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Shashank Sharma, Asst. Food & Beverage Manager at The Oberoi, Bangalore; Barrel Aged Cocktail; Photo credit: Nithin Sagi

One bourbon, one scotch, one beer may be good enough for most people, as for me, it’s called a night only when there are smashing cocktails to keep me company. The pretty pink hue of Cosmopolitan, the minty note of Mojito, the salty rim of Margarita, and the sparkling Bellini are amongst the few that never fail to lift my spirit.

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Genie In A Bottle; Photo credit: Nithin Sagi

Mixology as a concept has been in practice for many years now though it gained much popularity during the modern cocktail renaissance. It is not just about mixing a variety of liquids as you wish and presenting a drink but exploring variety of ingredients, balancing flavours and creating a memorable experience.

In our constant quest to discover interesting cocktails, we met Shashank Sharma, Asst. Food & Beverage Manager at The Oberoi, Bangalore, who is also an enthusiastic mixologist and he never fails to surprise us with his exciting creations. We wonder how he does that effortlessly each time!

Practice makes a man perfect, so we know! Shashank began his mixology journey while he was studying at IHM Delhi and working part-time in bars. This was when he learned about the global trends in mixology and important tricks of the trade. And years later, he still garners the same enthusiasm when it comes to shaking up cocktails.

“At The Oberoi, we shake up cocktails with the intention of creating a memorable experience for our guests. We pay much attention to the recipe, naming the cocktail, presentation, flavours and other little factors to tantalise the senses,” says Shashank.

We couldn’t agree more! I remember the first cocktail I had was called Temple Run, inspired by the popular game, which was a refreshing mix of cucumber, citrus and gin, and was presented with quite the drama. On another occasion we had tried the Earl Grey Infused Peach Martini, wherein fresh peaches are soaked in vodka for six to seven days, then shaken with earl grey liquor, sugar and lime. Before serving, the glass is sprayed with orange essential oil cologne (made in-house) so that the aroma lingers on with you for hours.

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Temple Run; Earl Grey Infused Peach Martini Photo credit: Nithin Sagi

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Raw Mango and Cumin Martini; Photo credit: Nithin Sagi

“ When I shake up cocktails, I like to create a ‘wow’ experience for my guests. I think the surprise factor is very important. We constantly try and bring forth standout concepts and work on peppy names,” says Shashank.

With the mango season in full bloom, you should try their mango martinis: Mango and Rosemary or the Raw Mango and Cumin which resembles a sorbet. Or if you are up for something exclusive, try the Genie In A Bottle, inspired by Japanese flavours. I love the taste of kaffir lime and galangal mixed in vodka, heaped with crushed ice and served in a glass jar.

Shashank’s Barrel Aged Cocktails are popular too with his guests. Here, fortified wines (sherry, port, madeira, marsala) or premium spirits are aged for 30 days in untoasted American wooden casks which adds more roundness to the taste. Another of his recommendations is the French Manhattan, where the original recipe is twisted by adding vodka rather than whisky, along with sweet vermouth and bitters.

If you love intense flavours, then try their rum infusions with interesting mixes like cinnamon, pineapple, orange, cardamon, and star anise to name a few.

“Mixology is about shaking up a whole lot of flavours and there’s no limit to what one can create. But one must learn to balance the flavours as all the ingredients should beautifully complement each other,” advises Shashank.

The cocktails at The Oberoi are priced 750 INR onwards.

The Oberoi, #37/ 39, M.G. Road, Bangalore; tel: 080 25585858

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