Chit Chat With . . .
An experienced soul sister in the various industries she has worked in. The one that stands out is her exceptionally amazing experience in the Hospitality industry. She has worked as a waitress and a bar tender and now a mixologist in her family owned venture. This month our Chit Chat is with Rupi Kaur, who talks about who she is, mixology, bizarre attention seeking, worst date witnessed, her morning routine, and winding down.
Tell us a bit about yourself, who is Rupi Kaur?
Rupi Kaur is a compilation of various experiences that come together under one roof: S Five 8. She brings in a lot of ways of thinking and management skills which have been gained over the years by working for someone else and identifying what methods are right and wrong to apply for your own business. Some of the industries worked at include hospitality (Waitress, bar tender, cashier, event organiser), administrator (invoice checking, account checking, going over details, back-office work), working closely with sales to understand the generation of it, with marketing which helps with our advertising, management of staff and itinerary. She is also a qualified counsellor. Recently added to the list is a mixologist. A complete and utter blend of worlds-apart experiences and talents.
As a mixologist, describe any training or experience you have?
I have had 0 training as a mixologist. I've always been interested in the blending of flavours, especially when it comes to behind the bar. Watching a bar tender who understands their products or sale and coming up with something unique and satisfying is always the best feeling ever. If anything, I've trained myself on making cocktails and learning how to perfect what's being served in a glass, as the main aim is to provide an experience like never before.
What inspires you when you create a drink or a cocktail?
I think it’s more intuition based. I now live in a country (Kenya, East Africa) where fruits are easily and readily available, especially tropical ones and bringing them into the limelight is just amazing. I also like to experiment with spirits, my last collection of cocktails was gin-based for our lounge at S Five 8; the next collection is due soon!
Do you pair up your drinks with the food you serve? What do you recommend?
Spirits and fruits really do complement each other, if it’s a gin it can be paired with strawberries, blueberries, Watermelon and much more. White Rum usually works better with coconuts. With the gin-based cocktails, these are easily paired with shrimp or salmon and I'd also recommend some red meats such as lamb.
What sort of a crowd do you cater for?
I'd like to say all, from the young-adult students to the young mature to the mature and older crowds. As a mixologist, I'd cater for the young mature as they have a better appreciation for cocktails.
Underaged drinking is becoming common, what measures do you have in place to avoid it happening at the restaurant?
Anyone the age of 16 - 18 should be accompanied by an adult at the restaurant after which it is their responsibility on whether they can allow the young one to have any alcoholic beverages. We ensure that we ID anyone that looks younger than 21.
What is your topmost advice you would give to a new starter?
Know your spirits. Understand what each individual flavours are and experiment. Sometimes you can have a great creation of your own! And you don't have to be a drinker to understand the tastes of what you're serving.
My favourite drink you make is DAWA, what’s your favourite drink that you make?
Aww thank you! I think for me it's either The Infusion which is strawberry-based with a hint of black pepper and the Rooftop Memories which is Watermelon-based. A lot of people frown at the sound of Watermelon and black pepper in a cocktail but when they have the ones I make, I change their minds! I also have a new addition to the menu which is called Wake Me Up: this is a coffee and Amarula cocktail which is shaken to perfection. It does exactly as the name says, it will keep you awake for around 8 hours!
What is the one drink that you would never have to make again?
The classic cocktails. As creative as I can be with the flavours, the classics get me. One of the main reasons being, they've already set the standards made by whoever invented them. To be precise, a cosmopolitan, a sex on the beach and especially a Margarita!
What was the most bizarre thing a customer did to get your attention?
Tsk tsk with their hand in the air hoping I'd make eye contact. I'm so glad to be blessed while working behind a bar or even on the floor to pay attention around me without having to look directly at the source of the sounds. It makes it easier for me to dodge any behaviour such as this haha!
What’s the worst date you have ever seen?
A couple walked into the bar I was working at back in the UK and preferred to sit at the bar itself. After a long-thought decision they opted for a wine for the lady and a whiskey and Coke for the gentleman. It was evident this couple had only recently been dating. The man was observing another lady behind his date closely and was more interested in her. When his date saw this and confronted without a result, she poured her wine in his face and left the bar. It was rather entertaining.
How do you prevent a hangover?
I'm blessed haha! I don't get hangovers but here's a few tips:
- A hair of the dog: a classic English way of saying have a beer. The first beer the next day usually balances out the alcohol levels from the previous night. It will sober you before it gets you back on the level again.
- Ginger water: boil some ginger in water and have this with some honey for a cure.
- A greasy fry-up! Get yourself some bacon, Sausages, fried eggs, toast and beans the next day and it will soak up the alcohol for sure!
- If by the seaside of beach, go for a swim in the beach water - its instant!
Do you have a morning routine to set you for the day?
Yes! I usually see my niece and nephew every morning before they go to school. Having them around really wakes me up and makes me forget about the worries and stresses for work and anything else around me. This is followed by a breakfast with the family and a catch up. Breakfast can go from a fry up, tea and toast, pronthe (flat bread) and tea or even a smoothie. I then take some time to relax and collect myself and my energy for the day ahead. This is either done by meditation or listening to prayers or hymns.
What’s your go-to way of winding down after a long day?
It varies. If it’s been a long stressful day I like to wind down with a drink to relax the nerves. Another drink doesn't hurt to make sure the nerves are fully relaxed haha! After which it's bedtime for me. If it's a day of constant movement then I like to catch some music, an episode of a series or even a movie while I play a game on my phone!
What is the one word that you want people to associate you with?
I have a few. Mixologist. Business owner. Manager. Marketer. Entertainer. Organiser. Free spirited.
What are the challenges you face in your profession?
Having the same consistency of a cocktail. Every hand is different, be it with gardening, cooking, sewing, massages etc. My cocktails are made on intuition rather than measurements. But I'm sure I'll be able to replicate my recipes somewhere to the T.
How do you contribute towards the society/community?
I try to donate some food to the needy monthly. This can be something small like bread and milk or making a meal for them too. One time my sister and I were in a restaurant, and we saw 4 Street boys that looked hungry. We ordered some food for them and asked the waitress to give it to them. Later she told us that no one does a gesture like this for anyone.
Kenya is an eye opener for many if looked carefully. And providing food and water is one of the biggest deeds one can do: as per our values of being a Sikh.
If you were not a mixologist/restaurant owner, what would you be doing?
I think I'd still be working for Honda the car dealership. It was a job I really enjoyed and loved, it was easier to manage and less stressful.
How can people contact you?
Contacts can be made through our social pages on S Five 8 and I'm also available on WhatsApp!