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Georgina Barbachano: Fastest draw at the bar

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Georgina Barbachano, a participant of Speed Rack Mexico 2019, where she won a place as one of the top 20 fastest bartenders, was recently in Bengaluru. She talks about how bartending is more than just a job for her

Georgina Barbachano, a participant of Speed Rack Mexico 2019, where she won a place as one of the top 20 fastest bartenders, was recently in Bengaluru. She talks about how bartending is more than just a job for her

When life gives you lemons, take it with a pinch of salt and a shot of tequila! As a BBA student in her hometown of Morelia, Michoacán in Mexico, Georgina Barbachano, was plodding through her internship. “I had always hated the food-and-beverage sector, but we were required to intern in all the areas and since I was placed in a restaurant, I was moved from the kitchen, to the floor and then, to the bar. It was when I started at the bar that I fell in love with it!” she laughs.

Following her success at the 2019 Speed Rack Mexico where she placed with the top 20 fastest bartenders, Gina’s cocktail bar Hanky Panky positioned as number 12 in The World’s 50 Best Bars list in 2021. A guest of Moet Hennessey India to replicate global experiences in the country, she recently performed bar takeovers in Copitas at Bengaluru and at Home in Delhi. 

Mexican bartender Gina Barbachano in action
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Georgina or Gina, as she prefers to be called, says she still is basking in the wonder of her life. “I did not expect to enjoy working in this industry. I had studied Business Administration with a focus on tourism. I never imagined life would go this way or that I would travel because of my passion, showcasing my culture and my bar.”

Back home in Mexico, Gina’s bar Hanky Panky, a one-of-a-kind, members-only cocktail bar was placed 12th in The Worlds 50 Best Bars 2021. Yet Gina is quick to add that it is not all about sipping sangrias in the sunshine. “It is a lot of hard work. This industry is all about love and a passion for what you’re doing. It is not an easy job.”

Mexican bartender Gina Barbachano in action

Mexican bartender Gina Barbachano in action
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“For me, it was simple. I love interacting with people — I love to be able to be part of their life, their accomplishments and celebrations, and even partake of their sadness. I am happy to carry some of those bad vibes, if it will make people happier, their life easier.”

Gina enjoys asking people about their favourite cocktails, so that she has a frame of reference while mixing a drink for them. She says for her India visit, she crafted a couple of cocktails using ‘golden milk’ — milk blended with spices, predominately turmeric. “I love to bring a little bit of Mexico wherever I go and integrate it with local culture. Golden milk from India and chocolate from Mexico were part of my cocktails here.”

The Chapulin Colorado created by Gina Barbachano

The Chapulin Colorado created by Gina Barbachano
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

For celebratory occasions, Gina mixes up a ‘Chapulin Colorado,’ one of her creations using Glenmorangie and chocolate-infused coffee liqueur or a ‘Cuca,’ made with Hennessy VS, spice syrup and Chandon Brut among other things. “It is important to showcase the strength not only of the spirit, but the other qualities of the cocktail as well. The Cuca is a bit more ‘citrusy’, more fun. I would suggest a Chapulin Colorado to end the night, but to start things off with a toast it would be a Cuca because who doesn’t like to start a celebration with sparkling wines?”

The inspiration behind the Chapulín is a character from a Mexican children’s show who was a hero without super powers, someone who helped anyone in danger; the Cuca is inspired by a legendary woman fighting for women’s rights in Michoacán, Gina’s hometown.

The Catrina created by Gina Barbachano

The Catrina created by Gina Barbachano
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

When the day is drab, Gina serves up a ‘Catrina’ as a mood lifter, her own comfort cocktail. She talks about a bread specially made in Mexico to observe the Day of the Dead called Pan de Muertos. “Everyone waits all year long to eat this sweet bread made with orange zest or orange flower water. It reminds me a lot of home where we usually have something sweet to calm the soul. My Catrina made with Belvedere Vodka, golden milk and this sweet orange bread is like hot chocolate for grown ups,” she laughs.

“In this profession, there is a lot you can do, but you have to be in love with it. If you do not, you won’t be able to see the progress you are making. It took me 10 long years to get where I am today,” says the 28-year-old, adding, “I think people have to do it for the right reasons. I do it because of the people and because I love to create cocktails for them. “



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