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Cocktails And The Community

Cocktails And The Community

  • Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador Evonne Eadie On How The Pandemic Has Brought The Industry Together, 2021 Trends And More

Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador Evonne Eadie is a hospitality industry veteran with over 12 years’ experience. A WSET-qualified Spirits Trainer who honed her craft in some of the best bars in Australia and overseas, she joined the Diageo India Brand Ambassador team in 2019.

Specialising in single malt whisky, Evonne is a master of converting non-whisky drinkers into whisky lovers through unique food and drink experiences. In this interview, Eadie tells Gurgl about her hopes for the year ahead even as she looks back at the current year that was full of learnings. Edited excerpts:

Tell us the biggest trends in 2021 that you expect to see

Digital everything:

Menu’s payments, stock take, you name it.  The hospitality industry is getting more and more digital as we look to reduce contactable surfaces, which has the added benefit of reducing waste.

Mindful drinking/no and low:

As consumers become more educated on how much and what they are drinking, the industry is embracing this by increasing offerings of no and low alcoholic serves and looking at ways they can source products that have minimal impact on the environment.  This includes working with local producers, looking at seasonal produce, and using as much of a raw ingredient as possible.

Rethinking wastage:

Items that were often thrown out are being used to make new and innovative ingredients. For example, coffee grinds can be converted into liqueurs, spent citrus husks can be made into syrups.  Bartenders are looking at making the most of each and every raw ingredient they work with.

Food and drink:

Restaurants are seeing the value that cocktails can bring to their venues.  A perfectly paired cocktail to a dish will give guests a new and memorable experience to the usual wine and this is now becoming a great way to generate an additional revenue stream.

Community collaboration:

Chef’s collaborating with bartenders.  Bartenders collaborating with bee-keepers.  Community outreach programs supplying products to venues. The community collaboration is growing rapidly.

Looking back, how do you evaluate 2020 from a spirits-point of view?

Premiumisation:

Many people gained an appreciation for drinking better through the lockdown.  It gave time to sip and savour spirits so we found many were choosing to premiumise their choices.

Cocktails at home:

Not being able to head to your favourite bar for a cocktail meant people were learning to make drinks for themselves. There was a large increase in people wanting education on how to make delicious cocktails at home.

What have been your biggest learnings from 2020?

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female bartender shaking cocktail in the background with a yellow cocktail in front

The hospitality community is just that, a community.  People have banded together to support the industry and help those who were impacted by the global pandemic. This support came in a number of ways, from financial, educational, emotional, and more, but it was clear that the industry was stronger when it worked together.

People learned how to make cocktails at home during the pandemic

What do you think is the best thing to have come out of 2020 for the cocktail culture?

Cocktails at home and appreciation for serves and the feeling it brings to you.

How have you upskilled yourself during the pandemic? Do you recommend it to other bartenders?

Absolutely. I’m a firm advocate of constantly learning and the pandemic has encouraged sharing knowledge globally. It has normalised connecting and collaborating online which has given access to bartending tips and techniques from all over the world. I am in regular contact with the Global Diageo Brand Ambassador team who inspire me daily with their creativity. I have recently been experimenting with dairy-based salted syrups after seeing Jack Sotti (UK Head of Brand Advocacy) create some Tanqueray cocktails with this ingredient.

What role/ opportunity/ event are you most excited about in 2021?

I am exceptionally excited to get World Class Bartender of the Year Competition back up and running in 2021. We had delayed the launch due to restrictions in 2020, so we will be launching a revamped competition in January. This will see the best bartenders from India compete through three rounds of challenges to crown the Bartender of the year who will compete on the world stage at the global finals held in Madrid in July 2021. Originally this was planned for Sydney which, being Australian I was excited to showcase, but will now have to wait until 2022 to do that. Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to showcasing India’s bartenders and sharing world-class drinking experiences with consumers and trade alike.

If you had to describe 2020 in one cocktail, what would it be?

I wouldn’t. 2020 has been different for everyone and my experience may not represent another. I believe all can reflect personally on 2020 as a year to look at what truly matters to you and reset accordingly

Recipes Recommended by Evonne Eadie:

Gordons G&T


Servings 1 person

Equipment

  • Copa Glass

Ingredients

  • 50 ml Gordon’s Gin
  • 150 ml bottled tonic to top

Instructions

  • Fill a chilled Copa glass with fresh ice cubes
  • Pour 50ml of Gordon's gin over the ice and top up with chilled tonic
  • Gently squeeze a wedge of lime into the glass before dropping it in, then give it all a final stir

Johnnie Walker Peach Highball


Servings 1 person

Equipment

  • Use a Highball glass

Ingredients

  • 50 ml Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch Whisky
  • 50 ml Peach Iced Tea sweetened
  • 50 ml Soda Water

Instructions

  • Fill a Highball glass with 50ml sweetened peach ice tea
  • Add 50ml Johnnie Walker Black Label Scotch Whisky
  • Top it up with some soda
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