Authors Posts by Sasha Falloon

Sasha Falloon

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Lasso In Your Cowboy Chums for Cocktails and Some Darn Good Meatballs

Round up your (outlaw) gang and get ready for a wild (west) time, there’s a new (Sundance) kid in town.

Spaghetti Western, Adelaide’s latest saloon bar, is crossing the new frontier to conquer the world of cocktails and hearty cuisine.

Situated on the ground floor of the triple-story King William Street complex, the venue is the perfect location for you and your band of bandits to take a tipple after a hard day of heists (or lawful employment).

Swing through the doors and plunk yourself down amongst headshots of the great Hollywood “cowboys” of yesteryear, like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood.

Steve Threlfo, assistant manager and award-winning bartender, runs this drinks joint, shooting out Italian-American inspired cocktails to give you that needed spark.

Thrifty frontiersmen take note of their Friday happy hour specials and toe-tapping entertainment from DJ Krispy.

All cowboys need a filling fare as ammunition to take on the harsh wildness of the work week and Spaghetti Western have you covered with their Monday Meatball Madness.

From 5pm-7pm, you can challenge your buddies to the ultimate meatball duel, demolishing a bucket of 20 veal and pork meatballs, topped with tomato sugo, parmesan and herb bread crumbles for only $30.

Spaghetti Western is opening Monday to Friday 11am – 2am and Saturdays 5pm – 2am.

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Catchfly: Singapore’s Newest Bar to Blossom

Like the flower from which its name derives, Catchfly blooms and flourishes out of Singapore’s darkness.

Sustained by the stream of patrons that flow through the Chinatown district, the American-style cocktail bar is sure to become a go-to for both casual drinkers and enthusiasts alike.

Head mixologist, New York’s Liam Baer, cultivates classic cocktails with a unique twist, incorporating expertly crafted house-made syrups, sodas and spirit infusions.

Starting with the seed of quality niche American spirits, Baer seeks to grow his cocktails through the use of fresh ingredients, whilst preserving the integrity and taste of the base.

A perfect example of this technique is his signature cocktail, The Honey Badger. In-house rosemary-infused bourbon is blended with yellow chartreuse, a dose of lemon, ginger and honey to create a ‘crisp and revitilising’ mix.

On the menu is also a range of ‘smooth and sensual’ and ‘adventurous’ cocktails to suit the tastes of every drinker. This even includes a range of ‘Low ABV’ cocktails for those looking for a drop to drink without wilting the next day.

Have a favourite drink? Patrons can also order off-the-menu bespoke cocktails to meet their heart’s desire.

There is also a range of Asian inspired cuisine, such as Kimchi Beef Chilli and Corn Chips or Spiced Edamame, so that you can both water and feed the soul.

Enjoy these culinary delights whilst planting yourself in one of the plush teal armchairs that adorn the space and take in the relaxed, modern industrial atmosphere created by exposed brick walls and black marble furnishings.

Catchfly is located on 12 Ann Siang Road and is open from 6pm – 2am Monday to Thursday, and 6pm – 3am on Fridays and Saturdays.

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Cocktail Masters Vijay Mudaliar and Gagan Gurung to Host Joint Masterclass at Fang Fang

Pioneers of the Asian cocktail scene, Vijay Mudaliar and Gagan Gurung, are joining forces this month to host a cocktail masterclass at the newly opened Fang Fang restaurant and bar.

Gurung, as Fang Fang’s bar manager, has developed a reputation for creating innovative, mouth-watering cocktails inspired by the flavours of Asia. His flair at crafting has earned him recognition in a number of international cocktail competitions as well as seen him named as one of Drinks World’s Top 25 Bartenders of 2017.

Singaporean bartending master, Mudaliar, is similarly known for his use of distinct local and regional ingredients, such as aromatic herbs, spices and exotic fruits, in his cocktails. He is the founder and bar manager of NATIVE cocktail bar, which is ranked number 20 on Asia’s 50 Best Bars List. This year, Mudaliar was awarded the prestigious title of Bartender of the Year from The Bar Awards Singapore.

Between 3pm and 5pm on the 13th of July, the two maestros will showcase how best to preserve and emphasise the unique flavours and scents of Asian ingredients to create distinctive and delicious cocktails.

To secure your place in the masterclass, call 2983 9083 or email info@fangfang.com.hk.

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Fang Fang Offers Hong Kong Asian Fusion at its Finest

Hong Kong has a new contemporary Asian restaurant and bar to intrigue and ignite the senses. Fang Fang, named after a enigmatic Chinese opera singer, celebrates modern Asian food, drink and architecture through its tantalising menu and unique design.

The 130 seat restaurant, bar and lounge space is decorated with plush leather armchairs ornamented with mini lion door knockers, walls made entirely of black scales to symbolise the importance of the dragon and allude to the shoulder pads of the great Japanese samurai and a glowing dragon carved in marble, guarding the bar and all its secret ingredients.

This bar and all its treasures come under the watchful eye of bar manager Gagan Gurung, one of Drinks World Hong Kong’s Top 25 Bartenders for 2017. The Chinese Five Elements Philosophy inspires Gurung’s expertly crafted drinks menu. It is believed that the five forces of nature, water, wood, earth, fire and metal, must interact in a balanced cycle of creation, destruction and rebirth to ensure the harmony of the cosmos.

In keeping with this balance, Fang Fang will be serving up two cocktails influenced by each element. Under ‘Water’, Black But Pure is a smooth tasting drink made from Aylesbury Duck Vodka, blackberry, cinnamon syrup, squid ink and Lapsang Souchong tea.

The ‘Water’ element cocktails: Paochi and Black But Pure

Paochi, the other ‘Water’ cocktail, has slightly more kick to it, with spicy, sour and sweet elements. In the ‘Wood’ category, Komorebi has a fresh pine flavour, whilst Nuer Fang tastes of tart goji berries. The sharp Grounded Yellow Dragon and the tangy and syrupy Trái Đất come under ‘Earth’ with Bōu Jái and Omikuji Girl beneath ‘Fire’ and the ‘Metal’ inspired Wu Xing and Umami Bay rounding out the list. There will also be an extensive list of premium wines, sakes and rare whiskies from across the globe.

In terms of the food, head chef Kent Lee Chin Heng has created a distinct and exciting menu of modern Asian cuisine. The former sous chef at Kai Mayfair, The Sunday Times’ highest ranked Chinese restaurant in 2012 and 2015, believes in sourcing only the freshest ingredients from within Hong Kong and ferments his own sauces in-house.

Fang Fang is now soft open for dinner reservations. For more information, head on over to their Facebook page.

Details:

Address:
8/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong

Telephone:
852-2983-9083

Opening Hours:
Dinner – 6pm – 11pm (Monday – Thursday & Sunday)
6pm – 11:30pm (Friday & Saturday)
Bar & Lounge: 5pm – late

Email Address:
info@fangfang.com.hk

Website:
www.fangfang.com.hk


Image: The bar team at Fang Fang

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Master Mixologist Ueno-san is Back at Bar De Luxe

Hidetsugu Ueno, master cocktail mixer, is returning to Bar De Luxe in Hong Kong.

The legend of the bar world will be behind the bar from the 10th – 12th of July, serving up delicious mixes made from fresh, seasonal produce.

As the producer of Bar De Luxe and owner of Bar High Five in Ginza, Ueno-san is known for his artistic and meticulously crafted cocktails that offer a drinks experience not to be missed.

To accompany Ueno-san’s residence, head bartender Yuriko Naganuma has carefully created a menu of cocktails utilising only the freshest seasonal produce.

The list includes the Kyoho Grape Cocktail (HK$178) a mix of fresh kyoho grape, sake, cherry blossom liqueur, kyoho grape liqueur and fresh lime juice, the Passion Fruit Cocktail (HK$198) a tart tasting blend of fresh passion fruit, passion fruit liqueur, yellow chartreuse, elder flower liqueur, fresh orange juice and fresh lemon juice, the Pineapple Cocktail (HK$178) made from fresh pineapple, gold rum, fresh lime juice and pineapple juice and a twist on the classic Bellini (HK$218) which features fresh Japanese peach, peach juice and champagne.

For more information, go to the Bar De Luxe website.

Details:

Address:
29-30F, 8 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong

Tel:
+852 3706-5716

Email:
bardeluxe@attire-house.com

Opening Hours:
Monday to Wednesday – 10am to 12am
Thursday to Saturday – 10am to 2am
Sundays Closed

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Luc Belaire Release Gold Cuvée With Steve Aoki as Brand Ambassador

Luc Belaire, the premium Burgundy wine brand, has launched a new flagship cuvée and announced DJ Steve Aoki as the drink’s official ambassador.

Luc Belaire Gold is a blend of chardonnay and pinot noir grapes, with notes of peach, pear and brioche. It is crafted with organic sugarcane dosage and is presented in a clear glass bottle with gold embossed foil labels.

Brett Berish, CEO of Sovereign Brands, the distributor of Luc Belaire, says the brand is thrilled to announce Aoki as Belaire Gold’s ambassador.

“We are incredibly excited to introduce Belaire Gold to the world. We have an unrivalled ambassador network of Belaire fans and are pleased to welcome Steve, whose awe-inspiring creativity and celebratory spirit make him the perfect ambassador for our ‘liquid gold,’” he said.

Luc Belaire Gold Cuvée

“We will be integrating the Aoki experience with Luc Belaire, both online and in Steve’s performances, to create fun, engaging content for our friends and followers.”

The two times Grammy-nominated international producer joins the likes of Rick Ross and DJ Khaled as one of the more than 200 global ambassadors for Luc Belaire.

Aoki says he is excited to take on his new role with the brand.

“I’m a long time fan of Belaire and have already worked with the brand on a series of music videos last year,” he said.

“Since then, I’ve become even more excited about the brand, the team and everything they stand for. When I heard about the opportunity to be a part of it all with Belaire Gold, I had to do it!”

Luc Belaire Gold will be available in select retailers, restaurants and nightclubs around the world from July.

For more information, head on over to Luc Belaire’s website.

Image: Steve Aoki and DJ Khaled, ambassadors for Luc Belaire

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Diageo Pay Top Dollar for Clooney’s Premium Tequila

Diageo has added Casamigos to their expanding tequila portfolio for the pretty price of $1.32 billion.

The premium tequila brand, co-founded four years ago by Hollywood’s golden boy George Clooney, will join the likes of Don Julio, DeLeon and Peligroso under multinational distiller and distributor’s banner.

With tequila sales having more than doubled in the US from 2002 to 2015, according to the Distilled Spirits Council, Diageo hope the acquisition will strengthen the distributor’s presence on the American market.

Deidre Mahlan, Diageo’s North American President, says Casamigos is predicted to sell 170,000 12 bottle cases this year. The spirit is sold for $US34 to $US55 retail price and is currently growing at a rate of 40 per cent to 50 per cent annually.

“[The acquisition of Casamigos] supports our strategy to focus on the high growth super-premium-and-above segments of the category,” said Ivan Menezes, chief executive of Diageo.

“With the global strength of Diageo we expect to expand the reach of Casamigos to markets beyond the US to capitalise on the significant international potential of the brand.”

The sale signifies Diageo’s biggest acquisition since their purchase of United Spirits in 2014 for $US3.2 billion.

Source: Australian Financial Review 

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Just What the Doctor Ordered: Dr. Fern’s Included on List of Asia’s 50 Best Bars

Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour, Hong Kong’s newest gin hub, has already been announced as one of Asia’s 50 Best Bars. The speakeasy style cocktail bar, opened in February 2017, was listed as number 48 on the highly coveted list.

Inspired by the story of Doctor Fern, a peculiar physician who served his patients a concoction of gin, herbs and botanicals for their ailments, the bar is the go-to spot for original and quirky gin cocktails. Guests are invited to relax in the elegant setting and choose from the over 250 types of fruity, spicy, sweet or citrusy gin on offer.

Head bartender Gerry Olino, formerly of Lobster Bar, is extremely proud of Dr. Fern’s achievement thus far.

“Having Dr. Fern’s on the list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars fulfils one of my greatest dreams,” he said.

“I work with an amazing team who puts their hearts and souls into each mix that we create. Getting recognised for my work, previously at the Lobster Bar and now at Dr. Fern’s, is a truly heart-warming feeling. It has been a privilege to work in Hong Kong’s F&B industry and I am so blessed to have discovered the intricate and beautiful world of mixology that I love so much.”

Jonathan Bui, co-founder of Ming Fat House who own and operate Dr. Fern’s, also expressed his delight at receiving such an honour.

“Words cannot truly express the jubilance and pride I feel at knowing that Dr. Fern’s has been ranked as one of Asia’s 50 Best Bars,” he said.

“After being opened for only four months, it is a huge honour for us to be recognised for all of our hard work and efforts. Building this speakeasy from the ground up and conceptualising the backstory behind it has been both a rewarding and painstaking experience, one that I would not exchange for anything in the world.”

Drinks World Asia would like to offer their congratulations to Dr. Fern’s Gin Parlour and all the bars included on the list. To check them out, head over to the World’s 50 Best Bars’ website.

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Making Elbow Room for Cambodia’s Emerging Cocktail Scene

From Hip-Hop hub to cocktail connoisseurs, Elbow Room has grown a lot over its first year. In honour of their upcoming birthday, Drinks World sat down with Eric Stephenson, portfolio manager for La Familia Group, to chat about the bar, his move back to South East Asia and his predictions for the Phnom Penh’s up-and-coming bar scene.

DRINKS WORLD: Elbow Room is approaching its first anniversary. Since it’s opening, how has the bar progressed?

ERIC STEPHENSON: It’s shifted quite a bit since a year ago. Previously our concept, music direction and drinks were heavily influenced by Hip-Hop, which inadvertently made the Elbow Room experience somewhat of a novelty. We felt that Phnom Penh needed a bar to act as the foundation for what’s to come, so we adjusted our focus to becoming more of cocktail driven experience, where we’re able to play the role of educator while also providing some comfort via locally inspired creations. We’re hoping this approach helps to open the door to the rich history of cocktails to an entire nation of drinkers here in Cambodia, while simultaneously pushing the boundaries of what an outsider’s expectations are for a bar in this part of the world.

DW: Have there been any changes to the venue throughout the year? If so, what were they, and why?

ES: The venue itself has undergone relatively few changes. The biggest change would be the implementation of some new glassware, much of which was handmade in Cambodia, a locally sourced ice shaver mounted to the bar, and some outdoors furniture.

DW: Has the bar scene in Phnom Penh changed over the year? 

ES: The biggest change has been that existing bars are now opting for quality craft spirits instead cheap supermarket ones. There’s a lot more research and creativity going into menus now. Drinks are priced accordingly, but people have begun to understand the distinction between a $3 mixed drink and a $7 cocktail.

DW: And do you see it developing into a larger cocktail scene like its neighboring countries? 

ES: That’s the plan! We’re investing a lot of time and energy working with beverage programs around town that want to stay ahead of the trend. The interest is certainly growing, and with the enormous amount of investment Cambodia has seen recently there has been a definite movement toward craft spirits and quality cocktails. Recently, several hotel and resort projects have opted to bring in internationally trained beverage professionals to run their programs, and we expect that trend to continue.

DW: For those yet to be acquainted with Elbow Room, what can one expect? 

ES: Unique interpretations of classic drinks with lots of local twists to drive it all home, as well as a small, carefully chosen selection of comforting bites to munch on. We also serve locally sourced fried crickets.

Eric Stephenson, portfolio manager for La Familia Group

DW: What’s next for Elbow Room? 

ES: Our menu will continue to take inspiration from the classics, but we’re hoping to push the boundaries a bit more as we continue to develop a rapport with our guests. Each week, we discover new ingredients, drinking vessels, and tools, like our street-style ice block shaver, and with those discoveries come new ways to connect with the Cambodian palate and mind. We also have plans to bring in several international guest bartenders, including many of our friends in Hong Kong, Bangkok and Singapore, to introduce our Cambodian friends to new styles and techniques. The hope is that these things can help put Phnom Penh on the regional map of drinking destinations, and that Elbow Room can play a central role in that.


DW: You’re back in South East Asia, what made you decide to move back after your stint in Europe? 

ES: Europe has a wonderful bar scene, but I think the bar scene in Asia, particularly South East Asia, is the most exciting in the world right now. There is just so much happening here, and as the different countries in the region develop and prosper, the interest in cocktails seems to parallel that growth. For me, the opportunity to help shape an up-and-coming, yet still incredibly raw country such as Cambodia was too intriguing to pass up.

DW: Your role at La Familia is the portfolio manager, what does this role entail and what does a day in the life of Eric look like? 

ES: My role here primarily involves working directly with our clients, ranging from hotels and resorts to smaller neighborhood bars and restaurants, to train and educate their teams, while also looking after the cocktail program at Elbow Room. Once a month I host a cocktail workshop for the Cambodian bartenders, which has become an open forum for new ideas to help the scene grow. I also get to help La Familia put on some pretty unique events around town. We recently threw a cocktail party on the Cambodian National Railway, where we had a band play and poured draft cocktails for our guests for five hours as the train passed through some truly gorgeous countryside. It was incredible.

DW: I’d imagine Cambodia is quite different compared to other countries you have lived in? How are you settling in so far? 

ES: I love it here. Phnom Penh is definitely the most chaotic place I’ve lived. There don’t seem to be many rules, and if there are rules then nobody seems to follow them. Day-to-day life is very colorful and is certainly not without the bizarre and head turning moments. It’s also not without its hardships, for many as the country is still recovering from it’s troubled past. However, amidst all of the uncertainty seems to be a growing sense of hope. Things are getting better.

DW: Since moving to Cambodia and starting your new role, what have been the industry challenges or regulations you’ve had to adjust to? 

ES: I think one of the biggest challenges remains perception. It’s been a battle for years to combat the old perceptions about Cambodia being a cheap beer and fluorescent cocktail kind of country. Bartenders here are constantly working to balance the desire to implement premium spirits and ingredients into recipes with the necessity of keeping drinks affordable to the market.

DW: Are there any new addition to your portfolio or coming to your portfolio that you’re excited about?

ES: I’m very excited to bring Michter’s to Cambodia! They’re some of my favorite people in the industry, and I think their whiskeys are a going to be a huge hit with our clients as well as the expats living here. We’re also expanding our Plantation Rum portfolio, which is always a good thing, and we’re bringing in the Scrappy’s and Adam Elmegirab bitters ranges, which the bartenders here will be especially pleased with. One under the table item we’ve added is a range of paper straws, which we’re distributing to help combat the unbelievably excessive consumption of plastic in Cambodia.

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Samuel Kwok: A World Class Bartender

Samuel Kwok has two great loves: cocktails and tattoos. To secure his win as Diageo’s World Class Bartender of the Year for Hong Kong and Macau, Kwok used his passion to design, build and run a unique pop-up bar experience, complete with themed cocktails and tattoo artists. Drinks World sat down with Kwok recently to discuss his win, the challenges of the World Class competition and his expectations of the global final.

DRINKS WORLD: Congratulations on being crowned World Class champion for Hong Kong and Macau! Could you share with us your experience?  

SAMUEL KWOK: This year will be my 11th year in the bartending industry, so I set a goal for myself: I want to achieve something, to push myself and see how far I can go. I wanted to see if my talents and passion would be recognised by the world. And that is why I decided to join the World Class competition.

World Class is the most demanding competition there is in the industry right now, which tests bartenders on many different levels and over various spirit categories. It was definitely a grueling experience of intensive preparations, but the greatest reward is being able to further showcase my experience on a global scale, which is both exciting and terrifying at the same time!

DW: What was is like when you heard your name called out as the winner? 

SK: I was immensely excited and tried to hold back my tears! My mind went completely blank for a moment, and I could only think about the immense difficulty in challenges we have encountered to get where we are. Honestly, I had already felt incredibly lucky to make it to the top three in this competition!

DW: Out of all the challenges, which one did you find the most challenging? 

SK: I would say the American Speed Challenge, as I didn’t have enough time to practice my rounds thoroughly. Being the bar manager at Quinary, a high-end, high-volume cocktail bar, as well as making sure I spend enough quality time with my wife and kids, means time is very scarce and valuable in my life. The challenges really called for sacrifices to be made! I can only be thankful that the competition calls for an all-rounded score of the many challenges, which put me back on track before the finals.

DW: What was your game plan going into the final stage of the competition? 

SK: The game plan was simple: be myself and go all in! I pulled together all the resources I could manage, including my best friend from high school, Hungie Fong (who was previously the bar manager at Origin, and now at The Envoy), my long-term tattoo artist and good friend, Kin Liu (of Soul Canvas Ink), who had to move his fully-packed schedule around in order to make an appearance and my friends who came out to be tattooed and be supportive. I was also very fortunate to have a great team at work with my bosses, Antonio Lai and Charlene Dawes, and colleagues at Quinary and from the office for helping me put together the various bits and pieces to make the final stage of the competition a successful one.

DW: For the final challenge, you had to create your own pop-up bar in Taikoo Place, what was the inspiration behind your bar theme? 

SK: I put together two of my greatest passions: the art of bartending and tattoos. These two areas have many things in common, and one is that both the human skin and the palate are blank canvases to build a story, brought to life in the form of a tattoo and a cocktail. Last but not least, these two art forms can be shared amongst all people, across any language, and that is the greatest thing about sharing!

DW: How are you going to prepare for the global final and stand out from all your competitors? 

SK: I will study all Diageo brands at length, practice incessantly on my technique, and gather all the love and support from my family, friends and colleagues! Once we receive all information, rules and regulations of the global competition, I will be preparing intensively with everything that I have to give in Mexico. Last but not least, some good luck would help, I think!

DW: And finally, for bartenders looking to enter World Class next year, what have you learnt from this year and what is your advice? 

SK: Know the brands well and study all aspects of them from their history to production, practice your techniques, create something that reflects your character and personality, and be yourself!

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