By Ananya Bahl
Why jostle at the bar for a drink when you can enjoy one in the comfort of your home? Here’s decoding the popular home bartending trend in the pandemic.
During the times when social distancing reigns supreme, the way we live is constantly changing. And nowhere is this more apparent than in the social stratosphere—clubbing, parties and weddings. Smaller gatherings, intimate settings and personalised service are given priority over all else to ensure a safe and fun ambience.  
The house party returns in all its glory. It was a big phenomenon in the ‘80s when we had very few pubs. While the motivation is different this time around, the fervour is multiplied. This is thanks to safety concerns and the limitation in the number of people at weddings and other events.  
Prathamesh Chavan of Drinq with Alexander Shtifanov, a world champion in flair bartending
People are increasingly opting for bartending services at home ever since the ban on alcohol was lifted during the second phase of the lockdown in mid-2020. Since October, companies like Drinq have been offering home bartending services to their loyal customer base. Prathamesh Chavan, senior mixologist, Drinq, says, “I have been bartending at parties for over 10 years. Right now, safety and hygiene are of utmost importance.
House parties mostly have 15-20 guests.” Chavan says that most people who host house parties do so at stand-alone bungalows. “We are focused on reducing contact to a bare minimum: not just for alcohol but also for additions like mint, fruit peels, sugar, etc.” 

Customers prefer bartenders and companies who practice strict safety measures. We had a pre-Diwali bash at home in October and hired a bartender who we know for years. He gets a COVID-19 test done every month and brings all the material himself, including stirrers and mixing glasses, and they are all wrapped in kits. He ensures that everything in his kit is properly sanitized.” says New Delhi-based Komal Seth.  
From the event planner’s perspective, it’s all about adjusting business offerings to the new normal. Punit Chande of Mumbai-based Auspicious Events & Entertainment says, “Alcohol isn’t allowed at weddings currentlyHence, people are opting for house parties for their pre-wedding functions. 
Home bartenders add that zing to a party that people enjoy in a bar. They are truly the X factor when it comes to planning a party at home. “In the lockdown, we are all cooking at home and I didn’t want caterers because that increases the number of persons and exposure. I got the food for the party made at home. So, the ‘wow’ factor of the night was the bartender,” says Seth.
For her, the fact that he dresses according to the party’s theme, gauges the mood of the guest, knows when to go easy and amp up the drinks, and helps serving the starters, adds to the list of pros. “It also reduced my stress for the party as it was one element I didn’t have to think about.” She adds.  
At the other end of the spectrum, online bartending courses are also gaining momentum. Mixologist and bartending instructor Arjun Nayar, who has worked with Trident, Oberoi and Marriott runs Kolkata-based Amor Por La Bebida, an online beverage workshop experience, opines that a lot more people are going to use this time to improve their skills. “I’ve had people who are passionate about crafting cocktails sign up for my online classes and, at times, each class has about 15 students, all eager to learn.” 
As of now, business viability seems to be positive as overheads are reduced when it comes to home bartending. We predict an increase in house parties and more people gravitating toward home bartending services. Whatever the future holds for us, there’s still going to be a lot of fun in store and we raise a toast to that 
Bar Partners: 
Drinq075065 06757 
Cocktails and Dreams+91 98183 53064 
Catering and Allied by Joss Restaurant022 6631 4430 
Culinary Foods Catering: 022 220 55557/8