BY FR CARLOS LUIS SAC
Mixing drinks at events organised by friends and creating digital content to make requested recipes readily available has made home bartender Shohail Francis Furtado and his Instagram page cocktails_n_cookies popular.
What is more commendable is his consistency in dropping creative and desirable cocktail recipes.
Varca native Shohail holds a BCom degree and works in an IT firm. Mixing drinks is his hobby and passion.
He says, “It's fascinating to see people's expressions when they find out I'm in an IT job by day and a cocktail connoisseur by night. Currently, I'm keeping our developers on their toes with some delightfully innovative cocktails – a tipsy developer codes better! Who says the tech world can't have a little fun?” he laughs.
Working in an IT firm has given Shohail the discipline to structure the presentation of his digital content. Sharing the process of creating mouth-watering recipes, he says, “I try out mixing various flavours with different alcohols (this is becoming a costly hobby now). Once I am happy with the flavours and how the cocktail turned out, I start with a skeleton structure for the reel. I do not follow any script as I find that too rigid and not fun.”
He continues, saying, “Also, I find it difficult to act and deliver my lines naturally, so I think of the jokes and quirky lines on the fly, as I am shooting. As far as the humour goes – I feel a drink is always enjoyed with friends while joking around with each other, so I add that too with the reels I create.”
While perusing his page, you will notice a wide variety of ingredients that he likes to play with when creating recipes. He states that he loves to create tropical-flavoured cocktails.
He describes, “Cocktails that you’d love to sit on a lazy chair, on the beach, the sun lightly kissing your face, the sound of the waves calming you down and a nice cocktail to cool you off. As a result of this, I love making cocktails with pineapple and peach syrups/juices and alcohol.”
“I also enjoy using coconut rum in a lot of my cocktails. When I want something classy but simple, rosemary always comes to the rescue. This versatile herb when lit up can be used to smoke a whiskey to add some amazing flavour to it. It also doubles up as a garnish,” he adds
From the many recipes he has shared on Instagram, his favourite remains a gin and tonic. As for a cocktail he says, “The one I can have anytime and anywhere is one that I made with coconut rum – I called it the Tropical Punch.”
Do you notice the excitement and the magic he wants to create? He says he constantly gets messages for recommendations, and he always loves to help. Some people tell him what they have in their house and ask him to make a cocktail with those ingredients.
If the star of the cocktail is the alcohol, it gets difficult, as people have to do a grocery run. But, if it's juice or syrup, it is easier, as the ingredients are already at home.
You are a winner if you are consistent when it comes to digital content creation. Shohail speaks of the best piece of advice he has received while starting the page and when facing ups and downs.
He says “As a newbie, I received a lot of advice from family and friends on how to shoot my videos, from the lighting to the editing. But one thing that is very important that everyone has told me is consistency.”
He further, very frankly, says, “As a creator whose content depends on creating new cocktails or mixes, it can get pretty difficult to create a mix or two within a week. I try to post 1-2 videos per week. There have been days when I was thoroughly washed out of ideas and had no clue what to post. But there has always been tremendous support from my friends who so loyally without fail share my content. If not for these shares, my page wouldn’t see progress.”
Shohail says that he is a caveman when it comes to bartending techniques, believing in the trial-and-error method to create unique recipes, wherein he tries a recipe and tweaks/modifies it to his liking.
He doesn’t hesitate to share a tip for making cocktails, “When crafting a cocktail, it's important to strike the right balance among the various ingredients and their flavours and the alcohol. Each ingredient plays a vital role in creating a great cocktail. You do not want a cocktail where the alcohol cannot be identified at all. At the same time, not all cocktails demand that the alcohol be the superstar in it – though I prefer that it does.”
Recipes either stand the test of time or are forgotten. Nevertheless, realising that updating oneself is a constant process, Shohail thanks the algorithms that constantly cram his Instagram feed with other mixologists’ videos, from whom he learns a thing or two.
He also reads on off-flavour mixes but states that its constraints are that the items are not easy to source or are outside his budget.
Shohail is receptive to creative ideas and suggestions regarding recipes and advises young content creators to remain consistent and maintain quality.
Aware of reality, he states, “Today, even if you go viral once, it does not guarantee success. Contrary to popular belief it is rare for you to build this up overnight. It is a long game, so do not get into this thinking, lest you get demotivated once reality sets in.” As he says this, he mixes juices and gets onto doing what he is best at.
(Carlos Luis is a priest belonging to the Society of the Catholic
Apostolate (Pallottine) and is currently studying for a licentiate
degree in Moral Theology. He comments on social and moral issues.)