"India is one of the fastest growing luxury goods markets, with an upcoming cocktail culture. Bartenders here are being inspired to create drinks using the local flavours and ingredients and I have no doubt that well see an explosion of Indian influence globally over the next year," says Tim Etherington-Judge, brand ambassador of leading drinks brand Diageo Reserve, known for brands like Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Talisker.
Tim is in India to judge an international bartending competition, ''Diageo Reserve World Class 2011'', the global search for the best bartender in the world with estimated 10,000 entrants across 39 markets from the most famous bars around the world.
The inaugural edition of the competition was held in 2009 and it educates bartenders and inspires them to create exceptional cocktails, service and experiences for consumers.
This time, India has been chosen as the host nation.
"We are committed to nurturing and supporting emerging markets across the globe. This is why India, a vibrant country, with a rich culture and heritage, has been chosen as the host for the grand finale," says Etherington.
"Our brand is well positioned to cater to the growing appetite for luxury experiences in India and this competition brings to Indian consumers, the opportunity to experience the latest international trends and rituals in mixology," he says.
The cocktail segment in India has received a major shot in the arm with the entry of foreign liquor brands. Also, people are traveling a lot and getting exposed to a variety of drinks abroad.
Etherington feels that the bar scene in India is still to catch up with the US or Europe, but he is amazed by the passion, creativity and dedication of Indian bartenders.