If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, the saying goes. Khukri Rum is one of Nepal’s most recognised brands, the quality has been consistently superior, it has history and culture. So why fix it?
After nearly six decades of production, the maker of this world class rum from Nepal, The Nepal Distillery, felt the product was not living up to its full potential. Which is why the company has been taking Khukri on a road show to acquaint Nepali consumers with the versatility of the iconic drink.
The Nepal Distillery flew in two experienced bartenders to tailor-make designer cocktails using Khukri Rum that would be appealing to Nepali consumers. One of them, Din Hassan, Master Mixologist and Head Barman at the award winning CELAVI Restaurant and Sky Bar at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore went bar-hopping with Khukri 24-27 April in five venues across Kathmandu: Tamarind, Trisara, Opium, Booze Belly and Mezze.
Said Hassan: “We figured that the Nepali peoples’ palette is still young. Many prefer sweet cocktails over bitter or sour ones, indicating that a lot needs to be done to develop a taste for the drinks we have on offer. So we started from the basics, training the bartenders themselves.” Despite all that, the drinks were well-received at the Mezze by Roadhouse event on 27 April with invited guests quaffing away.
Ami Shroff, another award winning flair bartender and head mixologist at London Taxi in Mumbai was also there to lend a hand, bringing Kathmandu’s bartenders up to speed on the vast range of concoctions that are possible with Khukri. She mixed the rum with fresh fruit juices and spices, generating excited feedback as customers came back for thirds.
That eager reception has convinced the distillery that there is potential for further growth of the Khukri brand. So far, the rum has had a marked seasonal consumption pattern in Nepal with 85% of sales in the winter months. That needed to change.
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Explains Shuvash Lamichhane of The Nepal Distilleries: “Elsewhere, rum-based drinks are popular at all times of the year. But in Nepal we label it a ‘winter drink’ because it is supposed to warm up the body, even though it is a great drink for the summer too. We are trying to change that with refreshing rum cocktails crafted especially for summers by bringing in master bartenders.”