A toast to the good times: The Vault Biennale festival celebrates luxury beverages
Lovers of fine liquor will not be left high and dry this weekend as Mumbai readies itself to host The Vault Biennale, a two-day festival celebrating distilled craft from across the world. It will showcase some of the best luxury beverages by hosting over 20 international masters, distillers, mixologists and story tellers on a single platform. The attendees will get to taste the creations of the world’s top mixologists and experts, via masterclasses, bar take-overs, discussions, tasting sessions, and much more.
YS Weekender spoke to Keshav Prakash, Founder and Creator, The Vault, on what to expect…
YS Weekender: Can you tell us about The Vault Biennale festival?
Keshav Prakash: The festival is for Indian connoisseurs to enjoy a curated experience for two days and celebrate craft distillers and distilleries. The aim of The Vault Biennale is to bring together a community that appreciates the fine spirits of the world.
YSW: What are the highlights of the festival?
KP: We have put together an incredible, international and Indian panel of whiskey crafters, distillers, aroma experts and mixologists. Their speeches and storytelling will be the highlight of the festival. Apart from this, the highlight is the presence of three of the World’s Top 50 bars of 2018 — Bar Benfiddich from Tokyo, The Clumsies from Athens, and Licoreria Limontour from Mexico City — which will give visitors a chance to indulge in their exemplary cocktails
YSW: What are some of the luxury beverages that will be showcased?
KP: We are going to be showcasing beverages from around the world in different categories range from single malt, rum, cognac, gin, vodka, and even some new world spirits like armagnac, calvados, and contemporary gins.
Every bottle has a tale, waiting to be shared – of its founder and the distiller
YSW: You say that "every bottle has a tale". Can you tell us what you mean by that?
KP: Every bottle has a tale, waiting to be shared – of its founder, of the distiller, of the terroir, of the wood in which it lay, of the people who built the spirit, of the mixologist who decided to `play’ with it and more. Distilling craft is very ancient and, today, whiskey making is a kind of tradition and a part of culture in countries across the world. For example, rum to the Caribbean, mezcal to the Mexican, and so on. It is often handed down from one generation to another. Every bottle has a bit of DNA of the maker in the way it is distilled.
YSW: What do they teach at the masterclasses?
KP: The masterclasses will be about understanding spirits better and learning to appreciate more. There will be several masterclasses such as ‘Aroma MasterClass’, a masterclass with a chocolate alchemist, ‘Tequila and Mezcal Masterclass’, and more.
YSW: Who is your Chocolate Alchemist, and what will he do?
KP: The Chocolate Alchemist is an incredible chocolate maker called Pratik and he loves playing around with alcohol, spirits and chocolates. He will present a workshop on how he found his passion for chocolate and how he enjoys mixing chocolates in alcohol and bringing them together.
YSW: Can you tell us about some special beverages- like the 'apple brandy' and the 'craft gin'. What makes them special?
KP: The world is exploring newer things and wants new experiences, and a part of the ‘discover’ section of Biennale is to bring together these spirits that we don't normally see or taste in India. Craft gins, for instance, are basically contemporary gins that are being made by individuals, and not mass produced.
YSW: How do distillers and mixologists keep creating new and unusual mixes to keep their customers excited about their products?
KP: I think it’s the constant thinking out of the box and a little bit of keeping up with the trends and a little bit of anticipating the future trends. For example, cognac makers were very old school and they always made cognac as a kind of either digestive or aperitif. But today, you have cognac makers thinking about making Cognac for cocktails. They are keeping up with the trends.
YSW: In a country like ours where liquor can be detrimental to health and lifestyle, how do you explain its complexities?
KP: I think it’s not just in India but anywhere in the world excessive drinking is a problem. It’s a complex subject but I believe that when someone really gets to appreciate either food or alcohol then excessiveness is automatically cut down. It requires a broader understanding to not make it taboo so that there are no rebels.
YSW: You mentioned a range of gourmand experiences. What are they?
KP: Our food partners will be curating mini experiences of food pairings, and about 15-20 stalls will have specially curated food like cheese, crackers and so on.
YSW: What are the future plans for the festival?
KP: This is the inaugural edition, and the idea is to bring this every other year, and it has taken a lot preparation to pull this off. We hope that it will grow with time.