Whisky Magazine’s annual Icons of Whisky India awards have over the years gained eminence in the f&b sector. Sandeep Arora, Spirits Ambassador, Consulting Editor, Whisky Magazine, UK, was in Hyderabad in February to be a part of the limited version of celebrations at Peacock Bar, ITC Kohenur. The signature bar at the luxury hotel of the ITC Group was judged the Best Bar by Whisky Magazine, UK..
The global Icons of Whisky awards were instituted in 2001, and unveiled in India in 2008. This year, unlike the usual annual gala event where the awards are announced; a virtual edition was in place to announce the awards for India. These winners will also compete globally.
“We follow a strict and exhaustive procedure to select the awards. This year it has been even more intense market research; an outreach programme involving industry, spirits companies, suppliers and vendors and guest experiences led to choosing the winners,” explains Sandeep Arora, who says he heard good things about the Peacock Bar even from the other hotels.
The awards are given in five different categories which include the best bars based on the collection, experience of the guests, the whisky rituals, food pairing etc., in addition to the above-mentioned criteria; people – the ambassadors of whisky, General Managers, Chefs, master blenders; communicators – people who talk about whisky, and retailers and brands.
In addition to Peacock Bar, Hyderabad-based Tonique was adjudged the Best Retail Space. The outlet with its 15000 sqft area houses over 1100 varieties of spirits, probably the largest in Asia. Tonique has one more outlet in Bengaluru.
Speaking about the Whisky drinking rituals of the Hyderabadis, the founder of Spirits & Rituals shares, “I have seen and observed the habits since 17 years, I vouch for the democratic way of drinking whisky which is being accepted internationally today.”
Sandeep believes in drinking better than drinking more, and promotes the same. And he sees Hyderabad evolving towards the concept. Speaking at the low key event with just 25 guests at the Peacock Bar to celebrate the awards, he shares the trends – “Drinking whisky has evolved over the years. You drink the way you want. There was a time when single malt was considered best with water – no more. In addition to single malts, there have been blends that are becoming bigger as well, and are becoming more unisex. Drinking Indian whiskys was not considered respectable, Brands like Amrud, Paul John and Radico have changed the perception. Even concepts like pairing have become a lot more integrated.”
For the video of the virtual event announcing Icons of Whisky India 2021 and Icon of Gin awards, click on the link below