Falil Jayah & 2016 – One of Heering´s 200 year

Words by: Fabio Bacchi

Imagine being bathed in the glittering lights of the Dubai skyline whilst sipping a drink at 200 meters above sea level, comfortably sitting in the luxurious bar of one of the world’s most luxurious hotels, one of those hotels which can turn almost any dream into a reality. Welcome to the SkyView bar of the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai, the kingdom of Falil Mohamed Jayah, from Sri Lanka.

Working in Dubai  

“I came to Dubai about 15 years ago. Becoming a part of the bartending movement that was growing in the UAE was a stimulating challenge. The customers were very demanding. They were used to high standards and we had to adapt. Things developed at a rapid pace and they couldn’t be put on hold. It was an important time for growth for me”.

Days to remember   

“One of my most memorable days behind the bar was the first competition I entered with Cherry Herring in 2014. Then the day of the first purchase of our World’s Most Expensive Cocktail comes second. The cocktail named “27.321” was sold on 16 April 2008, just two days after its launch on 14 April 2008. The price was 27.321 AED (£7777.77 GBP) and broke the existing record, held by the Merchant Hotel in Belfast, which was £750 GBP. The cocktail was sold twice to two buyers from the United States of America. The first sale happened very spontaneously. The guest entered our busy Skyview Bar at around 10.30 pm and looked through the menu, whilst having another drink at the bar counter. The eye-catching first page of our menu, which listed the “World’s Most Expensive Cocktail”, attracted the guest so much that he had a look at our 27.321. He ordered the drink. We immediately set ourselves up for preparing it and looked for guests with a standing in the community to be witnesses of the purchase. We also called a bar manager from a nearby hotel to witness its preparation with an expert eye. The witnesses were Sach, the bar manager from the 1897 Bar of the Kempinski, Hanan Merefie, and Glen Coomber, both working for renowed media and broadcasting agencies”.

How will you be celebrating the Cherry Heering bicentenary?

The year 2016 inspired our drink for the Cherry Heering bicentenary. In 2016, the Burj Al Arab Hotel introduced the ‘North Deck’, an outdoor luxury leisure concept which was a world-first masterpiece. It was fully constructed in Finland, and took six months to be shipped the 4,500 km half way around the world before reaching its final destination in Dubai. The idea behind my cocktail, “Master Piece”, is to combine two main ingredients, Cherry Heering and Godet Antarctica Icy Cognac. Cherry Heering is thought to be one of the oldest cherry liqueurs in the world with a 200-year history. Icy Cognac is a clear Cognac which is pure and clean. Together they make a world-first cocktail that is tranquil and unique.

The cocktail is mainly made for the winter festive season. Sweet spices such as cinnamon, star anise and nutmeg powder are mixed with Finnish chocolates and red berries (cherries & strawberries) together with milk, making the unique, inspired drink. Master Piece is an egg-nog style drink.

Bartending of the future according to Mohamed Falil Jayah

“Bartending is using culinary techniques and ingredients and combining them into cocktails more and more. The kitchen and bar were once separate kingdoms, eyeing each other warily. That’s no longer true. Bartenders today raid the larder for veggies, herbs and even meat (in the form of bacon-infused bourbon) for added depth and intrigue. Even ice will be an ingredient requiring attention.” Ice? “Cracked, cubed, crushed, hand-chipped, flaming, spherical—ice is now to a drink what a stove is to cooking. Better cubes determine the rate of dilution and should complement the particular drink you’re having”.

 

 

Bartending and environmental sustainability

“A wide range of fruit and vegetables is essential to giving our cocktails great flavours. Ensuring that we source them sustainably not only ensures that we can meet consumer demand, but also enables us to make a positive environmental and social impact, while making a difference to thousands of lives”.

A future goal for improving the bar industry

“Recruiting people with the right attitude and passion for the profession is the most forward-thinking thing that the hospitality industry can do. Greater investment must be made during the recruitment process, and a positive outcome will be guaranteed in the short term. It all goes back to the bar hiring process. If you bring someone on board with impressive experience but a terrible attitude, your drinks will look pretty but your bar will soon be empty. Team dynamics, personality, and work ethic are a lot more difficult for bar masters to teach than the best pouring methods.”

MASTER PIECE COCKTAIL

Ingredients

40ml Godet Antarctica Icy Cognac

15ml Cherry Heering

30ml white chocolate cream (homemade)*

30ml spiced strawberry syrup (homemade)**

2ml rhubarb bitters

2ml chocolate bitters

Style: Egg-nog

Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into clay pot filled with crushed ice

Glassware: Clay pot

Garnish: Mix of berries, rosemaryon top of a layer of Massa Ticino and dust with icing sugar on top

*Preparation of white chocolate cream

200ml fresh cream

100ml milk

30ml egg yolk (only)

100 ml white chocolate

Method:sous vide 60°C 20 minutes 

** Preparation of spiced strawberry syrup

500g acacia honey

500g Boiron strawberry puree

30g cinnamon (whole)

3gr cloves

15g nutmeg powder

5gr black peppercorns

10g star anise (whole)

10g sumac powder

30g chocolate nibs

Method:sous vide 60°C 30 minutes

 

 

Dinos Constantinides & 2013 – One of Heering´s 200 year

Words by: Fabio Bacchi

Determination and courage are decision-making skills that come to the fore when one is called to make difficult choices, ones that can change the direction of a career and sometimes, life.

Until 2013 Nicosia, in Cyprus, was certainly not one of those places where cocktail culture was often celebrated. Mixers and spirit long drinks were the standard in local drinking. 2013 was also the year of an economic crisis that left a significant mark in the history of the island. But it was also the year when a bartender decided that it was time to make a cultural change to local drinking. Dinos Constantinides saw an opportunity in a world that was changing and seized the moment. What was formerly a school would become an elegant cocktail bar with a laboratory for experimenting with new tastes and techniques. Dinos Constantinides’ Lost & Found Bar today offers classy international drinks that are refined and sophisticated. One more reason for a trip to Nicosia.

A brave decision

“2013 was the year Cyprus fell into a serious economic recession, and during that chaotic period we decided to go for it and open our bar. It was the worst economic crisis in recent history, causing the country’s second largest bank to shut down and the largest one to impose a capital levy on all deposits. As was expected, people became reluctant to spend causing businesses to close down one after another, which is why the opening of a bar seemed like going against the odds at the time.”

How did you plan be different?

The big dilemma was, do you dilute your beliefs with regard to how drinks/cocktails should be to appeal to the market or do you differentiate and attempt to penetrate the market? Taking a bit more risk, we choose the second one and with little to almost no funds, transformed our existing bar school into a bar which  was completely different to other establishments of the time, as it specialised in cocktails focusing on ingredients, techniques, garnishes, presentation, high-quality spirits, communication and other details”.–Inspired by the terroir? –“In times of recession people tend to support local businesses and Cyprus was no exception. In an effort to keep the country’s businesses running, people started buying less imported and more local goods, which is what inspired me to use beetroot – an ingredient that is locally produced and widely used in Cypriot cuisine”. 

Tradition and research for new expressions of flavour

“Trends vary across the world; something that may be considered innovative in one country might already be in use elsewhere. In addition, following trends probably means you will always be a step behind, whereas knowing your guests and offering something which they will like and love, is the best thing you can do. Our philosophy is about taking commonly used ingredients, mostly local, and incorporating them with new techniques. It’s amazing to play around with a single ingredient and see how many different “expressions” you can get out of it.  We have various techniques at our disposal that can help us reintroduce common flavours to our guests”. 

 Sharing is caring

“What I find very important for the future of our industry, is the ability to share information and tips for efficient production of homemade ingredients. It gives us the opportunity to share knowledge on various techniques that we use daily and that are still completely foreign to many others. And yes, we are already doing this through our ‘Lost + Found Exposed’ videos on our YouTube channel”. 

A funny story to remember

“Until recently Cherry Heering was not distributed in Cyprus. We always try to make sure almost nothing is left out of our drinks’ collection at the bar, so we kept a couple of Heering bottles on our shelves. When Adele Nilsson Robberstad, CEO of Heering & Xanté Company, visited Lost + Found last year, we decided to celebrate by toasting with Heering when she announced that there was finally a distributor taking over the brand. So I asked one of our barbacks to pour four glasses of the liqueur. Little did I know that he accidentally picked up a bottle from our vintage collection in our private room; a rare bottle from the 1970s which of course was not there for consumption. Since it was too late to repair the damage, we had a good laugh and enjoyed the fine taste of a 47-year-old Cherry Heering, really honouring Adele’s presence there!”

 The Cherry Heering Bicentenary Cocktail

“Plums are among the popular locally-grown fruits and I chose them because I find that they pair nicely and harmoniously with Heering. Champagne is the contradicting ingredient of the cocktail. I remember bartending at the private party of a wealthy family at the time and when I suggested that we serve a Champagne cocktail as a welcome drink, the hosts disagreed saying it would be offensive for such times. I have the distinctive memory of thinking that this was not the approach I would have followed, and that I had the strong belief that better times would return and so would Champagne – hence the name of the cocktail ‘Told you so’. That’s what it’s all about”. 

TOLD YOU SO

Ingredients

20ml Cherry Heering

10ml London Dry Gin

10ml Vermouth Mancino Secco

20ml fresh plum juice

10ml beetroot oleo-saccharum*

45ml Champagne

Pinch of salt

Pinch of black pepper

 Method: shake all ingredients except Champagne. Fine strain and add Champagne.

Glassware: coupette

Garnish: ice chunk

*Beetroot oleo-saccharum: slice 500g of steamed beetroot. Add it to a vacuum-pack bag with 500g of caster sugar, peels of 3 limes and seal. Cook sous vide for 2 hours at 60˚C. Strain through a superbag.

 

 

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