Travel the world over and you'll find great cocktails everywhere.
I'll be away from New York for a while, traveling around Asia mixing drinks. My first stop--and my home-base--is Bangkok, Thailand. It's my first time in Bangkok and one of the things I've noticed about cocktails here is that it's a bit harder to find the same level of inventiveness you see just about everywhere in New York City. Most bars offer the common classics on their lists: Apple Martinis, Cosmopolitans, Long Islands, and the like.
But look a bit harder and you'll find that there are plenty of high-end bars and restaurants with a nice cocktail list. You're not going to get a full New York pour, but you you may certainly be able to try a few new tastes.
At the beautiful Sukhothai Hotel is The Zuk Bar. Their cocktail list is just about bible length, divided into chapters. Among them are a section devoted to the common popular ones, another to more modern drinks, and yet another to Zuk Bar originals. It was a lot to take in pre-order, but I finally settled on two of them to try. The Derby Smash and the Glenfiddich Oriental.
The Derby Smash is made with Jim Beam, bringing me temporarily back to America. Jim Beam is named for James Beam, a member of the Beam family, which had been a successful Bourbon making family since the Civil War. Along with the bourbon, the Derby Smash is made from watermelon juice (which I watched being freshly pureed in a blender), Pimm's No. 1, raspberries, and ginger ale. My very sweet bartender Natthayada poured the cocktail from a carafe into a small highball, leaving the remainder barside within the carafe.
Next, I moved on to a whiskey that was a tad bit closer to my current location. Glenfiddich is a single malt from the Speyside region of Scotland, which, known as "the whiskey capital of the world," is where more than half of the single malt Scotches are from. My Glenfiddich Oriental consisted of the Scotch, fresh ginger (presumably the "Oriental" part), and fresh orange juice. Its only garnish were the smashed orange rinds and pieces of ginger floating within the cocktail.
Thank you Natthayada for being a great bar keep in one of my first cocktail experiences of Thailand.