WHO NEEDS A COCKTAIL GLASS WHEN YOU HAVE FRUIT?
The recording of recipes and stories about cocktails can be traced back to the 19th century when an American bartender from New York started documenting classic cognac-based cocktails. Jerry Thomas (1830-1885), nicknamed the Professor, is credited with turning cocktail making into an art form and many consider him the founding father of modern bar tending. Fast forward to today’s world where cocktail mania is all the rage and no more so than in Vietnam. The industry here has spawned some of the most creative mixologists in SE Asia, who have invented clever cocktails with great stories.
When Dien Van Dung graduated from Hanoi Tourism College he didn’t consider the direction of his career, but, after 10 years as a waiter, his attention was drawn to bar tending and mixology. Dung worked previously with one of Vietnam’s best mixologists while at Lotte and now, as the Twilight Sky Bar’s new head barman, he relishes the freedom to create inspirational new beverages. Through ‘Gravity’, his new cocktail exclusive to Twilight, he demonstrates how a cocktail has a story which also reflects personal aspirations.
Inspiration for this cocktail goes back 6 years to 2013 when Dung watched the movie Gravity starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. What, you may ask, is the connection between a movie featuring two American astronauts stranded in space and a gin and orange based cocktail? Dung loved the feeling of weightlessness and the enormity of space portrayed by the movie, whilst closer to home his long-held dreams of becoming a pilot were dashed after being told he would never meet the minimum height requirement. Over the next few years his love of flying and thoughts of space swirled around his head as he mulled over ideas for a cocktail that would illustrate, as best he could, the movie Gravity.
The two base ingredients are fresh orange and Tanqueray gin – a smooth premium London dry gin. Its recipe is a closely guarded trade secret but Tanqueray gin, in its classically designed green bottle, is known to contain four botanicals: juniper, coriander, angelica root and liquorice. This particular gin complements his chosen ingredients including fresh basil. The pulp of a large orange is scooped out of its shell and blended with Dung’s homemade syrup of cinnamon, star anise and sugar. Mixed with Tanqueray gin, a little orange jam and fresh basil leaves the liquid is poured into the orange shell – and now the cocktail theatrics begin. The orange starts spinning, like the earth rotating, surrounded by a blanket of dry ice swirling around its surface like clouds.
When ready to drink, this warming orange and gin cocktail is transferred atop a large conch shell from where the dry ice ‘clouds’ flow. It is an artistically beautiful presentation combining many elements. Dung naturally called his creation Gravity after his favorite film. It is also personally close to his heart as he explains: “Gravity shows how I can live my dream through this cocktail”.
Available exclusively at the Twilight Sky Bar
Created by Dien Van Dung Awards: Vietnam Young Bar Tender of the Year (2012) and runner up Vietnam Bartender Competition (2015)