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Traditional beverage-inspired mixology classes: The new urbanite trend

Asmara Wreksono
Asmara Wreksono

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Thu, May 4, 2017  /  10:55 am
Traditional beverage-inspired mixology classes: The new urbanite trend

Utensils in Suwe Ora Jamu's jamu brewing class. (JP/Asmara Wreksono)

Indonesian traditional drinks such as jamu and coffee have always been popular among locals. However, jamu’s popularity is rising among Jakarta’s younger crowd, who are jumping on the healthy-living bandwagon. Here are two places in which you can actually learn how to brew or mix your own traditional beverages:

Suwe Ora Jamu

Suwe Ora Jamu, a jamu and coffee shop-slash-restaurant located on Jl. Petogogan, South Jakarta, has set a mission to popularize jamu  since its establishment in 2013. Nova Dewi co-founded Suwe Ora Jamu with her husband, Uwi Mathovani, with the aim to introduce jamu to the younger generation and preserve the traditional drink. 

Jamu brewing class, hosted by Nova Dewi.(JP/Asmara Wreksono)

“I see young Indonesians, mainly in Jakarta, hang out in coffee shops, drinking coffee or tea, and I start to wonder ‘why aren’t they drinking jamu?’ And then I started asking around whether there is a place where you can drink jamu instead of coffee. I found out that jamu was only sold at traditional warungs [road-side stalls] and that people don’t necessarily hang out while drinking jamu,” Nova said.

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She also discovered that jamu  has somewhat of a bad reputation among the younger generation.

“They say jamu is bitter and it can ruin your kidneys. Jamu had such a negative image, but I think it’s because some jamu makers add chemicals to the supposedly fresh ingredients,” Nova added. 

Suwe Ora Jamu's traditional bottled home brews.(JP/Asmara Wreksono)

Coming from a family who relies on natural remedies when struck by sickness, Nova has been accustomed to drinking jamu since she was little.

“My grandma used to make jamu for our family. We didn't do it commercially, but if neighbors or friends asked for our jamu, we’d gladly give to them,” she reminisced.

Apart from its café, Suwe Ora Jamu welcomes those who want to learn jamu basics by appointment. There are nine course modules offered, encompassing jamu basics using specific ingredients (turmeric and ginger), wedangan brewing, herbal healing, detox and slimming, jamu mocktails, and health and beauty, in which participants are not only taught how to create healthy drinks but also boreh, or body scrubs.

The jamu-making courses are held twice every month with a maximum of 10 participants in one session, which normally starts at 10 a.m. and ends at 1p.m. at Suwe Ora Jamu Petogogan. Expatriates are welcome, as the classes are also held in English. For more information and registration, you can reach Popie at +62811 160 253.

Majapahit Lounge at The Dharmawangsa Jakarta

Known for its famous James Bond martini collection, as well as Indonesian-inspired range martinis, Majapahit Lounge at The Dharmawangsa Jakarta is currently infusing more local wisdom into its sophisticated martini mix. The newly-added cocktail is entitled “Espresso ‘Gayo’ Martini,” inspired by Indonesia’s favorite drink Kopi Tubruk, which serves as the foundation for the selection of Aceh Gayo coffee beans that work as the base of this classic yet exotic beverage. 

Espresso Gayo Martini, the newly-added beverage to The Dharmawangsa Jakarta's martini series.(The Dharmawangsa/File)

Arnold Rozacques, the hotel’s mixologist said, “I was inspired to create such a unique beverage that is in-line with my personal philosophy of utilizing as many local ingredients as possible to put forward the refined flavors of Indonesian produce. This martini is also a perfect fit for the identity of The Dharmawangsa Jakarta as an Indonesian luxury hotel.”

Aside from its celebrated martinis, The Dharmawangsa Jakarta is also known for its mocktails, which incorporate traditional ingredients into the mix. Its tantalizing “Roejak Mercon" beverage, which is served with a dash of Tabasco and red cayenne peppers as a garnish, is a must-try for those with adventurous taste buds, while the warm and comforting "Kunyit Secawan" drink, which features turmeric, boasts health benefits. 

The Roejak Mercon mocktail at The Dharmawangsa Jakarta.(JP/Asmara Wreksono)

Read also: Coffee guerrillas fighting for the perfect cup

Utensils for a mixology class at The Dharmawangsa Jakarta.(JP/Asmara Wreksono)

The Dharmawangsa Jakarta welcomes those who are interested in taking a group mixology class. The course typically features two or three beverages and is taught by the hotel’s resident mixologist. For a maximum of 10 participants, the course normally takes place in the Majapahit Lounge; for more participants, it can be held in other available spaces at the hotel.

For more information, you can reach The Dharmawangsa Jakarta at +62 021 725 8181.