Meet the Asha’s mixologist

With a brief to take inspiration from the Indian culinary world and blend it with the latest trends and techniques from the global beverage scene, Brandon Grusd is the man behind our exceptional new collection of handcrafted mocktails.

A beverage consultant by profession and drinks enthusiast by choice, South African born Brandon’s goal is to “change the way consumers around the world experience beverages.”

With more than 12 years’ international experience, his role as Asha’s bespoke mixologist allows him to pursue his passion and raise the beverage bar across the region.

And that’s exactly what he’s doing for Asha’s Restaurants, working closely with the executive team to create a unique menu of one-of-a-kind mocktails that celebrate the centuries-old Spice Route and complement Asha’s culinary repertoire

“It’s always a challenge with Indian flavours as many of them can be dominant and overpower the drink. However, this characteristic also has its benefits. I was able to use the flavours to create drinks with distinct taste profiles that would not only stand up to the Indian cuisine being served alongside them, but also showcase the delicious spices and local agriculture India has to offer,” he says.

Launching shortly at Asha’s

The resulting menu of 10 exclusive handcrafted mocktails is set to be rolled out this summer to Asha’s Restaurants across the GCC, from Dubai to Kuwait.

Heavily influenced by the historic Spice Route, which united historical civilisations in Asia, Northeast Africa and Europe through the trading of a wealth of highly prized spices such as cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, pepper and turmeric, Brandon has also incorporated elements from Japan, the Middle East and sub-continent – among others.

“My personal favourite is the Yellow City, which uses fresh turmeric, ginger and lemon. I love the combination of sweet and sour,” he says.

Brandon’s summer picks

Whether you are dining at Asha’s in Dubai or Kuwait, Birmingham or Manchester, this summer, a long cooling mocktail is the perfect accompaniment to our menu of North-West Indian specialities.

Brandon’s summer picks from the new menu include the King Alphonso, made using black and green cardamom, saffron, mango, orange and orange blossom.

He says: “Featuring the ‘king of fruits’, with mangoes from the western reaches of India as the basis, this is a refreshing play for many people on childhood memories of long Indian summers spent trying to pluck an enticing fresh mango from the garden tree.”

His other seasonal favourite is the Manipur Lemonade, as he explains: “Manipur’s climate and soil conditions make it ideally suited for horticultural crops and rare and exotic medicinal aromatic plants grow in abundance.

“From there I’ve taken passion fruit and blended it with homemade rosemary-honey syrup, tandoor lemon and soda to create a lemonade that is 100 per cent ‘Made in India’.”

Feel like creating your own Asha’s inspired mocktail? A word of advice from the mixology maestro himself: “Always use fresh ingredients, choose ingredients that are native to India, and create a drink that can be enjoyed again and again – with balanced flavours that aren’t too sweet or sour.”