Spirited Cuisines: Mohit Malhotra

Rare Scotch by the oldest distillery in Scotland, the hottest Craft Gin and Beer, or the rare vintages of the Grand Cru wines – the world of luxury spirits and wines is indeed an exhilarating one. From aristocratic royalty to new money, elaborate alcoholic beverages have always been synonymous with wealth, status and eccentricity.

Thanks to an increase in wealth, independence and empowerment, now even the Modern-She is turning her eye to luxury products and services that were historically a ‘male territory.’ As a result, many brands are seeking to specifically appeal to the rising affluent female consumer.

Hence, it is no surprise that all the luxury spirits (whether it is the rapper-endorsed beverage or the undeniable classics) are getting more and more extravagant with highly detailed packaging designs, rich histories and even extremely expensive price tags.

Coming from a city where food is a religion, it is only imperative for its drinkers to team it correctly with their finest choice of elixir. In order to understand this culture better, we caught up with some connoisseurs from the city, to get an insight on their favourite alcohol, and their recommended pairings.

Mohit Malhotra, Executive Assistant Manager, Park Hyatt Hyderabad

You’ve been a part of the luxury hospitality industry for 16 years… tell us about the world of luxury.

Through my experiences, I have learnt that people don’t just fly from one part of the world to another to simply stay at a hotel and eat. They do it because they are in search of an experience – an experience of comfort and indulgence.

What’s missing when it comes to the luxury spirits?

There’s still a strong need for brands to express heritage, provenance and premium values on spirits packaging, but with a new focus on communicating it with subtle cues that convey craft and an eye for detail. Despite an upsurge of restaurants, the city certainly needs a great cocktail bar with mixology and creativity taking centre stage – a place where an experience is created through modern gastronomy and the craft of cocktail, and where music is not the focal attraction.

A tapas wine bar with an extensive wine by the glass selection with grazing food options would be a concept worth pondering upon.

Your favourite spirit?

My new found adoration for pairing lies in a much understated beverage, Tonic. If 70% of your Gin and Tonic is the tonic, then choosing a match that harmoniously fits in to the company of your favourite gin is important. International brands such as Fever-Tree, offer a range of tonic waters complementing the flavour profiles of this luxury spirit.

Basic pairing tips?

  • Whisky has a rich, deep and very smoky underlying flavour that works really well with aged beef… try it with a fine Japanese whiskey which has just the right amount of bitterness and butteriness and smokiness.
  • The layers of gin’s botanicals enhance the briny but not too intense flavours of the shrimps.
  • Bourbon has a gentle depth from ageing in a charred oak barrel, making it an ideal accompaniment to barbecue. Have that big slab of smoky baby-back ribs or smoked brisket with a glass of small-batch bourbon or a well-made Manhattan.
  • The Russians like to keep it simple: Serve Vodka, icy cold, with caviar, smoked fish, herring – to give the neutral spirit a kick.