As W Goa turns up their party quotient, the hotel has appointed Kshitij Goel as their very first Beverage Ambassador. In a short span Goel has been a part of the pre-opening team of 4 top venues including a member’s only bar at Hyatt Regency Delhi. Having recently moved from Delhi to Goa, his passion for mixology can be seen on his Instagram account where he shares photos and recipes of his latest curations. He loves to play and work with homegrown ingredients as he believes it to great for the local community.

Kshitij has been a huge contributor to the hotel's newly launched gin bar SYLVIA and is adding his twist to the bar at exclusive Gibson Course. Inspired by history itself, he has curated a set menu of five, that will break the rules of Gin pairing giving you an unexpected experience that will spark even the most discerning palates. 

He believes in the idea of Detox. Retox. Repeat as he says that his role is to keep the drinks flowing. 

Here’s an excerpt from the interview

What and from where has been your training or experience you have in bartending?

I have been fortunate to train under some legendary beverage professionals, right from Mr. Nitin Tewari to Mr Jean Vital to maestro Luca Cinalli and Gabriele Manfredi. In a short span of 4 years, I’ve been a part of the pre-opening team of 4 top venues including a member’s only bar at Hyatt Regency Delhi and securing a role as W Goa’s premier Beverage Ambassador. 

What fascinates you about being behind the bar?

The ability to enhance a guest’s experience by curating a beverage that suits their mood. I absolutely love interacting with guests and the euphoric moment when they realize they’ve found “their” drink.  

How do you see that cocktails have evolved over the years? What’s your take?

Cocktail making is an art, it is an ever-evolving experiment which appeals to so many – whether behind a bar or from the comfort of their home. People are looking to enjoy their cocktails over hours of talk, laughter and delicious appetizers.    

Today, gin is the “it” drink with so many exciting homegrown brands experimenting in the segment. W Goa’s premier gin bar Sylvia is home to the best gin & gin cocktails from all over the world. We have curated an exclusive Gibson Course at Sylvia – a five course gin pairing menu that sparks even the most discerning palates. 

Our goal is to make gin a social drink, one that can be paired with delectable food curations. 

What is your take on Indian audiences and their growing interest for innovative new age cocktails?

As a whole, I have noticed that the Indian audience is very keen on trying new curations and recommendations by mixologists. I love how experimental we are! At the same time, mixologists are also catching up with the varied taste palates of the Indian audience, and are able to suggest a range of new-age cocktails to suit the diverse crowd.  

Do you agree that if food is wrongly paired with a drink the whole experience has fall flat? 

Definitely. In fact, I believe that is what sets an expert apart from an amateur – the knowledge of what ingredients pair well together and which combinations are a strict no-no. 

Our taste palate has 5 senses. When we pair food and beverages, it is necessary for us to find the right blend of all the flavors to curate an elevated culinary experience. 

For example, sushi with a fresh fruit cocktail or an Italian meal with a cocktail that has a strong after taste would not pair well.  

Which are Mixers and garnishes that you can blindly vouch for?

My go-to mixer is Kombucha. It pairs well with most ingredients and is a healthier alternative to most other mixers.  In terms of garnish, I love how versatile orange is. It has so many varied usage – wedge, wheel, zest, burnt orange, orange candy! It adds a refreshing kick to any cocktail. 

How do you handle substitutions to drink ingredients?

Once again, knowing the kind of ingredients that pair together is crucial. Once you understand the taste profile of the drink, you’re able to experiment with variations of the cocktail that taste equally good, or even better! 

Which are those three places in India that you will go for a drink?

I love to explore! I will always be open to visit the hottest new venue and try out their signature cocktails. But Rockpool at W Goa is still my favorite place for a drink! Yes, I’m bias but anyone that has tried it out will agree with me! The most amazing sunset paired with a refreshing cocktail is what you can expect every time. 

What's your favourite drink to make? Please share the recipe.

That would be one of our signature drinks at Sylvia gin bar – Thracia! The cocktail is derived from Negroni and requires a 48-hour infusion technique. 

Here is the recipe for my version of Thracia:

Glassware – Old fashioned, Method – Stir

Garnish – Charred orange, Olive and rosemary

Ingredients:                

    Gin 30 ml

    Mushroom Campari 20 ml

    Umami vermouth 20 ml

    Truffle oil 5 ml

Muddle all and mix them