospitality industry. “We make drinks for guests, not our egos,” he says and the room chuckles in response.

A browse through Coupette’s Instagram delineates the place is not about cliches or frills, but about to-the-point bartending but with added innovation. Expect drinks such as a Frozen French Martini, Pear Negroni, Bitter Bellini, and Turkish Delight with cocoa butter rum.

Frequenters to Coupette will also notice a favouring of infusions of flavour in the mixology; as an example, Chris describes using fig leaf tea for drinks and the careful calibration of flavour intensity. This infusion style is fast becoming popular in India but the philosophy of Coupette is all about not hopping on a trend ‘just because.’ While one can state sustainability at the bar is not a trend but a movement in itself, Chris — who agrees it is important — adds that this the top-to-tail concept should not hinder or compromise the final drink.

These drinks are not about being over-the-top or trend-riddled; ask him about the concept of ice-branding which is picking up everywhere and he shrugs and says it is a little too showy for his style though he appreciates the craftsmanship of it all. “I feel like Coupette is transferable and can drop into a hotel or can be slightly altered if going into a different area of London- this is what I always wanted,” he explains.

Chris Moore

Chris Moore   | Photo Credit: Divya Kala Bhavani

Chris’ Instagram handle favours calvados, a sign that he has a soft spot for old school brandies – but he does have a modern touch with his much blogged-about Champagne Pina Colada which is one of the specialities placing Coupette on 2019’s World’s Best Bars list at position 23.

It is a little comforting, though, that Chris’ first memory of bartending – which he sheepishly later shares – is of mixing orange cordial with milk at the age of nine. “It literally curdled but I was still drinking,” he recalls. “I was always so fascinated with bartending because they were the guys who decided how your night was going to go. I also just always thought that knowing someone behind the bar was so cool because they could hook you up. And the attitude towards bartending has obviously changed; years ago people didn’t think this was a real career. And I am grateful I get to travel to all these different places as part of my work!”

At the Hyderabad event, Chris admitted he didn’t have time to try Indian craft liquors due to the hectic schedule and, in response, it had been advised he try native toddies, if anything. We’ll be sure to get his feedback on that.

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Printable version | Dec 12, 2019 2:03:28 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/interview-2019-chris-moore-of-coupette-london/article29960171.ece

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