The sophomore outing of the 50 Best The Blend Scholarship reopened in 2023 to all aspiring bartenders with under five years’ experience in the industry, attracting more than 600 applications. After numerous rounds of judging, cocktail creation and interviews, the candidates were narrowed to just one: Apoorva Kohli from New Delhi came out victorious on the back of her unwavering philosophy and dedication to creating a more positive and inclusive hospitality sector.
When Kohli started as an intern at Asia’s 50 Best Bars regular Sidecar, she had no idea her college side-job would quickly uncover an unshakeable call to the bar world. Just a short while later, now 21 years old and a permanent bartender at her country’s premier cocktail establishment, she’s unapologetically trailblazing a path for female representation in India’s cocktail scene.
For Kohli, building a more representative industry is about creating a bar offering and environment reflective of its surrounds and the people that populate it, particularly in a nation as diverse as India. Beyond this, Kohli’s elevated skill set, knowledge and grasp of sustainability issues are already evident throughout her craft – from ideating recipes using discarded coffee grounds to platforming indigenous and under-used local fruits.
In early 2024, as the second-ever winner of the 50 Best The Blend Scholarship, Kohli will travel to Spain and Colombia to complete a double set of two-week internships at Sips in Barcelona and Alquímico in Cartagena. This will then be followed by an educational programme hosted by The Blend in Madrid.
Kohli may just be 21 years old, but her vision, passion and dedication to hospitality sits far beyond her years as the deserving winner of this accolade.
Discover more about the previous award winners