Bengaluru: Liquor company United Spirits Ltd, owner of popular whisky brands McDowell’s No. 1 and Signature, launched a bartender chatbot that will suggest do-it-yourself cocktail recipes for consumers using ingredients readily available at their homes.

The chatbot, which is called Simi, uses Facebook Inc’s Messenger platform and is currently in beta mode. It has been created for USL by Yellow Messenger—a Microsoft Accelerator technology start-up that develops customized digital assistants. 

USL, a subsidiary of British beverage company Diageo Plc, will officially launch the chatbot at an event later this week in Bengaluru. The bot, which has around 300 recipes in store right now, will offer more than 2,000 recipes over time.

“There are a million searches which happen on cocktail recipes—how to make mojitos for instance—and it has grown by 500% year-on-year. In India, they were searching for mint, orange and lemon-based cocktails," USL’s vice president of digital B. Sridhar said, attributing that to a shift in the Indian consumer’s preference to partying at home or at a friend’s place versus going out. 

Keeping that in mind, cocktail recipes suggested by the bartender bot are based on everyday ingredients that an average Indian kitchen stocks - ranging from fruits like lemons and oranges to mint and cola - in combination with USL-Diageo brands like Smirnoff vodka and Captain Morgan rum. All recipes were created in consultation with bartenders.

The company wanted to give the bot a name to add another personal touch to the experience. And choosing to make the bot female was inspired by the fact that it was a woman who won its bartender competition this year. 

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