Lift Up Your Spirits With Top Mixologist Veer Chettri

The world of bartending in India is a dynamic and vibrant scene, with skilled mixologists creating innovative cocktails that showcase the country's rich flavors and cultural diversity. Meet Veer Chettri, a remarkable bartender who has achieved the prestigious title of the Ultimate Bartender Champion of India. With an exceptional talent for mixology, he has left a lasting impression on the world of cocktails and spirits. Veer's creativity knows no bounds as he expertly combines various ingredients to craft innovative and tantalizing concoctions. His cocktails not only impress the taste buds but also engage all the senses, making every sip an unforgettable experience. As a key member of the top bars in India, Copitas, Veer Chettri continues to push the boundaries of mixology, elevating the art of bartending to new heights. 

Here’s an exclusive interview with Veer Chettri. 

Tell us about your journey of becoming a Bartender. How did you develop an interest in mixology and what inspired you to pursue it as a career? 

My journey into becoming a bartender started with a love for mixing up trouble… I mean, mixing up cocktails! My interest in mixology began as a way to impress friends at parties, but little did I know it would lead me down the path of becoming a professional bartender. It turns out my knack for concocting drinks was much more appreciated than my attempts at singing karaoke. So, I embraced my inner bartender, and here I am, slinging drinks and making people forget their bad singing voices one cocktail at a time!  

Initial reactions from family and close ones on learning your decision of choosing this as a career? 

Initially, being an army brat, my family and close ones were surprised by my decision but as they saw my dedication and passion for mixology, they became supportive and proud of my choice. 

Can you share your experience working at various bars and restaurants, and how it has shaped your mixology skills? 

Working at various bars and restaurants has been an enriching experience. It has exposed me to a diverse clientele and taught me to adapt my skills according to different preferences. Each place has rightfully contributed to my growth as a bartender and helped me refine my techniques. 

How do you feel to be a part of one of the best bars in the country?   

Being a part of one of the best bars, Copitas and undoubtedly the best team in the country feels super magical ! Copitas is like stepping into a wonderland of cocktails, where creativity knows no bounds. The pride and joy I feel every time I step behind that bar are beyond words. It’s like being a kid in a candy store, only with cocktail shakers instead of lollipops! 

What is your approach to creating unique and innovative cocktails? How do you come up with new recipes? 

My approach to creating unique cocktails involves experimenting with fresh, seasonal ingredients and exploring different flavor profiles. Inspiration can come from anywhere, including cultural influences, nature, or even guest requests. I believe in continuously pushing boundaries to create innovative and memorable drinks. 

How do you balance creativity with staying true to classic cocktail techniques and flavours?  

Balancing creativity with staying true to classic cocktail techniques is crucial. I always respect the traditional foundations of mixology while infusing my creations with contemporary elements, resulting in a harmonious blend of both worlds. 

Who has been his mentor from the industry who has inspired him?   

I’ve had a lot of mentors throughout my journey so far and they’ve been my guiding star, showing me the magic behind crafting extraordinary cocktails. But one special mention would be Mr. Sarath Nair he’s the beverage head for our hotel and his passion for mixology is contagious, he has guided and inspired me and the whole team to keep pushing our boundaries, one shake at a time! 

How do you receive compliments as well as criticism?   

Compliments are always encouraging and make me do a little happy dance behind the bar, and I cherish them as they motivate me to keep improving. On the other hand, I embrace criticism as an opportunity to learn and grow, seeking valuable feedback from both guests and peers. 

Can you describe a challenging situation you encountered while crafting a cocktail and how you overcame it? 

One challenging situation I encountered was when I attempted to create a complex cocktail with multiple layers of flavour . It had so many ingredients that it could have passed as a grocery list! It was a real puzzle getting all those flavors to play nicely together. But with some trial and error and a bit of luck, the final result turned out to be a delicious surprise that even I couldn’t have predicted! 

How do you stay updated on the latest trends and developments in the mixology world? 

I’m like a cocktail detective, always on the lookout for the latest trends and tricks of the trade. I attend workshops, industry events, read up on cocktail blogs, and have secret rendezvous with fellow bartenders to exchange ideas and learn about emerging techniques and ingredients. 

What are your favorite ingredients to work with, and why do you find them inspiring? 

Some of my favourite ingredients to work with include fresh herbs, artisanal spirits, and unique bitters. Their versatility allows me to create diverse flavors and elevate the overall drinking experience of our guests. 

As a mixologist, how do you make sure that your drinks are not only visually appealing but also deliver an exceptional taste experience to your customers?  

To ensure that my drinks are not only visually appealing but also deliver an exceptional taste experience, I focus on the balance of flavors, textures, and presentation. Attention to detail and using high-quality ingredients play a significant role in creating a memorable drinking experience for our guests. 

How do you ensure that your cocktails cater to different palates and preferences? 

I’m like a Mind reader behind the Bar, well not really!  

To cater to different palates and preferences, I believe in engaging with guests to understand their preferences. Also offering a diverse menu that includes a range of cocktails, from classic to innovative, ensures there’s something for everyone. 

Can you share some of your proudest moments or achievements in your mixology career?

One time, a guest took a sip of a cocktail I was trying for our new menu and exclaimed, “This is like a tropical vacation in a glass!” It made me feel like I had become the official bartender of paradise! Also, being crowned the Ultimate Bartender Champion of India by Monkey Shoulder last month was pretty epic - it’s like getting a gold medal in the Olympics of cocktail-making skills ! And just like they say “Skills pay Bills”.  

What drives you every day to work?  

What drives me every day is the joy of crafting exceptional drinks that bring smiles to my guests’ faces. Seeing their satisfaction and appreciation for my creations fuels my passion for mixology, it’s like the best kind of applause a bartender can get.   

As a mixologist, what's the most memorable or heartwarming story you've witnessed while serving customers?

As a mixologist, one of the most heartwarming stories I witnessed while serving our guests was when a regular patron, who had recently faced a personal setback, came into the bar feeling quite down. As they shared their story with me, I crafted a special cocktail to lift their spirits. The drink combined their favourite flavors and had a subtle touch of nostalgia. Seeing the joy on his face as he took the first sip and hearing how the drink brought back cherished memories was truly a touching moment. From that day on, he fondly referred to the cocktail as his “happy potion” and would order it whenever they needed a pick-me-up. 

In your experience, what's the strangest combination of ingredients that surprisingly resulted in a delicious and popular drink at your bar? 

In my experience, the strangest combination of ingredients that surprisingly resulted in a delicious and popular drink at our bar was a fusion of Betel leaf, fresh lime juice, honey saffron water and tequila. At first, we experimented with these ingredients out of curiosity, unsure if they would harmonize well together. To our surprise, the refreshing and slightly sour flavor combination resonated with our guests, and the drink quickly gained popularity. solidifying its place on our menu as a unique and beloved concoction.      

What are the top 5 drinks of Copitas. 

Personally, it’s very hard to rate the top 5 as all of the drinks on the menu are the best of the best and have gone through careful selection in terms of spirit, technique and ingredients.  

In no specific order my top 5 would be  

1.Leaf - It’s a mix of tequila , betel leaf and honey saffron Water with fresh some lime juice.  

2.Copa no .4 - It’s a G&T style of drink with turmeric and basil as the hero of the drink.  

3.Root - It’s a 3 Sip cocktail with Vodka, Nannari syrup and lime juice clarified using Milk for that extra layer of texture and to make it more mellow and easy sipping.  

4.Flower - A highball style of a drink with Kudampuli (pot tamarind) as the hero of the drink with Rum, blue pea cordial and soda. Gar usher with palqua  milk cake) wrapped in pandan leaf.  

5.Nighthawk - It is off the menu but I love to make this one, it’s a riff on the classic espresso martini replacing vodka with bourbon whisky, shot of espresso, coffee liqueur and garnished with Coffee shavings. Bound to keep you awake all night.  


Cocktail name- Flower

Kudampuli (pot tamarind) infused light rum - 15ml 

Bacardi carta Blanca - 45ml  

Blue pea cordial - 30ml  

Top up with soda  

Glass - Highball 

Garnish - Palqua (milk cake) wrapped in pandan leaf  

Cocktail name - Copa No. 4 

Gin - 60ml  

Turmeric and basic cordial - 30ml  

Lime juice - 10ml  

Top up with tonic  

Glass - Copa glass  

Garnish- Basil leaves