Cocktail conversations: A Q&A with bartender Dino Batista about the Glenfiddich Independent Bar

If you’ve been through to The Glenfiddich Independent Bar and tried one of their bespoke single malt whisky cocktails, you’ve likely met Molecular mixologist Dino Batista, or at least enjoyed his drinks. More a bar chef than a bartender, Dino is known for his inventive cocktail style; marrying unexpected ingredients with the world’s most awarded single malt Scotch whisky to create one-of-a-kind taste sensations.

We caught up with the master mixologist to learn more about his passion, craft and cocktail philosophy. 

What drew you to mixology?
It just kind of developed naturally. While I was studying, I started bartending as a part-time job and before I knew it, I was in deep. You start out small and before long, you have your own company and are representing South Africa at global competitions. So you could say I fell into it by accident, but once I found out more about the industry and the craft I knew I couldn’t be doing anything else.

What is your favourite Glenfiddich cocktail to make? Walk us through the drink, and tell us why you love it. 
My favourite would be the Sweet & Single Malt – also one of the crowd favourites at the bar. It’s a simple rendition of the classic Penicillin cocktail.

  • Shake together a healthy measure of Glenfiddich 12 with lemon and a honey and ginger syrup.
  • Pour over a single, clear cube of large ice and add a barspoon of Islay whisky floated on top to add a smokey taste and aroma.
  • Spritz with a fresh pine needle essence and garnish with a dehydrated pear.

It’s simple, easy going and an incredible showcase of the Glenfiddich brand. 

What are the most important tools of a cocktail making connoisseur?
The fundamental equipment is always good to have but you start going on the hunt for unique and treasure-piece items to expand your kit with – cocktail tins, mixing glass, jiggers, bar spoons and strainers. Though the most important must be a thirst for your craft, nothing tastes better than a bartender who has put everything they have into curating a cocktail they’re proud to serve you.

What are you aiming for conceptually with the The Glenfiddich Independent Bar? 
A true expression of the Glenfiddich brand. From the service, to the drinks, to the decor, and a well-crafted, Scottish single malt, expressed in Joburg opulence and style. What’s the standout feature that makes The Glenfiddich Independent Bar different from any other?
The invitation. It’s invite-only and although everyone should get a chance to experience it, only a select few will. Imagine how that must feel to be hand-selected by Glenfiddich? Before you’ve even stepped into the bar to experience it, you already feel special.

What’s it like incorporating Glenfiddich’s biometric technology into your mixology?
Exciting and interesting. It’s the first of its nature, but it yields something truly exciting – possibly a way of the future. Based on biometric measures of your voice, you can exchange your uniquely generated code at the bar for a Glenfiddich token of appreciation, so you can receive a drink that you never knew you wanted.

The popularity of classic whisky cocktails has made a huge resurgence in bars. What do you feel makes the Glenfiddich award winning single malt a great spirit to mix with? 
Each expression of Glenfiddich comes with its own dominant tasting notes – from pears to stone fruit to honey. Each opens the door to an array of much loved cocktails that Glenfiddich would work with perfectly. The characteristic smooth quality of this liquid adds to and encourages the harmonic symphony of taste.

Find out more about The Glenfiddich Independent Bar over here, and sign up for your exclusive invite here.  

This article is made possible by Glenfiddich. 

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