Ipsita
Ipsita Pritam Sarkar

Women's Day: Ipsita Chakraborty on stepping into a Man's world

The lead mixologist talks about her career choice, what women like to drink, and more

Ipsita Chakraborty one of the leading Mixologists in the city has curated the bar menu for various restaurants across the city and as she steps into the role of Head Mixologist at Skinny Mo’s Jazz Club, we speak to her about her journey.

Q

When did you think of pursuing mixology?

A

It started by understanding and observing that there weren’t enough women behind the bar. The quality and hygiene behind many bars were missing. I wasn’t getting the kind of cocktails I wanted. My biggest push was why the bartenders don’t smile when they serve; they always have a grumpy face and seem overworked. So, I got behind the bar and learned on the job.

Q

When and where was your initiation?

A

Around 2015/16 I approached Uttam Singh who was working in Bodega back then. I told him I wanted to learn. He called me in the next day and I got behind the bar. Since then I have been learning this science because every bottle has such different flavour profiles to it.

Q

What hurdles did you cross?

A

The timing was tough as I had to adjust to the nightlife. Back-to-back events started taking a toll on my health. Sometimes it 4- 5 am when you wrap up

Q

Did your family support you?

A

My mum was concerned about the late nights. My dad was excited. He wanted to try the concoctions and understood the demand and respect of the job.

Q

Have you noticed any upcoming trends?

A

Lots of cocktail-centric bars have come up. Tequila is the next trendsetter. Low-ABV alcohol is gaining prominence.

Q

What do women prefer?

A

Spicy drinks, martini, spirit forward, and easy to drink. They also love seasonal stuff so I do a strawberry tequila margherita or a spicy Campari negroni.

Q

What is your favorite?

A

Spicy, salty, and refreshing. For sweet it will be gur or honey. I like tasting the alcohol and not masking it with other flavours.

Q

What’s the process you go through?

A

I take seasonal ingredients and find a pairing for the flavour profile of the fruit or herb. Or I take an ingredient and try to make the most of it without wasting it. That’s where the kitchen and the bar work together to complement or contrast creating a synergy to the menu. The process is about finding out the flavonoids and making them palatable and not overpowering.

Q

What menu can we expect at Skinny Mos?

A

We will have limited menus and different for the day and evening. With musicians playing I do not want to be shaking cocktails in the evening. Ingredients will include cucumber, Italian lemons, and coriander.

Q

How have drinking habits evolved?

A

People are aware of what they are drinking through early access to alcohol and travel. They are looking forward to indigenous products. All over India, there are some crazy experiments happening like using mushrooms, cheese, and even ants!

Q

A make-at-home cocktail

A

Muddle lemongrass, ginger, pepper, and extract the juice. Add it to honey and slightly warm water to make syrup. Fill up the whole glass with ice. Add gin/whiskey/soda or water. 

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