Continuing the journey into the world of Thai mixology through the Mekhong Thai Spirit Cocktails 2019 competition, the second collection features three contestants showcasing the beautiful and symbolic flavours of local Thai ingredients. Capturing the nation’s cultural heritage through cocktails crafted with premium Thai spirits such as Mekhong, the three contenders—Ma-Lai, The Ruby of Siam, and Mak-Dong all embody the different aspects of Thailand. Whether it is the sweet and demure jasmine musk of Ma-Lai, the sophisticated The Ruby of Siam or the refreshing nature of Mak-Dong, each drink subtly paints a vivid picture of the deep-rooted culture and heritage of these carefully-crafted artisanal cocktails.
The Ruby of Siam - Saneh Jaan (One Michelin Star)
Just like its moniker, The Ruby of Siam is a beautiful, rosy-hued infusion of pitaya dragon fruit and passion fruit with lime-infused orange bitters, jasmine syrup and egg white. The cocktail celebrates Thailand’s lush and fertile soil that gives the nation a year-round abundance of seasonal crops and produce. Just as the name suggests, The Ruby of Siam is a sophisticated blend of Thai fruit, herbs and spices that reflect the country’s lush fertility. The mixologists at Saneh Jaan use som saa, or bitter orange, whose unique sweet and citrusy tone pairs well with red pitaya dragon fruit. The result is a deep, ruby-hued drink that embodies the unique colour of authentic Siamese rubies. Rich in colour and flavour, the cocktail is pleasing to the olfactory senses with its sweet and mellow aroma of Thai jasmine. The garnish of roasted coconut grounded with salt, chilli and bitter orange zest work together to reconcile the fruity sweetness of the jasmine and dragon fruit, rounded off beautifully with the herbal and spicy notes of Mekhong Thai spirit.
Ma-Lai - OSHA (Michelin Plate)
This sweet and fragrant cocktail is a combination of white champaca and champak blossom syrup, coconut juice, blended carandas plum compote with lime juice and a hint of jasmine aroma. The Ma-Lai cocktail, which translates to 'flower garland' in Thai, is a symbolic reflection of the Thai tradition, where flower garlands are used as a welcoming token for guests and visitors. Ma-lai garlands are also traditionally given as a congratulatory gift or used in many auspicious Thai rituals. The cocktail itself incorporates Mekhong, a quality Thai spirit whose crafted, herbal essence helps to enhance the flavours and aromas of other local ingredients in the drink. The blend of white champaca and champak flower syrup with smoked coconut, jasmine aroma and carandas plum compote provides a balance of sweet and tangy notes with an aromatic, floral nose of Thai flowers. The sweet and delicate nature of the cocktail gives Ma-Lai a subtle and refreshing characteristic that makes it perfect for welcoming guests at important functions or dinners.
Mak-Dong—Café Chilli Issan Rustic, Bangkok
This earthy and vibrant cocktail pays homage to the Thai tradition of fruit preservation where local fruits undergo the fermenting process of ‘mak’ and ‘dong’ so they can be enjoyed throughout the year. Named after the process of fermentation, Mak-Dong comprises Mekhong Thai spirit and a rich infusion of local fruits with Angostura bitter and lime. Inventively, it manages to capture the essence of a Thai culinary wisdom by preserving local Thai fruits with Mekhong, a premium Thai spirit with a rich nose of local herbs and spices. The fermented fruits, namely madan, mayom (star gooseberry), tamarind and bilimbi are grounded with fresh ginger and shaken into the mix with Mekhong spirit and a hint of syrup. To add dimension and complexity to the taste, the golden-amber cocktail is then served alongside preserved fruits in a martini glass rimmed with a garnish of fermented plum and brown sugar.
Like a beautiful woman, each cocktail carries a unique charm distinguished byits different flavours and characteristics. The use of local ingredients mixed with quality Thai spirit such as Mekhong helps to bring out the small details that reflect the nation’s cultural and historical tradition. Whether it is the sweet and delicate Ma-Lai symbolic of the Thai auspicious flower garland, the sophistication in the flavours of The Ruby of Siam that conveys the country’s natural abundance or the earthy and vibrant notes of Mak-Dong that embodies the local tradition of fruit preservation, each drink represents the heritage of Thailand to the point of perfection.