Hakkasan Restaurant » Cocktails http://old.hakkasan.com Hakkasan Restaurant serves Michelin Star awarded Cantonese Cuisine Wed, 06 Dec 2017 10:08:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Creativity in the cocktail industry http://old.hakkasan.com/blog/creativity-in-the-cocktail-industry/ http://old.hakkasan.com/blog/creativity-in-the-cocktail-industry/#comments Mon, 21 Mar 2016 11:34:50 +0000 http://old.hakkasan.com/?p=7962 In order to become a successful bartender at Hakkasan, it is essential to have an exceptionally creative imagination and a tenacious passion to succeed. Drew Mallins, Bars Manager in the Middle East, honed his skills at the original, Hakkasan Hanway Place in London, where many of Hakkasan’s bartenders begin their journey, before moving to Qatar […]

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In order to become a successful bartender at Hakkasan, it is essential to have an exceptionally creative imagination and a tenacious passion to succeed. Drew Mallins, Bars Manager in the Middle East, honed his skills at the original, Hakkasan Hanway Place in London, where many of Hakkasan’s bartenders begin their journey, before moving to Qatar to work as the Bar Manager at Hakkasan Doha and finally to Dubai, where he currently oversees all bar operations in the Middle East, including Hakkasan Dubai, Hakkasan Abu Dhabi and Hakkasan Doha.

His role includes a multitude of responsibilities, such as supervising the creation of the innovative cocktail list at each of the restaurants and advising the bartenders about new products and ingredients. While the majority of his role is to manage the bar managers and bartenders, he also acts as a mentor.

He describes the cocktail development process: “The bartenders are encouraged to come up with recipes and ideas for drinks whenever the menus are reviewed or updated. The cocktails are then tasted by the bar managers to ensure the balance of flavours is right and that it fits the profile of the Hakkasan cocktail offering. There are a lot of factors involved in choosing which cocktails are listed on the Hakkasan menu, from seasonality and availability of ingredients, as well as costs, market trends, and the individual style of each bar team.”

It is that individuality and creativity that is celebrated within the team.

“Every bartender works differently. Sometimes the bartender will start at the finish, with a certain flavour profile, a specific presentation, or even a garnish. It is then the bartender’s challenge to find the ingredients and methods that will achieve their imagined cocktail. Other times, the bartender may try a new product and instantly have an idea about what it will mix well with.”

With an international bar team, the influences for the cocktails come from far and wide.

“There is often a cultural influence in drinks creations. For example, the Don Java, a cocktail listed on Hakkasan Dubai’s menu, was created by an Indonesian bartender using tamarind and ginger rice, ingredients common in Javanese cuisine.”

An extensive knowledge of new ingredients and products is important, and research into these areas is vital.

“I spend a lot of time reading about products on websites such as Imbibe.com, as they are up to date with new releases.” It is also imperative to look within the business for inspiration. “I really enjoy seeing what pastry chefs are using in their desserts and trying to replicate that in a glass.”

Every bartender and bar manager has their favourite spirits to work with, and this changes on a regular basis.

“I go through phases, but at the moment I’m into whiskies, particularly single malts. For cocktails, however, gin is often my preference as it’s a great base, and you can never go wrong with a well-made gin and tonic.”

Working in the Middle East presents certain challenges, especially around the attainment of different spirits. In this case, it’s important to maintain good relationships with reliable suppliers, a skill nurtured by many in the bar industry.

“It’s all about relationships and effective communication. Maintaining rapport is key to a successful business relationship. Dubai can be very challenging, especially with wine and spirits, as there are only two suppliers.

Doha is an even more challenging market. There is only one alcohol supplier, but the relationship between them and Hakkasan is very strong, and whenever there are issues they are resolved quickly.  When we opened in 2012 there was a huge amount of stock and equipment imported, and this is still largely the case but it’s slowly getting better.”

Part of Drew’s job is making sure that the cocktails complement Hakkasan’s Cantonese cuisine.

“I wouldn’t say that there was one particular spirit category that pairs with Cantonese cuisine as it is quite broad: it offers spicy, savoury, sweet and aromatic flavours, so depending on the dish you can always find something to pair with it, either neat or mixed in a cocktail.

The Chinese Mule, with vodka, sake, ginger, coriander and lime, is a great pairing with our steamed dim sum. The cocktail is spicy, sweet and aromatic all at once.”

Drew is also responsible for the creation of some of Hakkasan’s most iconic cocktails.

“I am most proud of creating the Cucumber Collins, using Jensen’s Old Tom gin, triple sec, cucumber, celery bitters, lemon and Fever Tree soda. The gin was especially imported. I visited the distillery in Bermondsey, London, last year, which inspired me. It’s a very good Old Tom gin, and is highly rated amongst bartenders looking for an Old Tom that’s as authentic as possible.”

The imagination and invention of each of Hakkasan’s bartenders is encouraged and lauded, with regular competitions resulting in cocktail listings and events dedicated solely to the efforts of the bar.

Hakkatini Nights celebrates the originality and innovation of the cocktail list with a menu focused on Hakkasan’s signature cocktails paired with dim sum.

This menu is available at selected times at Hakkasan Dubai, Hakkasan Doha and Hakkasan Abu Dhabi.

Dim Sum Sundays at Hakkasan Hanway Place celebrates seasonality in both the food and the cocktails on offer, with a regularly changing menu of cocktails focused on unusual and unique cocktails created by the bar team.

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The global evolution of the Smoky Negroni http://old.hakkasan.com/blog/global-evolution-smoky-negroni/ http://old.hakkasan.com/blog/global-evolution-smoky-negroni/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:26:41 +0000 http://old.hakkasan.com/?p=3840 Since the invention of the cocktail, bartenders around the world have experimented with different flavours and ingredients, inventing and reinventing, taking classic flavour pairings and turning them into new and exciting creations. It is the humble Negroni, the simple Italian cocktail of three parts – gin, vermouth rosso and Campari – that has over the […]

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Since the invention of the cocktail, bartenders around the world have experimented with different flavours and ingredients, inventing and reinventing, taking classic flavour pairings and turning them into new and exciting creations.

It is the humble Negroni, the simple Italian cocktail of three parts – gin, vermouth rosso and Campari – that has over the years evolved to become an iconic Hakkasan cocktail.

Originating in Florence, Italy, in 1919, the Negroni was first created for Count Camillo Negroni at Caffè Casoni. According to folklore, the bartender who supposedly invented the drink, a man named Fosco Scarselli, was asked by the Count to strengthen his then favourite cocktail, the Americano, by adding gin instead of soda water, and thus the Negroni was invented. It is said that the bartender Scarselli later sent a letter to the Count advising him not to drink more than 20 of the cocktails per day due to their intoxicating nature.

The Negroni has many classic variations. The lighter Negroni Sbagliato (created wholly accidentally) replaces gin with Prosecco, whilst My Old Pal, the American twist on the traditional recipe, substitutes gin for rye whisky. It is argued that the Negroni is now one of the cocktails that bartenders most enjoy experimenting with, such are its simple components and pleasing results.

The Hakkasan adaptation on the classic, the Smoky Negroni, is a cocktail that features on Hakkasan menus around the world. But while the cocktail is iconic, the recipe has changed many times over the years, evolving naturally and differing from restaurant to restaurant.

The current recipe for the UK Smoky Negroni includes Campari, Cocchi di Torino, umeshu (a Japanese plum sake) and the Japanese whisky Suntory Hakushu 12 years, finished with a spritz of Ardbeg mist to enhance its smoky aroma, giving it a gentle hint of peat without overpowering any of the other flavours. The origins for this particular recipe, a far cry from the authentic Negroni, are based on a cocktail that was created for the opening for Hakkasan Mayfair called the Antico Negroni, composed of Campari, Antica Formula, plum juice from Chinatown and Tanqueray 10 gin. While this didn’t gain much popularity, the recipe was revisited in 2011 where the plum juice was removed and the gin replaced with Japanese whisky.

The US version of the same cocktail is more sympathetic to the classic Negroni’s roots, with gin firmly reinstated as one of its main components. The quintessential Hakkasan cocktail was taken from the UK to New York where it was reimagined and reinvented. Ransom Old Tom gin, Antica Formula sweet vermouth and Campari is infused with smoke from woodchips that have been soaked in Grand Marnier using a Poly-Science smoking gun, to create a cocktail with a smokiness unlike any other.

It is impossible and nor would we want to slow the evolution of the cocktail. The recipes have grown from simple recipes to complex multi-layered procedures, utilising unusual ingredients, mixology methods and technologies. One thing is for certain in an ever-changing landscape: cocktails will be around for the next hundred years and longer, evolving with the speed of the exciting industry they are a part of.

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