13 Apr Cocktails for thoughts – ep 1
Roll up, roll up! Welcome humans and people, and your doggos, to the brand new Cocktails for Thoughts. Each month, two bars from different places across the world will swap a signature cocktail, and while they are at it, swap some thoughts on cocktails, FAIR, and the industry in general.
To kick it off we are joined by two wonderful people, Rogerio Igarashi Vaz of Bar TRENCH in Tokyo, Japan, and Pierre-Marie Bisson, from Milk and Honey, a members only club in London, United Kingdom. Bar TRENCH, opened in 2010, lives down a back-alley near Ebisu station, with the “trench” in the name literally calling people to come and be protected while they restore their energy (with alcohol. The only way to restore your energy, duh). They have the largest collection of bitters in Japan, which seems like such an outrageous claim that it must be true! At Milk and Honey, opened in 2002, they have a passion for the highest quality drinks and cocktails and do not use any juice or extract they have not made themselves. Yep, you read that right. They freshly squeeze oranges, lemons, and limes by hand every afternoon to ensure the best tasting drink. No cranberry vodkas at this place Britney.
With each installment we will ask a few questions so that you can get to know the people who love FAIR all over the world better. So grab your takeout Chinese and settle in to get to know some people via your screen.
What are five words to describe your bar?
Rogerio Igarashi Vaz (RIV): Let me count the words to see if it is five: Neighborhood bar with quality drinks!
Pierre-Marie Bisson (PMB): Cocktails. Classic. Speakeasy. Service. Knowledge.
What is the inspiration behind the cocktail you’ve each chosen for the cocktails for thoughts exchange this month?
RIV: The cocktail name is James in a barrel. The DNA of the cocktail is the vesper martini, and because James Bond is closely related to this cocktail, we decided to name it James in a barrel. It’s a play on the starting sequence of all the James Bond movies, where you can see Bond through the barrel of the gun.
PMB: We made a twist on a classic cocktail called the Royal Yacht Bermuda Club, a cocktail with rum liqueur, orange curacao liqueur, lime and Bajan rum. We used the FAIR Belize rum because it has similarities in taste, and makes a sharp yet fresh cocktail.
Both of these sound amazing! Pierre, you’ve already alluded to it, but what FAIR alcohol did you use in the cocktail and why? Same question for you too Rogerio.
PMB: Our cocktail uses FAIR rum and FAIR kumquat liqueur. To balance the cocktail out and create a different flavor profile, yet keep a freshness and a slight tanginess, we substituted the orange curacao liqueur in the original for FAIR kumquat.
RIV: We’ve used the FAIR barrel aged gin, again to tie into the play on words we are already doing with the name.
What does the word sustainability mean to you?
PMB: Sustainability is the property that allows an ecosystem to remain diverse and productive indefinitely. Its application means to manage our environmental impact and lower it by any means to reduce our waste of finite resources (food, water, energy, etc).
RIV: Sustainability to us is about being conscious about unnecessary waste. Especially in a bar where you have so many plastic things that get thrown out. But we try to be conscious and try to waste as little as possible. Even just being conscious about it makes a difference right? If everyone thinks about the amount of waste they produce, at the end of the month or at the end of the year, there are a huge amount of savings to be had. On the flip side, there are money savings to be had by being conscious as well: it can be a plus for nature, for the world, and for your business too.
Because we love people, our final question is about you. What made you want to work in this industry; what brought you here?
PMB: What brought me there was a primary need (money = food + rent) haha. But what made me stay was, firstly, the idea of service and how any small change in my behaviour could change the entire evening of someone, the adaptation needed to suit every single guest; and secondly the love of spirits, their similarities and differences, their history, all the things that make them unique.
RIV: I think it’s because of the people! Every day is a different day. It doesn’t matter how well trained you are or how well you’ve prepped the bar, sometimes you have a bad day, some days you have a better day. But it’s the people that you meet, not only the customers, but the team that you mean as well. I see people who stay in the industry for the relationships alone. You always learn something new by listening, it’s quite organic right? You can see the results of this job straight away: if you make a bad cocktail you see the results right away, but the same with a good one, you can see the smile straight away. It’s people.
So there you have it. Now you know a little more about two of our favorite cocktail makers, as well as the cocktails they are swapping for the month. You can find out more about each of the bars in the links above (yes we know you know that, just want to make sure), as well as get in touch with them if you need.