The night started with a cocktail mix of Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver, créme de cassis, spiced ginger, lime and mint – a classic called El Diablo. Described as “light and refreshing” with a mild kick, as expected, its minty flavour complements well with the Jose Cuervo tequila shots.
Having not as much drinking experience as the rest in the venue, it’s worth the try and it was a good starter, I should say.
All thanks to this master mixer – Valentin C Iulian, Regional Brand Alchemist at Alchemy Wines & Spirits Asia, as he took over for a night at the Elephant Bar – Raffles Hotel Le Royal and served up four of his very own cocktails with different expressions of tequila.
With his more than 10 years of experience in bartending, the Romanian mixologist has been touring around the region and the rest of Asia promoting the tequila brand.
His way of preparing each drink, which was very hands on, really speaks of his experience in the industry.
To him, Cambodian drinkers are curious. “They like to try new things and I think that’s interesting,” he said, pointing out that this was his first time in the Kingdom and definitely not his last.
Before prepping the drinks, he said, “The four cocktails are meant to complement each other so they have different flavour profile.” It was his way of telling us each glass has its own unique taste and kick and that drink favourites may vary.
Among the four unique cocktails, the Salt and Smoke was the highlight. The way it was prepared grabbed all eyes behind the bar: infused tequila with smoke, ice ball carving and salt bits all over the glass – all to further enhance and accentuate its distinct flavour. Truly a twist and a classic margarita. I had a single sip and the smoky flavour really brushed me off. There was no after-taste, but for the lack of a better term, an after-scent.
The other two cocktails offered that night was Coquita, a refreshing mix of Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver, dry vermouth, watermelon, lime, black pepper and coconut. This one’s a real refresher, I couldn’t taste the watermelon and lime and coconut but it gave me the silvery feels. However, its kick was not as mild as the starter. Well, it wasn’t a starter drink after all.
And lastly, the Batanga de Don Javier which was done with Jose Cuervo Tradicional Reposado, coca cola, lime, salt and a knife. Sounds edgy but it was a cool mix.
To sum it up, it was a night not to be missed at Raffles Hotel Le Royal’s Elephant Bar.