The bar manager of The Strand lets you in his trade secrets.
THE movements are quick and sure. An impressive collection of bottles stand behind him. Ice cubes make rattling noises in the shaker. Green, blue, flashy yellow liquids come out of it.
Francesco Moretti has been a bartender for 15 years. He started in France, then worked in Shanghai and Thailand. Today he is the bar manager of the Sarkies bar, in The Strand, the iconic century-old hotel.
Once a month, Mr Moretti shares some of his knowledge about cocktail-making with enthusiastic participants to his workshop. The workshop is a great deal of fun and a great way to have a drink while learning something – yes, participants get to drink their own creation, that’s the point isn’t it?
The workshop can accommodate eight participants and Mr Moretti will let you in three of his best cocktail recipes.
Everything you need is put at your disposal by the Strand. Shakers, tumblers, olive, cherry, mint, etc. Spirits, juices and all sorts of syrups will also be your tool of choice.
The first cocktail we learned to make was the “Sour”, a simple, nice and easy cocktail which was ideal for beginners like us.
We all poured thyme alcohol, lime 30 sugar liquid, orange juice and egg white in shakers and added peaches. After we had stirred and tasted it we poured it through a sieve in the cocktail glass. We rubbed the outer ring of the glass with lime to give the beverage a fresh nose. Felt like we all had done it all our life.
Cocktail-making is an art that must appeal to all three senses. A Coktail must taste good, smell good but also look good. Decorating a glass is almost as important as dosing. I opted for a “girly” drink and picked roses and daisy flowers to ornate my Sour.
On a first slurp of my own creation I found the cocktail to taste sweet with a discrete sour after taste.
The next trade secret we were let in was the Old-fashioned. The Old-fashioned is a stronger stuff than the Sour. Participants can choose to make it based on bourbon, tequila or vodka. I chose tequila. Added lavender, sugar liquid, Thai basil leaves 2 drops of bitter mixed with lychee juice. I stirred it for 15 seconds. It was a success.
My Old-fashioned cocktail smelled good from the tequila and lychee flagrances, which mixed very well. I decorated my drink with small purple daisy flowers and a green leaf. My pale purple Old-fashioned cocktail was complete.
For the last cocktail, we had the choice of weapons. Participants are allowed to freestyle and create the cocktail of their choosing. I opted for what I shall call the “Purple dream”. I picked the most beautiful glass to welcome a delicious mix of gin, blue peach, lime and white egg. After the shake, my cocktail turned purple – a lovely sort of purple I should note. But beyond the colour, my cocktail didn’t taste much.
At that time Mr Moretti arrived beside me. He added ginger beer and transformed my drink. There is only so much you can learn from one workshop, years behind a bar is what makes a real star.
Participation to the workshop cost 30 USD. The workshop takes place once a month at The Strand, 92 Strand Rd, Yangon. For more information contact Mr Moretti at : email@example.com.
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