Tuesday, 26/1/2021 | : : UTC+0

Benaulim’s bartender set to showcase Goa’s spirits at world class event

Benaulim’s bartender set to showcase Goa’s spirits at world class event

Donovan Vaz comes from the family behind the popular Firefly Goan Bistro Bar in Benaulim, running the bar since 2012 and building himself a reputation and following thanks to his skill behind the bar. Thus it was no surprise when Donovan cleared the first all India round of the Diageo World Class 2016, which is being organised by the World Class India, Diageo/United Spirits Team, to become one amongst the 20 young talented drink-slingers who will compete for the ultimate title at the finals to be held in Bangalore.

This particular journey started in December 2015 when trial rounds were held in cities across the state. Donovan and Sharath Nair, who is based at Grand Hyatt, Goa, topped this round and will now represent Goa at the main event.

The testing and evaluation took place across four modules where all the participants attended a training workshop on various factors like tasting, balance, bartending, latest techniques, names of brands, ingredients, etc. They were also informed about famous bartenders and their influences. “Through these training workshops, they were also able to assess our understanding about making cocktails and our ability to deliver cocktails that are considered to be the best in the world,” informs Donovan.

Following this, there was a written and practical test on their knowledge and how they prepared their cocktails. Each bartender was then given a score based on these tests, which determined who would make it to the top twenty. Donovan sailed through to feature close to the top ten while competing with India’s best and most experienced bartenders.

Commenting on the quality of the contest, Donovan points out the competition featured high quality cocktails that used premium alcohol brands and top and fresh ingredients. Adding about the overall experience, he says, “This has been an absolutely phenomenal experience and I have learnt a lot. I have been working with Karl Fernandes as a mentor for this competition, alongside Sharath Nair. It is a great recognition for us and for Goa as well.

The Reserve Brands Ambassador Jamie Walker, Nick, Dan and Max have been in touch with the contestants, offering them guidance as they prepare for their final round.

Speaking about his own journey as a bartender, which kick-started with the launch Firefly Goan Bistro Bar, Donovan takes pride in the fact that many of their regular patrons come back for the cocktails. Firefly, which boasts the specially crafted and designed world’s longest Feni Bar, has offered Donovan a platform to mix and try new drinks. Stating that he had to learn from scratch, Donovan, when asked to talk about his favourite cocktails, refers to the ‘Lugabi’, a cocktail he named after two of his international guests – Lucas and Gabriela, and ‘Rui’, a competition-winning cocktail which is a combination of Talisker 10 and orange infused Feni. Donovan also has plans of introducing new cocktails at Firefly as well as using the techniques he has picked up over the course of this contest.

As he readies for the finals, Donovan says that the various challenges put forward seem quite intimidating but he is set to do his best to impress the judges in the first round itself.

The World Class India Finals 2016 will be held at the Grand Hyatt, Bangalore. There will be a masterclass evening on May 31, 2016 and the competition will begin on June 1. For the final round, all the finalists will be required to make 1 signature cocktail in the Pantry Challenge using Reserve Portfolio spirits and ingredients from their pantry. Each competitor will be given time in the pantry and then 5 minutes to make the drink. Th competition allows the use of 2 brought ingredients, be it bitters, a syrup or a shrub but the chosen spirit and the fresh produce from the pantry are to be the champions of the drink. All drinks will be created from their fantastic Reserve Portfolio: Johnnie Walker Platinum Label 18yo, Johnnie Walker Gold Label Reserve, Ciroc, Ketel One, Tanqueray no10, Don Julio Blanco, Singleton of Glen Ord 12yo and Talisker 10 yo.
From the Pantry challenge, the 6 top competitors will move on to a Speed Round where they will have to make 5 cocktails in 6 minutes. The recipes and photos of these concoctions have been sent to the participants and they have been asked to practice these drinks in super quick time. From there, the top 3 Indian finalists will compete head-to-head, making 2 drinks in the Mystery Box Challenge. This will determine the Indian National Champion.

Source – http://www.heraldgoa.in/Cafe/Benaulim%E2%80%99s-bartender-set-to-showcase-Goas-spirits-at-world-class-event-/102371.html

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