Fan­tas­ti­cal food and Old Town ex­cur­sions in our guide to Phuket

Southeast Asia Globe - - Short List -

“When we talk about the ‘Golden Age’ of cock­tails it means the New York grand ho­tel bar era, then pro­hi­bi­tion, post-pro­hi­bi­tion, the first bar books and how drinks that have be­come clas­sics were de­vel­oped at this time.

“Back then it was more about short drinks – mar­ti­nis, man­hat­tans – and vari­a­tions of them. We’re talk­ing about sim­ple, ele­gant drinks. There were three or four in­gre­di­ents. Back then there was no in­ter­net, lim­ited ship­ping… peo­ple def­i­nitely looked more into the prod­ucts they had around them. In the great Amer­i­can bar books you find a lot of whiskey-based drinks, and there was cer­tainly no sous vide ma­chine or ro­tary evap­o­ra­tor for in­fus­ing. It was more about what peo­ple could get their hands on.

“Un­til a cou­ple of years back, it was be­com­ing ‘the more in­gre­di­ents, the more spices, the more herbs, the bet­ter’. Now, I think we’re see­ing a move back to the clas­sic drinks – an old fash­ioned, a saz­erac, a man­hat­tan.

“Here in Sin­ga­pore, and es­pe­cially at Man­hat­tan, we can see over time that there is a trend to­ward spirit-for­ward drinks [a cock­tail made of a base spirit plus one or two mod­i­fiers such as for­ti­fied wines, liqueurs or syrups]. I think peo­ple in gen­eral are be­com­ing more ed­u­cated, they’re trav­el­ling much more… We have lots of peo­ple com­ing in who en­joy re­search­ing drinks to a great de­gree.

“It’s very dif­fi­cult to say which mod­ern drinks will stand the test of time and be­come clas­sics, but I think a good ex­am­ple of a re­cent cock­tail that’s ‘made it’ is the gin basil smash, which was in­vented by my old boss, Jörg Meyer, at Le Lion in Ham­burg. It’s gin, lemon, sugar and a healthy amount of fresh basil. It’s a sim­ple drink but it al­ready has its own legacy. Sim­plic­ity is key for a drink to be­come very suc­cess­ful, as it has to be pos­si­ble to re­pro­duce it in any cor­ner of the world.” – Dene Mullen

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