- Diageo India Brand Ambassador Afzal Kaba talks about the importance of upskilling during the pandemic, the changes that happened in the spirits industry in 2020 and more
Afzal Kaba, Brand Ambassador at Diageo India has over 14 years of professional experience in the F&B Industry in India, the UK, Africa, and the Middle East. Kaba has been a facilitator for Diageo Bar Academy & Art of blending in West India and has a distinction in WSET Level 2 (Spirits). We asked Kaba about the year that was 2020, the tiki connection to the year and more. He was also gracious enough to suggest some cocktails for us.
Tell us the biggest trends in 2021 that you expect to see.
2021 will bring into focus an evolved trend of premixed cocktails and DIY recipes that can be made at home. As 2020 kickstarted the trend for DIY, 2021 will provide an upgraded experience of the same. Takeaway food and premixed cocktails will also add to the trend in the upcoming times.
Looking back, how do you evaluate 2020 from a spirits POV?
2020 has been a year of innovation as beverages were made take-away friendly. Additionally, easy-to-make recipes at home definitely uplifted the DIY trend that is being practiced till date.
What have been your biggest learnings from 2020?
2020 has definitely taught us to save, take care of our health and experiment with new skills that have never been explored. The year definitely allowed us to reflect and learn techniques with spirits that involved curating recipes with ingredients easily available at home.
What do you think is the best thing to have come out of 2020 for the cocktail culture?
The standout element about 2020 was that consumers were keen to DIY their drinks and curate their own indoor occasions with cocktails.
How have you upskilled yourself during the pandemic? Do you recommend it to other bartenders?
I have been practicing cocktail photography at home with all the new recipes that I have been inventing in my kitchen. I would definitely recommend this to every bartender, which will also help them to visualize their cocktails better.
What role/ opportunity/ event are you most excited about in 2021?
Diageo India is all set to come back with World Class 2021 next year. I am very excited to have the competition back in full swing.
If you had to describe 2020 in one cocktail, what would it be?
It would be like a Tiki Cocktail considering we have spent the majority of the year wearing T-shirts and shorts at home.
Recipes Recommended by Afzal Kaba:
- Use a Champagne Flute glass
- You will also need a Muddler to prepare this cocktail
- 30 ml Tanqueray London Dry gin
- 2 spoonfuls crushed Pomegranate
- 1 bottle Tonic Water
- Rosemary for garnish
- Take a Champagne flute and add 30ml Tanqueray London Dry Gin
- Use a muddler to crush about 2 spoonfuls of pomegranate
- Top with tonic water
- Add Rosemary as garnish
Coffee & Co
- Use a coupe glass to serve
- 60 ml Ketel One Vodka
- 25 ml Espresso Coffee Alternately, you can also dissolve 2 tablespoons of instant coffee in 30 ml hot water
- 20 ml Ginger Honey Syrup To make this syrup, take some crushed ginger + peel of ½ orange + 2 sticks of cinnamon +100 ml water. Boil the water first and add same quantity of honey, stir to dissolve
- 2 sticks Cinnamon To make the Ginger Honey Syrup and for garnish
- Ice As needed
- Take a cocktail shaker and add 60ml Ketel One Vodka
- Add 25ml coffee and 20ml honey syrup
- Add ice and shake hard
- Strain it in a chilled coupe glass without ice
- Grate cinnamon on top for garnish
- Use Rocks Glass
- 50 ml Captain Morgan Rum
- 60 ml Fresh Pineapple Juice
- 15 ml Spice Syrup To make the Spice Syrup, take 1 cinnamon stick, 1 star anise, little grate of nutmeg. Boil 100ml water, check the liquid and add same amount of sugar and stir until dissolved along with the spices. Keep it for 1 hour to extract flavours and then strain.
- Take a cocktail shaker and add 50ml Captain Morgan rum
- Add 60ml Pineapple juice and 15ml Spice syrup along with ice and shake hard
- Strain it without ice over a block of ice and garnish with grated nutmeg