Santosh Ramswroop Kukreti is from Uttarakhand but born and brought up in Mumbai. He had a very tough childhood as he was really poor in studies. He passed 10th standard in the fifth attempt. He just knew that he wanted to be bartender because of his intense passion about alcohol but how, was a very big question for him.
Due to no interest in studies, he didn’t even pursue a bartending course or did Hotel Management.
Right after finishing 12th grade, he got his first job at Ellipsis, Mumbai as an assistant steward. Within 6 months, he got promoted as a steward because he knew all the dishes and cocktails from the menu. He got more inclined towards bartending seeing his senior Devender Sehgal competing in global mixology competitions.
All he could to do gain knowledge or learn about bartending was to observe his seniors and constantly ask them about their cocktail creations. After a year of working at Ellipsis, he asked for a transfer to bar & a promotion as an assistant Bartender but all in vain. Santosh had to suffer the criticism of many people & especially the bullying of his managers at Ellipsis who constantly let him down by telling him that he can never be a bartender because of his poor English & no Hospitality background. But due to the constant support of his mentor, Devender Sehgal who forced the managers to include Santosh as a part of the bartending team and taught him everything about bartending.
He credits renowned Mixologist Devender Sehgal to be his source of inspiration. Santosh mentions, “If it were not his support and constant guidance, I would have never been able to be who I am today.”
Due to his handwork & inexplicable zeal towards bartending, soon, he found himself a job behind the bar as a bartender. In 2014, he joined Hakkasan, Speakeasy bar in Mumbai. Then he worked as a Head Bartender at EK Bar Delhi from 2015 to 2016 where he met his second mentor, Mixologist Nitin Tiwari who polished his skills & learnings as a bartender.
Soon, he shifted to Masque and worked as a Head Bartender for a year. After which he explored opportunities overseas and worked with Ritz Carlton Macau as a Head Bartender for one and a half year. The Ritz Carlton Bar & Lounge, Macau was on the number 48 out of the list of Asia’s 50 best bars during his presence. Santosh had the time of his life learning lessons for lifetime during the journey of Ritz Carlton.
Santosh participated & won in a few cocktail competitions all these years – 2015 Monkey Shoulder Whiskey Cocktail Competition and 2015 Belvedere Cocktail Competition. He was also one of the Top 6 in the Diageo Reserve WORLD CLASS in 2016.
Santosh counts the support of friends and family, especially his mother and wife as a blessing to him for giving him strength all this while to make a mark in the bar industry. Currently, he is working as a Head Mixologist at Thirsty City 127, Mumbai. And he is taking over the whole social media with his marvellous cocktail innovations.
Saurabh’s Mantra for fellow bartenders
“You don’t need a specialisation course or be good in any language, it’s all about your dedication & hard work. And if you stay focussed in doing that, nothing can stop you. Your work shall speak for you.”