The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Young, swig it with a swing

Cocktails and vodkas, whisky and beer… It’s the rage on the dance floor in discos and pubs. Be it Bubbling Buddha or Sex on the Beach, Mango Margarita or Leechi Martini, the Calcutta guys and girls are truly getting into the flow of things, experimenting with taste-truths in an ever-expanding market.

And with Bacardi Breezer — after a splashing debut last year in Goa, Mumbai and Delhi — finding a favoured place on the bar counters this week, the battle of the bottle is bubbling over.

The initial Breezer sales have “met all expectations”, and the target consumers — males in the age group of 25 to 35 — have lapped up the new offering. Just as in the Capital, where youngsters — students and professionals— with an eye on the pocket have bonded with the fruit-flavoured, white rum-based drink, priced in Calcutta at Rs 38.

“Our research shows that in India, the ratio of men drinkers to the number of women who drink is 20:1. So, we will concentrate on men,” says Jeff Macdonald, marketing director, Bacardi-Martini India Ltd.

Some of the watering-hole haunts of the Calcutta youth, however, find women leading the way up the funky path, when it comes to their drink of choice.

Deep Pal, manager of Winning Streak at Hotel Hindusthan International, explains that while cocktails remain the ladies’ favourites and white spirits, along with whisky, are what the men prefer, the younger age group, from around 18 to 28, prefers bottled beers. And the latest craze is Bacardi Breezer, “because it’s fashionable”.

Exotic flavours and wild tastes are in. Of the three Breezer flavours — lime, orange and cranberry — launched, cranberry has stolen the show. And at Tantra, one of the most popular summer specials is the Tatler Cocktail, a mix of vodka and Campari, besides cranberry, pineapple and lime juices. “It’s very much in demand in bars in LA at the moment, and it’s Madonna and Sean Connery’s favourite drink,” explains manager Anirban Simlai.

“On weekdays, we get a lot of young professionals who want variety,” adds Simlai. “Our most popular drink is Mohito, a Bacardi and mint-based refreshing cocktail, made famous by James Bond. Then there is B52, Kamakazi and shots-based cocktails, like those with tequila.

For the older lot (over 35) though, it’s whisky (single malt) for the men and wine for the women. But as such, people are moving towards the white spirits, like vodka and white rum.”

And after a week of its ‘pop the cap and swig’ presence in Calcutta, Bacardi Breezer has made a mark in the ready-to-drink range. Playing to the image of ‘all things cool’, Bacardi is planning “wild parties”, the first of which in Calcutta will be on June 28 at Tantra. Live body-piercing, body-painting and tattooing services will be available for those who have a dash of Dutch courage after a few swigs.

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