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Shaken and Stirred: Delhi Celebrates its First Ever Gin Festival This Weekend; Deets Inside

Shaken and Stirred: Delhi Celebrates its First Ever Gin Festival This Weekend; Deets Inside

Food Talk India founders Shuchir Suri and Anjali Batra discuss all things gin, their bespoke food experiences, and the future of dining and drinking in the country.

Food Talk India, is bringing the biggest celebration of gin this month to Delhi with The Gin Explorers Club at Olive Bar & Kitchen on September 22 and 23, which will be the city's first festival devoted to the sublime spirit.

In addition to sipping cocktails, festival activities will include a host of immersive experiences like - Gin Chocolate tastings by All Things Chocolate, Sunday brunch at The Grammar Room, and a fun paint and gin activity with Angel Bedi, along with a fabulous line up of DJs and musicians such as Dhruv Visvanath, Smiti Malik and Adhir, Poco Loco to name a few.

We caught up with Food Talk India founders Shuchir Suri and Anjali Batra to discuss all things gin, their bespoke food experiences, and the future of dining and wining in the country. The following are excerpts from the interview:

While Gin has seen literally a staggering rise in popularity of late, what led to this particular immersive, The Gin Explorers Club, to come about? What was the genesis of the idea?

Well the growing trend for Gin was the biggest reason we decided to do this festival. The ethos of the festival is to grow the world of Gin together. We've been eager to get into large-scale curated events for a while and the idea of a Gin festival was almost organic and the most obvious way to start this. It's an unusual spirit with so much substance - it's diverse, it's unique, it's one of a kind - literally, with each and every Gin having its own unique flavour and personality. For a company that likes to do things differently - it was almost a calling. And so we set out to create what we hope to be the most memorable drink festival the country has ever seen.

Anjali: Gin has been a passion for me for quite some time now- I often say my alter ego is "The Gin Lady"- and to be able to spread that love for Gin through a city that was already catching on to the trend was just such an exciting idea.

How many Gin brands will be participating?

We have 7 Gin brands that we are showcasing at the festival. From the classics that we have all grown up seeing at bars world over to an exciting new array of Craft Gins. The festival will have a mix of premium and super-premium brands for guests to explore and fall in love with.

Typically, how much time does it take from conception to execution of these bespoke experiences?

Well, a bespoke experience all starts from an idea. This idea then seeds the thought and builds into a concept which then goes into planning & execution. This could take days or even months. We've been working on The Gin Explorer's Club for over 4 months now and it's been one helluva joy ride. It is important to immerse yourself into a universe when you are planning something like this. You eat, sleep, breathe the product so that the outcome has the most phenomenal impact on consumers. Finding the right partners is imperative and that can take a while- we've been very fortunate to get a great set of partners to work with on this- from our Gin brands to Olive Bar & Kitchen to a fabulous set of creative minds. Collaboration is key.

Given that Food Talk India invests so much in curated experientials and immersives, there's clearly a huge appetite for dining, with a difference. Do you think this concept will spread to tier-two cities, if it hasn't already?

Yes, definitely. We have already taken some of our concepts to smaller cities like Hyderabad, Pune and Kolkata, and the response was fantastic. People no longer are looking for just a MEAL. They are looking for an experience and we give them just that. Immersive dining is about taking a one-dimensional experience and making it three-dimensional. From the food to the plating to the conversations with people you are seated on a table with. Our experiences are orchestrated in a way to elevate all of that and combine it to make it an unforgettable experience - one you will never forget. We are in the business of building memories around food, drink and experiences.

Are there any other food/beverage trends that Food Talk India hopes to highlight through such experientials?

Sustainability and celebrating local produce - it's a huge trend globally and we think it's beautiful how restaurants and bars are celebrating root to form and bone to the nose. The concept of not only Zero Waste kitchens but also Zero Waste bars is growing globally and we hope to see that soon in India.

Have you guys noticed a change in social media engagement trends of late? Is Facebook losing out to Instagram in all things food and drink, for instance?

Well, there is a change in trend when it comes to the millennials - because Instagram as a feed is clean. It's no fuss. Simple, easy. Post, Caption, Over. So that works very well when it comes to food and drink and people are lapping up this content. However, Facebook will always be Facebook. Everyone and anyone is on Facebook- from the millennials to the older generation. So yes Facebook has not lost out yet.

After becoming a dominant influencer in India's F&B market, and the successful launch and operating of experiences, events, and an App as well, what's next for Food Talk India?

Well this is our next step. Creating our own large-scale IP's. The Gin Explorer's Club is the pilot and we are hoping to turn this into an annual property and of course, scaling it up to multiple cities. This being the first of many- we are exploring other Concept IP's in the F&B space. Our niche is our curation and how we always strive to give a different experience to our consumers. So our IP's will always be left off center and something innovative. The Gin Festival was the perfect fit and we are looking at our second IP going live this winter!

Book your place here.

first published:September 19, 2018, 12:39 IST