The Jakarta Post
Mixologist Kika Moka for The Dutch: As a well-known figure behind the bar in Jakarta, Kiki Moka has never lost his thirst to find more ideas for creating cocktails. He says that the scene in Indonesia is progressing, albeit slowly, to catch up with those in other countries. Local mix masters are starting to explore flavors by combining ingredients based on international to local produce, and to try many different methods to create something different for the palate. On Kiki’s Valentine’s Day recollections, he says he once tried to impress a girl by creating a special cocktail – but it turns out she didn’t drink alcohol. Rather than give up, Kiki made a spiced chocolate milkshake. The drink was a success: the woman is now his wife.
Union Group presents 'Lovebirds': For Valentine’s Day, Kiki created for The Jakarta Post a drink for couples called 'Lovebirds', made with gin, wild berry puree, fresh lime, yuzu juice and orange blossom honey. The idea comes from the dove, a symbol of love and peace – perfect for the spirit of the day. Recipe: 75ml New Amsterdam Gin, 50ml Wild Berry puree, 25ml Fresh lime, 15ml Yuzu juice, 25ml Orange Blossom Honey.
Mixologist Mochamad Warra for Mother Monster: Mochamad never thought he’d become a bartender, figuring such people were too close to alcohol and likely constantly inebriated. He said he changed his mind after stepping behind the bar and discovering the art and creativity in mixing drinks. “There are people who appreciate drinks by listening to the story behind every drink, not just someone who wants to get drunk.” On Valentine’s Day, Mochamad is phlegmatic. “It’s common for couple to enjoy their romantic night during Valentine’s Day, but I met this one guy who sat at the bar, waiting, just to realize that his date actually was not coming. I ended up accompanying him through the night with several glasses of cocktails to cheer him up,” said Warra.
Mother Monster presents 'Pleasure Garden': As a Head Bartender at Mother Monster, Mochamad is ready to welcome guest who want to celebrate Valentine's Day with the Pleasure Garden, made from gin, black raspberry liqueur, raspberry syrup and fresh lemon juice – and which looks like a transparent fruit hanging from a tree. It has a fruity flavor with a dominant sweet-and-sour flavor. “I think this cocktail is perfect for someone who want to propose his girlfriend,” said Warra.
Mother Monster presents 'Don't Play with Fire': The second Valentine’s cocktail from Mochamad and Mother Monster is called 'Don’t Play with Fire', which has a shock-and-awe vibe. Real fire used in the presentation enhances the aroma of cinnamon, which is also an ingredient that is used inside this rum-based cocktail, which includes egg whites and lemon juice for an overall bold and masculine drink.
Bartender Indra Sartika for Kei Bar: Kei Bar is a true speakeasy: we are under orders not to reveal its location. What we can say is that the intimate, Ginza-style bar, managed by the ever-brilliant Kendy, offers serene seclusion in one of the busiest parts of the city, with soft jazz playing until the wee hours and a cosmopolitan selection of spirits. Although Kendy was not available, she asked her talented barman Indra Sartika to prepare for The Jakarta Post a delectable creation.
Kei Bar presents the 'Yuzu Sake Cocktail': The idea of this cocktail comes from when Kei Bar’s Indra Sartika was reflecting on Umenoyado Yuzu sake. “It has dominant sweet-and-sour notes, which is not a perfect pairing for enjoying sashimi and sushi. Out of curiosity, I tried to create a cocktail using that same sake and to enhance the flavor to create a drink that could be enjoyed by many.” The Yuzu Sake Cocktail has a top-notch citrus aroma and a pretty masculine presentation that’s a perfect yin/yang blend for Valentine’s. Recipe: 30ml gin, 10ml Contreau, 10ml Umenoyado Yuzu Sake, 30ml orange juice, 5ml Yuzu juice, egg white.
Reiza Yudha Putra for Basque Bar de Tapas: Reiza studied economics before becoming a hotelier and grew interested in how bartenders worked on the front line of the restaurant business, focused on pleasing customers through good communication and their beverage-making skills. With years of experience behind the bar at several venues in Jakarta, Reiza enlivens the scene at Basque, which serves gin and tonic artistry and excellent Spanish tapas. “I’m always envious watching people celebrate Valentine’s Day, but also happy, because actually we help people to have their romantic moment,” Reiza said of working behind the bar. “I know I’m not a romantic person, but I enjoy watching romance.”
Basque presents 'The Dreamers:' 'The Dreamers' is Reiza’s refreshing gin-based cocktail, with fruity notes from pomme verte, peach liqueur, fresh lemon juice and topped by sparkling wine. It’s an easy cocktail that can be enjoyed any time for someone who is in mood for love. Recipe: Dry Gin, Pomme Verte, Peach Liqueur, Fresh Lemon Juice, Sparkling Wine, Edible Dehydrated Flower for garnish.
Basque presents 'Violetta': 'Violetta', a classic gin-based cocktail using Basque’s homemade elderberry syrup and orange bitters, then finished with a seductive look appropriate for the spirit of Valentine’s Day. Recipe: Dry Gin, Homemade Elderberry Syrup, Orange Bitters, Rose and Edible Silver Pearl for garnish.
It’s no secret that the local cocktail scene has been on the uptick, with savvy patrons and sophisticated palates looking for more than spirits served on the rocks or neat.
Local bartenders are increasingly up to the challenge, crafting world-class concoctions in swank spaces that might be mistaken for Bangkok – or even Tokyo.
In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we asked a few of our favorite Jakarta-based mixologists to create some romantic cocktails, so we may best savor warm feelings during this month of romance. The Union Group’s Kiki Moka, Mother Monster’s Mochamad Warra, Kei Bar’s Indra Sartika and Basque’s Reiza Yudha Putra were up for the challenge.
Here’s a little more about the people behind the bar – and their love libations. (kes)