Photography: Kim Choong
The first quarter of the year draws to a close, and brings with it the beginning of the Diageo World Class challenges for 2015. Ahead of the first round in April, the Assistant Manager of the Diageo Bar Academy Asia Pacific Aubrey Sim officially kicked things off with a briefing for the Fundamentals of Flavour Masterclass to this year’s hopefuls, offering them some useful pointers to assist them in their journey to represent Malaysia at the regional finals.
Following on from the previous day’s Wine and Spirits Education Trust Level One training seminar, Sim led the session from behind the bar at The Westin’s Qba. She explained that the main goal of the Fundamentals of Flavour challenge was to devise a cocktail that would tell a story and could transport the judges to a different time and place. Along with all the different spirits in the drink – which includes Johnnie Walker Gold Label as the base spirit – three main points need to be remembered:
● Dilution – the influence of melted ice on the quality of the drink. Sim illustrated this with two Martinis: one at 15% dilution, and the other at 30%. According to flavour research, the Martini at 30% dilution is considered to be the best. Being able to achieve this proper balance shows the skill of the bartender and their attention to detail.
● Sense of smell – using garnishes not only as a visual element, but also to enhance particular flavours within the spirits.
● Texture – the final presentation of the drink, pulled together by glassware and any extras.
In addition to this Sim also emphasised that the cocktails created for the competition need to be something the bartenders could envision people ordering on a regular basis. And perhaps most importantly, the drink must be fit for service at their respective bars and restaurants – it’s all good to impress the judges using fancy techniques and beautiful glassware, but if you can’t do the same for your own customers at home, then the whole exercise would have been pointless.
With that, the bartenders were sent off to experiment and flex their creative muscles. We can only expect the cocktails in our local bars and restaurants to become more exciting and adventurous in the days leading up to the World Class finals.
The first round, Fundamentals of Flavour, will take place on April 20 at Zeta Bar, KL Hilton.