Junoon, a Michelin Star restaurant that takes Indian cuisine to a whole new level, has an amazing Mixologist who I was fortunate enough to be able to sit and chat with. Hemant Pathak, is a charming man, full of life, excitement, and passion is the Mixologist at Junoon. His passion is sprits and cocktails, and he explains it in the most beautiful way on how he believes a cocktail evolves, and captivates people.
“A cocktail is like a new born baby, it is born on the lips, and it matures on the palate, and ends in the throat”. –Hemant Pathak.
Now although new born baby’s don’t necessarily mature in our mouths, the saying itself hit me in such a way, that I wanted to dig deeper. The meaning behind this statement, in which I think, meant that a cocktail is more than just a few spirits and mix in’s thrown or shaken together. To many people who have perfected the craft cocktail and who have a passion for this, a cocktail is more than just a drink for them. Like a baby, it is born by the bartender or mixologist, and to the guest, the cocktail is first seen with your eyes, but once you “kiss” your new born baby, or once you taste the cocktail, that’s when its fully alive to you. The cocktail then matures on your palate, as a baby would mature with the parents, and so on and so forth.
I was impressed with Hemant’s natural ability to create a magnificent cocktail in these two silver mugs that he explains are so important to him. He lights the Tequila (as seen in the video) on fire, and tosses it between these silver mugs effortlessly, and with the biggest smile on his face… like a chef when they are cooking, or an artist when they are painting or sculpting, he too is an artist.
I absolutely loved hearing his story, having started off working for TAJ Hotels and working in restaurants, his passion never died. Spirits are the one medium that no matter where you go, they are standard, and he can create anything. He too, like many other beverage masters, knows his wine, but his heart truly lies with spirits and mixology.
The full interview is on Somm Style, the YouTube channel where you will see Hemant create his wonderful Junoon Masala Margarita… a delight in which I could not put down!
This article can also be found on Cocktail Craze where the video is also linked.