INTO 2008 !

(Breeze Cafe & Lounge, a 5000 sqf open air cocktail bar)
I’ve been missing quite a bit from this blog and I assure you it was not entirely out of my laziness…It’s been a hectic year end and the action gets thicker as the New Year celebration approaches. Alas all is over and we’re finally in 2008. Since August, I’ve been pretty much working on some new outlets in Kuala Lumpur and we’ve opened up to 3 outlets now and one more to come in Feb 2008. A dance bar named ‘BAMBO9′ , a 5000 sqf open air cocktail bar called ‘BREEZE’ and ‘FIDEL’s, a classic Cuban bar with a wide selection of cigars and of course a decent dose of rum; is what I’ve been up to. Oh yes…the last one is a bit of a surprise so you’ll have to wait!

Amidst the busy schedule in KL, It was great being able to make time to share thoughts and ideas with bartending talents in Beijing. I must say, they’re a very passionate bunch when it comes to food and beverage. The plan was a good 5 days trip into Beijing to conduct cocktail trainings for Ravifruit in locations such a Zeta Bar, Swissotel and Le Petit Gourmand (an amazing place with an enormous selection of books paired with great traditional French cuisine and lots of RICARD!)

It was a great opportunity to see how the beverage industry is developing in an ultra modern city that has managed to keep its traditional culture much in place. Like many other countries around the world, Beijing is flooded with various brands of vodkas. After several conversation with bartenders from various outlets I’ve found out that vodka is the preferred tipple in Beijing. Despite the obscene amount of vodka, you’ll be able to savour quite a good selection of gin and 100% agave tequilas in several Beijing bars such as Qbar & Zeta Bar.

According to most bar operators, a great deal of cocktails sipped in Beijing are mojitos and it’s also the reason why we’ve included in the trainings a great deal of emphasis on how to develop new ideas with mojitos by using Ravifruit’s interesting range of fresh fruits and purees. One being enjoyed a lot during the training is the…

LYCHEE MOJITO
Ingredients
10 Fresh Mint Leaf
1 tsp Demerara Sugar
3-4 Lime Wedge
50ml Light Rum (Havana Club is good)
10ml Liquid Sugar
15ml Ravifruit Lychee Puree
Crushed Ice
Technique
Muddle mint leaf, demerara sugar and lime wedge with a splash of rum in a highball. Add crushed ice followed by rest of ingredients. Stir vigorously and top with more crushed ice.

Garnish – Mint Sprig and strawberry studded lychee

I truly thank the ‘Beijing Cocktailians‘ for their interest and constant attention during the training sessions. I’ve learned much from them and it has greatly humbled me (now less drinking and more working Ben!). There’s one bar in particular that is quite impressive with its style of cocktail making and quality of drinks. Take a visit to Qbar, a cosy & chic scarlet watering hole. It’s a bar with a great selection of spirits and good cocktails. Look for a petite bartendress called Wendy and order a Passion fruit Cosmo, a potent yet enjoyable concoction….(maybe it’s just me and alcohol)…I’ve always believed in passing on a good cocktail recipe and this one I owe it to Wendy for being kind enough to share with us her interesting libation..

PASSION FRUIT COSMO
Ingredients

60ml 42 Below Passion Fruit
30ml Cointreau
20ml Fresh Lemon Juice
40ml Cranberry Juice
Large Ice Cube
Technique
Mix all ingredients into a mixing glass and shake for 10 seconds. Double strain content into a chilled martini glass.
Garnish – Lemon Twist
Recipe by – Wendy from Qbar, Beijing

Many thanks to Bruno from Ravifruit and Edward Lou from Easybest for all the arrangements in Beijing. Look out for what Ravifruit has installed for the cocktail industry as they’re planning to put more effort to developed their product usage and creativity in the beverage industry. Great natural product with a consistent quality.
Thanks to Bruce from William and Grants for sharing his experience with Hendricks and Reyka.
Big shout out to Nathan from Midori for making time to visit us in KL and I hope you’re having a wicked time in Singapore…

Till then…CHEERS! HAVE A GREAT 2008…

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