Looking for your favorite cocktail in Bangkok? DIY!
By Emmi Laine
With Joseph Boroski. From New York to Paris, Hong Kong to Bangkok, and soon to India, the Connecticut-born mixologist travels around the world with his mixsultation™ company Sip Slowly. Aside his cocktail menus at Eat Me, Maggie Choo´s, and W Hotel Koh Samui, Boroski´s work can be detected at Bar School, a 30-seat reservations-only hospitality school and bar in Thong Lo.
No worries amateurs and beginners, this is for you too. Since the start of this year, Boroski has been offering classes of English for hospitality, tastings, and workshops for professionals, but also for anyone who enjoys a well-mixed drink. Tonight´s cocktail workshop prices at Bt250++ for a drink, and even lazy shakers are welcomed as tasters.
The theme for tonight is “All Local.” Aptly, the introductory cocktail is inspired by Thai dish Tom-Yum-Goong. I watch the glass fill up: fresh galangal, lemongrass, coconut, chili, and kaffir lime leaves. A soup base! Nikki 40% corn spirit from Chiang Mai, mint syrup, and ice join in the shaker. Ginger beer, sweetened by palm sugar adds the froth and a “herbal fruit flavor.” Finally Boroski skewers and flames a shrimp on top.
I fear for a mayhem of spices, sold to my taste-buds by excessive sugar. A dubious sip and traces of the traditional soup disperse. It is a successful transition. Acerbic ginger beer, chili, and galangal balance the long list of ingredients, so the overall impression is deep, consistent, and mature.
My turn. As well as my first bartending experiment: Watermelon Daiquiri, customized by Boroski. I crush chunks of watermelon, measure Nikki spirit, fresh lime juice, and syrup. And a surprising extra: a tablespoon of egg white. “It adds protein, spreads the flavors, and provides a foam,” explains the mixologist. Next the concoction and ice cubes are sealed with a shaker. The best part follows: the iconic dance. Watch out for leaks! I pour the pale red liquid into a cocktail glass, minus the ice. The whip has cooled the drink, and a beautiful froth surfaces. A simple decoration completes my first fruit of bar schooling: a leaf of fresh basil.
Self-mixed drink tastes better, too. One reason is that at start, Boroski executed a simple test to my taste-buds. Consequently, all the drinks are customized to my preference, in between sweet and sour. The Bt250++ has definitely been worth the information, personal guidance, and the fun shake. One of the best cocktails I´ve had in Bangkok — opinionatedly judged perhaps, but at least despotically strong — comes for granted after that.
What makes a good cocktail for Boroski? “Everything must come together,” he says. That involves innovative, high-quality, and fresh ingredients. Pedantic proportions and attentiveness to personal preferences. Everyone can mix a drink, but not an excellent one. Boroski´s staff adds: “Clean and dry.” I look at my table, and understand why. From 10 minutes of practice, the table is already littered by melting ice and watermelon seeds. Perhaps it is better to stay on the other side of the bar table!
125/13 Sukhumvit Soi 55, between Thonglor Sois 5 and 7, behind Kiatnakin Bank (BTS: Thonglor)
Information on course schedule: http://barschoolbkk.com/