Mixologist Aashie Bhatnagar is all set to rock the global finals of Diageo World Class in São Paolo
A pocketful of dynamite dreams and quiet determination have certainly taken the World Class India 2023 winner places, finds Priya Pathiyan.
I had met mixologist Aashie Bhatnagar on previous visits to Cobbler & Crew in Pune’s Kalyani Nagar. You couldn’t miss the dynamo of positivity behind the bar and tableside, explaining her creativity with a smile and great energy.
But it was only when I went to the cocktail bar one May morning as Judge of the Diageo World Class India semi-finals that I truly understood her passion and determination. When Diageo’s Brand Ambassador Anurag Dhingra and I were ready for the judging, where we would assess the abilities of three mixologists, Bhatnagar was first up among the contestants. She displayed a quiet confidence along with her inherent charm. She had me at her smokey Sailor’s Punch, using Johnnie Walker Black Label and an insanely intense banana brownie port cordial using enzyme clarification.
Secret sauce to success
Of course, her techniques and talent as a mixologist are undeniable. She not only understands balance of flavour and the right selection of spirits for her serves, but is also up on all the trends — crafting her own cordials, creating interesting edible garnishes, finding inspiration from both, her back story and her backyard.
More than anything though, Aashi showcased her innovativeness and hunger to succeed. She not only mixed some kickass cocktails and chose the perfect serving accessories, but she also told a story, she presented it with creativity… with handpicked souvenirs, coffee-stained scrolls, and a poem she composed herself! Hearing her talk about how many times she attempted to create the cordial she wanted, her own exacting expectations of herself, and how she strives to balance her life with grace and gumption was certainly inspiring.
It’s this characteristic of going above and beyond that has brought her to where she is and, I’m pretty sure, will take her a long way. This young talent’s commitment to the ‘Bee Like Me’ initiative, that empowers farmers and beekeepers while saving the bees, is creating a different kind of buzz, one that I love.
After a gruelling contest against 14 other Indian finalists in Gurugram, she won this year’s World Class India Bartender of the Year 2023 title in July. Now, she’s a worthy contender for the global contest that kicks off in Brazil this week. Let’s cheer her on as she arrives in São Paolo. Onwards and upwards, Aashi… make India proud!