With life slowly restarting after the long hiatus, Mumbai’s nightlife too is picking up pace. Always ready to embrace something new and innovative, the city’s drinking culture has been as vibrant as its nightlife. Keeping the megacity’s spirit alive, recently, an evening full of eclectic drinks was hosted by culinary mixologist, Ron Ramirez, Creative Director of Mixology, The Finch. Jayshree A finds out more in a chat with the artisan himself.
Best known for his culinary mixology and conceptualised cocktail series, Ron’s journey started 15 years ago, when he travelled for work. He has worked in 12 different countries and India is the 13th.Ron elaborates, “My mixology journey started in a kitchen. The course of my career changed when I moved to Dubai as the First Filipino Chef de Cuisine with Spanish Influence.” He’s worked with several bars/clubs/ restaurants as a bartender during the night and chef during the day. While working there, he slowly developed interest in the bar industry and gradually made his name in the bar culture. Is love for spirits led him to be highly innovative and with time, he became a pioneer mixologist. “From Milan to Germany and my recent mark in Thailand has given me the humble appreciation while falling in love with the Thai’s smile being recognise as the Magician of Spirits in Thailand and branded as the Alchemist of Asia,” Ron smiles.
So, what exactly is culinary mixology, we would like to know more. Ron explains this technique “as the application of the techniques of gastronomy and science to the practice of mixing drinks.” He further explains, “It is a matter of understanding and experimenting with ingredients from the domain of the kitchen and the chef, then conveying it in a cocktail form with the same ingredients and flavours but with different textures and visual effects.”
All these beverages look quite artsy, not to mention inviting and enticing as well. But looks are one thing, they are also delightfully tasty. “Culinary cocktails are attractive, delicious and stunningly innovative drinks that give guests an exceptional experience through the use of culinary techniques. I don’t want to go overboard here, but to me a culinary mixologist is like a culinary artist with the difference that the focus is on the bar, not the kitchen. I only use techniques that are fundamentally adaptable to the bar side and will be enjoyed by guests,” Ron further explains.
While hosting the evening at The Finch, the highly acclaimed culinary mixologist also introduced some an array of drinks (mixology mix). “At The Finch, we have introduced mixology concepts via a menu trilogy titled ‘Art Series’, ‘Ice Series’, and ‘6 Signature Collection’,” Ron elaborates on the beverages.
Culinary cocktails sure are attractive and delicious, but if you are wondering how they would pair with Indian foods, Ron offers some great insights. “Some of the best paired Culinary & Mixology Pairing at The Finch are Finch Chicken Popcorn paired with G&T on ice infusions, Truffle Mushroom Cappuccino paired with Vanity from The Art Series, Chilli Cheese Cigar Rolls paired with Precision from the contemporary series, Beetroot Halwa cannoli & Rabri Foam paired with Beauty of Chandigarh from Art series,” he says.
These eclectic drinks may go well with certain Indian food, but the drinking culture in India is seemingly still at a nascent stage. Though progressing, it has some catching up to do with the international culture. Ron agrees but also believes that it has quite e bi to offer to the world. “The drinking culture in India is not as experimental as abroad and after a lot of research I wanted to bring ‘Culinary Mixology’ to India with The Finch. Even though the bar culture is not as progressive as compared to Singapore, Germany, New York, and Bangkok, India is a land of magical spices. It has a lot to offer as compared to rest of the countries,” he states.
And, it is exactly what India has to offer, is what motivated Ron to use the wonderful Indian spices and experiment with them in his creations. “This inspired me to utilise spices and exotic fruits from India in my Mixology and set the standard high,” says Ron.
Besides, The Finch encourages him to unravel India’s offerings. “The Finch having two properties in Mumbai and Chandigarh allows me to discover India’s culture, which will surely help me grow more as an individual and inspire ever bar professional to extend their skills not only in the bar but also the kitchen,” he tells us.
Concluding, we can say that we have one of greatest mixologist, Ron Ramirez, the Magician of Spirits, to stir up some attractive and delicious drinks for connoisseurs and aficionados alike.
The ‘Ice Series’ will use his Michelin star technique of freezing a huge rock of ice to the point of 32 degrees Fahrenheit while infusing it with flavourful elements, served over a Gin & tonic. As the ice melts, the cocktail’s character changes to a much bolder, full-bodied concoction. Aptly titled Bandra, Andheri, Powai, and Colaba (after all areas that the Finch plans to open in the near future), each cocktail prides itself on a unique fruity flavour.
The Finch will also launch an exclusive Subzero Microbrewery Menu that beautifully splices it’s loved craft beer with subzero flavours, capturing the true essence of ice. Infusing tones of blueberries, strawberries, frozen green apple, cucumber, pomegranate, passion fruit, and blood orange in ice cubes, making unusual pairs with Pip-N-Peel Cider, Hefeweizen, and Belgian wit respectively.
For those who prefer the hot stuff, Finch has to offer its novelle winter series—a debut edition of hot mixology design to soothe your senses with an interactive and live brewery experience on your table. Teetotallers can also demand their share, as the cocktail brewery will serve a Zero Mixology menu, liberated from alcohol as an Alternative alcohol-free mixology programme.