Bars these days offer a range of updated versions of classic cocktails. Whether out of pressure to keep up with trends or maybe just to create unique twists on familiar staples, we are now spoiled for choice when it comes to that post work imbibe.
At Nautilus Bar at the Four Seasons Hotel, Jakarta there’s something new that is being shaken – by 22-year-old bartender Darren.
He recently made it to third place among 171 entries at the Opihr Gin Bartender Contest for his unique creations based on the spice islands, which he called “22 years to Tanah Batavia”.
“I came up with the idea because of my journey. I’m 22 years old, from Tanah Batavia, what we call Jakarta now, I travelled to Manado where I found a few spices, to Maluku, my father’s birthplace where I sourced nutmeg, and wood from Papua. I used these flavours in my cocktail and it won me the prize,” the effervescent personality tells us.
He agrees that imbibers these days look for twists rather than the mundane classics. “We are young,” Darren says “We’re looking for something that we can connect with” he notes adding that he approaches drinks with a fresh view, keeping things traditional but adding his own accents to it. These additions include cloves, cardamom, basil and cloves, decidedly Asian flavour bases.
Darren takes a “3-D” approach to drinks. The first element is dry, then sweetness and balance. He chooses the spirt first, either vodka or gin, then the sweetness and dryness, choosing ingredients that will complement, and then a flourish to balance it off.
In a series of artsy theatrics, he shows off his flaring and juggling skills that he learned over the years while training in a diverse list of places including Qatar, Maldives, and Vietnam.
One of the latest drinks these days is the MVB with low alcohol content, which means flavours become even more important.
Soon, he will head to Bangkok to represent Indonesia’s western islands at the Giffort Bartender contest. and he hopes to do a takeover.
“It’s about passion, sacrifice, and getting out of our comfort zone,“ he said. “When you sacrifice to learn what you love it’s passion”