There are no rules on the ingredient of choices for cocktails. Many bars have sourced their fresh ingredients from market, suppliers, supermarkets or even imported. I know some who have grown on their own on a small-scale at their houses.
Thus, when I first tasted spearmint on top of a glass I was drinking at Rarb and heard a bit of trivial story on how this mint came to be. I know Natakorn Changrew (Thumb) and his crew isn’t playing around. Then I went to his impromptu shift at Bunker using these fresh ingredients which were my first time to properly have cocktails made by him. (will go into that later)
Last month, I managed to arrange a visit his experimental farm space located within Nichada Thani. It’s no surprise to see how well they have done with space as the village itself has been environmentally active for decades. For examples, Green space covering the land with trees using natural fertilizer. Water from the lakes that have been treated, or the ways to warding of insects with natural pesticide extract from flowers from within Nichada Thani.
He and his team had been experiencing on this land for quite some time. Starting from adjusting the soil and helps from natural boosts such as leaves and coconut skin and Chitosan fertilizer made waste of Vapor restaurant (one of his restaurant project in Nichda Thani)
Within the current farm space, there are many things from herbs, vegetables to flowers and fruits Here goes, Indian mint, butterfly pea, several types of tomatoes, mulberry, cucumber, sweet leaf, Vallaris, spearmint, baby corn, sugar cane, basil, golden gardenia, decades-old palm trees (the heart of palm was superb) and countless more. It would be a lovely stroll for both chefs and bartenders.
Additionally, there are also other sections such as fertilizer shack, beekeeping, germination, to name a few and more that are still under observation and experimentation.
Here are cocktails with these ingredients to give some examples of my experience.
Spirits: Plantation 3 Stars
Ingredients: Lime Juice, Simple Syrup, Agave Syrup
Words: The first thought after smelling is the freshness of pomelo but without the bitter part. It’ body is very light but delivers a medium long sour finish along with a sweetness that forms.
Spirits: Rebel Yell
Ingredients: La Perruche Brown Sugar, Soda Singha, Angostura Bitters, Peychaud’s Bitters, Chocolate Bitters
Garnish: Orange Twist, Golden Gardenia
Glass: Old Fashioned
Words: The pungent aroma from golden gardenia sharply clears the nose and pave ways for a soft sweet smell of orange and sugar. It continues to blend and become a support to the flavor of bourbon that backs with toffee caramel finish well and made it easy to sip on.
Ramos Gin Fizz
Ingredients: Lemon Juice, Simple Syrup, Gifford Agave Syrup, Orange Blossom Bitters, Soda Singha, Egg-white
Garnish: Jasmine Flower
Words: Two parts of medium-heavy foam thus doesn’t feel the divide with liquid. only one Jasmine and it’s there from the beginning till the lightly fizzy part and floral ends thus didn’t kill the flavor of gin at all.
It’s only trial period of this farm to table/bar at Bunker but could soon be at other bars in Bangkok. This is showing some good terms on fresh ingredients. Where we have quite large Bangkok suburban farm pioneer by younger generations (in this case it’s industry’s people) working with local establishments. Proving there are ways to deliver alternatives to the industry and to customers.
Maybe we will be seeing bars offering arrays of flowers, options of herbs, spices, and citrus choices sourced or grew by themselves. Imagine you can pick and mix types of mint to go into your Mojito or citrus in your sours and bartenders can recommend matching with your favorite liquids.
In the meantime, you can try them as ingredients in food and drinks at Bunker Sathorn. I’m sure it’s going to be big when Thumb and team revealed their upcoming projects that will contribute to Bangkok’s scene.
Excited to see what to come next as Thumb continues to study and devote himself to farming, foraging, fishing, experimental cuisine and cocktails.