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Five minutes with bartender Roshan Shetty

Originally from India, bartender Roshan Shetty has worked all over Asia, recently placed as a finalist at the Hong Kong edition of Diageo World Class 2012 and currently works at a 3-star Michelin restaurant.

Bartending has taken you to some of the best bars in the world. Tell us about your journey…

I grew up surrounded by bar culture as my father owns his own bar in Mumbai, India. I was attracted to the bartending profession from an early age and decided to pursue a career in food and beverage to follow my passion. Since then, I have been lucky enough to work in some of the best bars in India and beyond. In 2006, I joined the Taj West End Hotel in Bangalore’s Blue Bar which gave me the first taste of a lively, active bar atmosphere.

Thereafter, my passion for bartending took me to an exciting set of cities across the world; Four Seasons Mumbai, Four Seasons Singapore, Hilton Park Lane in London, Four Season Maldives and finally to the exhilarating atmosphere of Hong Kong. Hong Kong has given me the greatest opportunity by allowing me to complete my skillset as a mixologist and create what I hope to be world class cocktails for my patrons.

Tell us about the bar you currently work at: the people, the style and the atmosphere…

I currently work at the bar in Otto e Mezzo Bombana, a three-Michelin-starred Italian restaurant in Central district, Hong Kong. The bar/lounge of the restaurant attracts a sophisticated clientele who appreciates intricately concocted types of cocktails. My colleagues and I create a warm and friendly atmosphere and hope our patrons return often to be part of our ‘family’. We also hope to contribute to the Hong Kong bar scene, adding more knowledge to the art of the mixed drink and cocktails.

Describe your favourite bar guest…

Someone who appreciates and seeks to explore their own tastes through my cocktail creations.

What’s your favourite cocktail ingredient and why?

Vermouth, which is an aromatised fortified wine with various botanicals. A refined vermouth brings complexity and depth to different types of cocktails.

When not at work, which bars do you visit and what do you order?

I like to explore hidden, lesser known districts in Hong Kong and have relaxed drinks in local dive bars. It’s a contrast to the glamorous setting of fine dining restaurants and bars and makes me feel like a local in this city.

What other city / bar in the world would you love to work in?

Someday I hope to take my bartending style to new heights in New York City and work at one of the hidden speakeasy dens that attract serious cocktail aficionados.

What was the last track played on your iPod? Be honest!

Champagne Supernova – Oasis

By Ashley Pini for Drinks World Asia, a quarterly trade magazine for the Asian beverage industry.