Filippo Pagan’s first attempt at making a cocktail was an embarrassing one. The Barcelona-based bartender was about 14 years old when he was invited to try to make cocktails at a family friend’s club in Sicily. Unfortunately for him, the shaker wasn’t closed properly and he ended up shooting the drink at his mother and her friends, he recounts in an interview on the YouTube channel, Sips Escenia. However, the day remains special, he adds, because it was when he realised making cocktails was something he enjoyed.
Pagan's parents worked in the hospitality sector for over a decade, and it came naturally to him to pursue a job in this field. Today, he works as the bar manager at Sips Barcelona, which is currently ranked number one in the World's 50 Best Bars. Last weekend, Pagan visited India for the first time for a mixology pop-up at Cobbler and Crew in Pune and Elephant & Co. in Goa.
The series of events, was hosted by the Pune-based beverage consultancy, Cocktails of Tomorrow. At Cobbler and Crew, Pagan served cocktails such as the Theobroma Negroni, with gin, Italian bitter, vermouth, and a unique touch of cacao fibre, offering a delightful twist on the classic Negroni. There was another cocktail, named Ceci N'est Pas Une Palome, which combines tequila, fake grapefruit with soda. “I wanted to showcase cocktail crafting that merges classic favourites with modern techniques,” Pagan says. “In concoctions like Negroni and Paloma, I emphasised introducing innovative twists,” he adds. He also served a smokey and zesty drink named, Coconut Remedy with whiskey, coconut liqueur, ginger, honey, pineapple flavour, and citrus.
Pagan talks to Lounge about what drew him to bartending, the cocktails he showcased at the soiree, and what’s special about Barcelona’s cocktail scene.
Bartending for me goes beyond parties; it's a fusion of hospitality, flavour exploration and cultural immersion. I believe in creating an experience where every guest feels genuinely welcomed. It's not just about mixing drinks; it's a journey into the world of flavours and a constant quest to understand and appreciate diverse cultures, particularly here in Asia.
India's cocktail culture is exceptionally vibrant, seamlessly blending traditional influences into the art of mixology. The rich diversity and boundless creativity within the bartending field has caught my interest.
The cocktail scene in Barcelona is characterised by a fervent and innovative bartending community, which is a key factor contributing to the city's burgeoning prominence in the global cocktail scene.
Anticipating trends in the cocktail industry is a complex task, but it is clear that sustainability and the pursuit of unique and innovative flavours will lead the way.