It’s not every day that a Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador mixes a Negroni for you. But then Negroni Week is special and Ajay Nayyar was happy to oblige
Ajay Nayyar fell into bartending with one of the finest cocktails bar in India, Ricks at the Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi. Today, Nayyar is one of India’s most accomplished spirits professionals with an incredible journey of 13 years in F&B operations, bars, training and advocacy roles. His career has included stints at speciality restaurants in ITC Hotels and bars at the Oberoi Group before he stepped into training and beverage consulting projects on behalf of various alcobev clients.
We asked Nayyar to make the perfect Negroni for us and he obliged, using his favourite gin, the Tanqueray London Dry. The venue was Diablo, Priyank Sukhija’s Gothic-styled bar in Delhi’s tony Qutab area. “It may look like a simple cocktail, but it’s incredibly difficult to make a good one where all the flavours—sweet, dry and bitter—are perfectly balanced,” he says.
Nayyar’s love of whisky has also taken him to Scotland, its spiritual capital. He loves to share his enthusiasm for and deep knowledge of alcoholic spirits by giving talks and tastings as well as conducting masterclasses. He has a certificate in distilling from the Institute of Brewing & Distilling, UK along with WSET Level 2 in Spirits, besides holding a diploma and degree in hotel management. When he’s not mixing drinks or teaching others, he focuses on doing research on intrinsic ingredients and Scotch whisky while sipping his favourite drink, a Smoky Old Fashioned made with Talisker 10 years.