THE SHORT LIST

What's in a list?

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Well, for me, quite a lot actually. If it's one of the cocktail lists I regularly put together for my myriad of international clients, it's full of creativity, originality, variety, appealing flavor combinations, unique concepts, and, hopefully, attention getting names and descriptions. My cocktails are undoubtedly a part of me. And I want every single person that tries one of my creations to feel that. If you think about it, that's a pretty tall order.

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And that translates into training. Because what's the point if the guy behind the bar making your cocktail doesn't put any love into it? What's the point if the girl shaking the shaker does it half-heartedly? There's no point at all if it doesn't get delivered properly.

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I just put together one of said lists for arguably the coolest spot under a year old in the city of Jakarta, Indonesia. The place is called Immigrant and I just finished creating for them six incredibly innovative tipples--and that's not just by Javanese standards; I would confidently be able to introduce this selection to an imbibely distinguished Manhattan crowd.

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I utilized a bunch of common local ingredients that people have likely never used in a similar way: an Indonesian leaf called pohpohan, basil seeds, grilled watermelon, and fresh aloe leaf. I also used some common ingredients that are quite uncommon behind the bar: green bell pepper, dates, lollipops, and a few types of candies. Then, I gave them unorthodox names such as: "Widowed Rich Bitch", "Whoah-Whoah-Whoah", "God Gave You Style and Grace", and "Take A Chance On Me". And of course I made sure that the balance of flavors was spot on and that the bartenders had a complete handle on all aspects of each drink.

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And did I mention that the group of bartenders over at Immigrant are an exceptional bunch?

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I've been getting a lot of questions from people I meet lately that go something like this: "So what exactly is it that you do?" Well, this is it. (The short description, that is.)

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Like I said, it's a short list. So sip slowly. Enjoy.

—Joseph

Jakarta, West Java, Indonesia

Spanish in Hong Kong

Today is a pretty rainy day in Hong Kong. Fortunately for me, there's quite a bit of sexy indoor spots to spend my time in this city.

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1/5 Nuevo is in the Wanchai area of HK

We were at Pacific Place in Wanchai doing a bit of shopping and basically wandering around indoors while the humidity outside remained constant and the skies threatened to open up and swallow the beautiful city in a torrential downpour. Bonnie told me that a cool Spanish place was right around the corner, so I said, "Let's go!" And that we did, managing to avoid any drops from the teasing rain clouds.



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1/5's brightly colored and flavored Strawberry Batida

Now to be completely honest and blunt, the Sangria at 1/5 Nuevo, especially for a Spanish place, is pretty bad. It's a standard red wine sangria, with the usual bits of soaking fruit, but a world away from the good stuff you find in Barcelona. On the other hand, the barkeep put together a cachaça drink for me that was quite something worth writing about. It's called a Strawberry Batida. Now a Batida is a Brazilian drink made with the ever-popular Brazilian sugar-cane spirit. Despite my limited knowledge of foreign languages, I do know that "badita" is Portuguese for "shaken" or "a shaken drink". It's really basically a caipariña (cachaça, lime, and sugar) with fruit juice. The labels "badita" and "caipariña" are actually, although not accurately, used interchangeably.



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A guy on a phone passed to him by a piece of wood

The Strawberry Badita at 1/5 is a pretty nice drink. It's messy and soupy, packed with fresh strawberries, fresh limes, and fresh mint. Kind of a hybrid of a caipariña, a mojito, with a strawberry touch. Quite a lot of stuff going on, but not bad.



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Nuevo bottle display at 1/5 Nuevo



Thanks for reading the blog, guys. Wherever you are, have fun. But to really enjoy, sip slowly.


—Joseph