At 29, Daniel Arijit Gomes loves his life. After all, he reckons, shaking up delicious cocktails at Maaya, the nightclub at Swissôtel Kolkata, is quite the way to live it up.
A graduate of the MSHM School of Management, Calcutta, Gomes — ironically — never wanted to be a part of the hospitality industry. My father and grandfather have worked in the industry and I didnt want to follow in their footsteps, he says. However, commerce and finance werent his cup of tea, and Gomes ended up studying hospitality anyway.
As part of his course, he trained at The Taj Bengal in 2004 and at Cinnamon Restaurant & Lounge on Park Street in 2005. It was at Cinnamon that he learnt the most about playing barman, thanks to his mentors Irfan Ahmed and Sarbendu Sikdar.
Gomes joined Aqua at The Park Kolkata in 2007 as an F&B assistant before joining Swissôtel as barman in May 2010. He recently won the Kolkata Johnnie Walker Super Deluxe Round (the whisky category) at the Diageo Reserve World Class 2011 city finals with his simple yet flavourful cocktail, Ode to John Walker.
Mojitos are Gomes specialities though he personally loves blended whiskies. And what keeps him going? Being a bartender gives me the freedom to be who I am — I am my own person on the job and that is quite a luxury, he says.
(From top) Orangetini; Scottish
Ingredients Chunks of half an orange 2 bar spoons brown sugar 10ml lime juice 90ml cranberry juice 60ml Laphroaig single malt whisky Some crushed ice
Method Add the ingredients one-by-one in the glass. This builds the drink. Muddle and add crushed ice to top up. Garnish with an orange peel and serve.
Ingredients 90ml guava juice 15ml lime juice ½ bar spoon rock salt 3 basil sprigs 60ml Black Label
Method Add 2 basil sprigs, the remaining ingredients and a few ice cubes in a cocktail shaker and shake well. Pour into a glass and garnish with a basil sprig and a twisted lime peel.
Glass Thick-stemmed Martini
Ingredients 45ml Ketel One Vodka 15ml Cointreau A few orange peels
Method Add the vodka and Cointreau in a shaker and stir well. Pour into the glass. Now squeeze the orange peels, extracting oil from them, and add a few drops to the drink. Garnish with a small slice of orange peel.
As told to Tania Bhattacharya; Photographs by Rashbehari Das