Cocktail culture is blossoming in Thailand as the younger generations seem to be more curious when it comes to food and beverage. We interviewed a few leading hoteliers about what’s new for cocktails in Thailand and discovered the major trends in the market right now.
“I think people are less adventurous when it comes to drinks. The trend I see here with our guests is they will ask for local spirits; either that or stick with regular drinks,” commented Nicolas Peth, the General Manager at Muse Hotel, Bangkok.
Dhid Boonsombat, F&B Manager of Muse Hotel, Bangkok, has picked two classic ‘forgotten cocktails’ invented in the 1920’s to be the signature drinks of the hotel. ‘French Martini’, unlike other martinis, is easy to drink, slightly sweet and perfect for the ladies, while ‘Aviator’ is a delightful concoction based on gin. It slips down so easily you might find yourself finishing it in no time.
Speaking of the resurgence of the oldie but goodie, Marco Osterwalder, Director of F&B at the Millennium Hilton in Bangkok, agreed:
“It’s about rediscovering the classic cocktail, but with a more modernized approach to them – they will be made with new techniques and methods taking them to a completely new level – whiskies and house bottled and marketed products including homemade ingredients.”
Hilton’s highlights for its guests are two delicious signature cocktails ‘Kingdom Martini’ and ‘Bohemian Bliss’ at 360 Bar. Kingdom Martini is aimed at martini lovers, with the taste of dirty martini augmented by a dash of orange flavor and blue cheese hidden in each olive. Bohemian Bliss is a well-presented cocktail served with fire (literally a fire lit on top of the glass) and based to certain degree on absinthe. Its sweetness makes it a pleasant choice for ladies to drink, but don’t let that fool you because it can still be strong.
Meanwhile, in the happening scene of Bangkok in Sukhumvit at Aloft Hotel, the WXYZ Bar, whose clientele are 90% non-hotel guests, has attracted fans with both molecular mixology and the old school bartending style.
“We can observe two main trends for mixologists: 1) New School is a very creative way to make cocktails using modern molecular techniques and unconventional recipes like we do here at WXYZ Bar; 2) Old School focuses on classic cocktails but using only homemade products, homemade syrups, and homemade sour mix,” said Mathieu Bellec, F&B Manager at Aloft Hotel, Bangkok.
The most popular cocktails are ‘Heaven on Earth’ and ‘Rosy Dessert’. Heaven on Earth is based on vodka mixed with lychee, apple, sour mix and floral syrup. The surface is then spectacularly frozen to give a smoky look using nitrogen. It looks very fancy and you have to drink it with a straw through the frozen surface. My favorite though would be Rosy Dessert, which consists of homemade mango caviar (made from real mango), vodka, raspberry and sour mix. The drink itself is nice but the addition of mango caviar makes it even better.
“The argument for outsourcing is, in the majority of cases, driven by a desire to reduce cost while at the same time maintaining quality of service,” said Marco Osterwalder.
Nicolas Peth added, “The drawback for outsourcing is you have no control – it is about brand standards that you have to take into consideration.”
However, Mathieu Bellec thought it might be possible; “Depends on the business models, category of the property, location of the hotel and target market.”
We don’t see many outsourced F&B outlets in hotels here in Bangkok. It’s a tough call for hoteliers, but the ones that do take on the challenge tend to do a good job.
*Whether you run your own food and beverage outlets or someone else does it for you, do let us know if you have some outstanding cocktails and food menus to share. *.