Jamie Rhind & 1953 – One of Heering´s 200 year

Words by: Maggie Beale

There are occasions in life that make a lasting impact. For Jamie Rhind it was the occasion of his 21st birthday. “To celebrate my father took me to Singapore, where we went to The Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel. It was the first time I saw firsthand the history of a classic.

While there his Dad told him the story behind the Singapore Sling – the venue’s signature cocktail.

“I realised that this Cocktail had been carried through generations and had helped boost the reputation of the hotel for many years. It prompted me to read more. I started reading more into the cocktail and the history, and one thing that stuck with me was that through many different opinions of bartenders on what gin to use and how to make the cocktail, Cherry Heering was the only thing they all agreed on!”

Little did Jamie know then that it would lead him into the fascinating world of bartending and become part of the team at London’s most celebrated bar, The Artesian at The Langham London. Significantly, The Artesian was the Number One in the World’s 50 Best Bars for four consecutive years while Jamie was being taught by Alex Kratena and Simone Caporale.

In 2016 Jamie changed jobs and today he is the Bar Operations Manager at the famed Bamboo Bar in the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok.

“I am very proud and excited to be part of the movement in the Bangkok bar scene right now. When I arrived here two years ago, the scene was starting to progress and it has taken great strides since then, with everyone pushing each other to achieve more. I am proud to help play a small part in this by striving to get the Bamboo Bar and Bangkok more global recognition by taking part in guest shifts around the globe and also hosting guests from other countries.”

Now, the Bamboo Bar has risen from No.34 in Asia’s Top 50 Bar awards to No. 9th and has been named as Thailand’s Best Bar.

There have been many changes along the way, including drinking trends, Jamie says, “Sustainability is the trend now, which is slowly but surely getting into people’s heads. Bars now opening are using it as the core of their concept, and in business terms, it can be very profitable. Especially when we talk about cutting food waste, making more of our own syrups and so on.”

As a consequence he has driven projects on sustainability in hotels and the use of local ingredients in cocktails that will be seen in his new menu ‘Local’ being released in 2018.

Keys for success? “It’s an easy one, work hard. You don’t achieve anything easily in life. Also a big key to success is appreciating the people who help you in your journey. Staff you work with, F&B directors and managers, owners, they all help contribute to any success you have. You cannot run a bar on your own!”

If you had one chance to make the industry better, what would you do?

“I would love to help set up an organisation to help industry people on subjects about mental and physical health. It’s still a taboo topic in the industry. Our industry is pushing the boundaries higher and higher each year – which is great – however this comes with more pressure to become better – working longer hours, travelling more – all to become better.

“This, added to the fact that we work with booze, leads a lot of us to drink more and not look after our bodies. I also think there isn’t enough information out there regarding mental health. I feel we need an organization to help us relate to mental health in our industry. To talk about the problems we have in our work place and how we can deal with them. This is hopefully something I can help be a part of in our industry in the future.

“When I was given the chance to mark this significant occasion in Heering’s history, I chose to feature the year 1953 as that was the year The Bamboo Bar was born. It was the first Jazz bar to open in Thailand, in a tiny room in the Hotel’s original Author’s Wing building, and very soon The Bamboo Bar had A-listers flocking in from Europe and America to experience the vibe. It was not unusual to see Jazz legends such as Neil Armstrong and Duke Ellington ‘jamming’ amongst delighted guests. During that time the room used to have a cloud of cigar smoke floating across the space, as guests – both gents and the occasional daring lady took time to enjoy a smoke along with their cocktails.

“The first thing that hit you when you walked into The Bamboo Bar then may have been the cigar smoke, but the place oozed class and sophistication decorated in rich leathers and wood varnish.”

Assets it still has!

Today, which specific flavours have inspired your cocktail? Especially typical flavours from your country that were popular during 1953 – the period you’ve selected?

“Alongside Cherry Heering, Lagavulin 16yo single malt is used as the base. This replicates the smokey scene that greeted guests as they walked into The Bamboo Bar. And it’s why I’ve named it – Smokey Mirrors.”

 

SMOKEY MIRRORS

45ml Lagavulin 16yo

20ml Cherry Heering

15ml Punt e Mes

10ml Homemade Ginger Syrup

 

Homemade Ginger Syrup

Boil 100gm fresh ginger with 100ml water for 5 minutes. Strain out the ginger and stir in 1kg of sugar along with freshly made ginger tea.

 

Glass: Rock

Method: Pour into a rock glass, stir and add an ice chunk/block/ball.

Garnish: Orange twist and a cherry.

 

Gan Shan Station on citizen-times.com

… I’ve visited Gan Shan a few times and sampled a few different dishes on each occasion. The menu rotates semi-frequently while still keeping a few core dishes. Much like Xiao Bao in Charleston, it’s not uncommon to see dishes from Vietnam, Thailand, China and other lands all gracing Gan Shan’s menu. All dishes make use of traditional and authentic elements, though the chef’s modern spin is evident in most.

The drink menu is nicely crafted, offering theme-appropriate cocktails including the Gan Shan Sling, made with lemongrass gin, Benedictine, cherry heering, Curacao, lemon, pineapple and Szechuan peppercorns….

Heering featured at the Star.com

Shauna Rempel Toronto Star

The film festival is almost over for another year. Late tonight, as part of Midnight Madness, the last TIFF movie will screen – the Muay Thai extravaganza Ong Bak 2: The Beginning, starring action superstar Tony Jaa.
Thailand is known for its Muay Thai, or Thai-style kickboxing, as well as for its cuisine and its incredible party scene, from the go-go bars of Patpong to the all-night Full Moon Parties of Ko Phangan.
But for those only familiar with buckets (yes, buckets) of red bull and vodka, rest assured that Thailand also has a celebrated cocktail culture. During my time teaching English on the banks of the Chaophaya river, I experienced my share of boozy beach parties, as well as nights spent drinking Singha beer (which is available here at the LCBO) and mornings spent suffering the dread “Changover” from too much potent Chang beer (which thankfully is not available here).
But the spirit of Thailand, at least according to the company’s own slogan, is Mekhong. Bought by the bottle at Thai nightclubs, the drink has a sugar cane base mixed with rice spirit and a secret blend of herbs and spices. Despite being described as a whisky, it tastes closer to a rum, and can be a bit of an acquired taste when quaffed straight up. Mixed in a cocktail, however, it’s quite tasty.
After some 60 years, the drink named after the mighty Mekhong River has finally flowed into the United States and recently became available in Vancouver. Until it comes to Ontario one can order it online at mekhongstore.com or use a substitute such as amber rum or Cachaça, a spirit from Brazil.
In honour of Ong Bak 2 we present the Muay Thai cocktail. The martial art is said to be the “art of the eight limbs” and so this drink, an adaptation of the Singapore Sling, contains eight ingredients. With more than 3 ounces of booze, it certainly packs a punch!
Ingredients
2 dash(es) Angostura Bitters
2 oz. Pineapple Juice
1 1/2 oz. Mekhong Thai Spirit
3/4 oz. Cherry Heering Liqueur
3/4 oz. Lime Juice
1/2 oz. Benedictine
1/2 oz. Cointreau
Instructions
Combine Mekhong and the rest of the ingredients in a Hurricane Glass. Add Ice and cover with a shaker tin. Shake briefly and vigorously. Top off with dashes of Bitters. Serve long with a straw and garnish with an Orange half wheel. Based on the Singapore Sling.

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