This month is a busy month for me; early in March I will be in Singapore where I am honoured to have been invited to be on the panel of judges for the Southeast Asia finals of the global cocktail competition: Bacardi Legacy. I am proud to have the opportunity to represent smaller markets in Asia, and I can’t wait to expose my team back in Yangon to the heartfelt, and intensely committed undertaking that is Bacardi Legacy.
After the competition I’ll be joined by Lal Mon Puia, the bar manager from Gekko, for a guest bartending shift at Nutmeg and Clove (one of the best bars in Singapore), where we will battle together against two Singaporean bartenders from Monkey Shoulder Whiskey. I’m so excited for Puia to have his first guest shift in Singapore, and he is bringing ingredients that he’ll use to showcase the unique flavours of Myanmar in his signature cocktails. He is keen for the challenge and I can’t wait to introduce him to the Singapore finalists of Bacardi Legacy in their respective bars. It’s so inspiring for him to learn about their experiences and realize the months of preparation that goes into winning a competition like this. I would really love to see our bartending community compete when the event comes to our market, the experience alone, will strengthen their skills and give them a voice on a global platform. We have so much talent behind the bars in Myanmar, their time to shine is on the horizon.
Later in the month we are proud to host guest bartender, Dara Sok, from Cambodia. Dara honed his craft at notable bars such as Raffles Hotel, Elbow Room, and La Familia in Cambodia. He is now the proud owner of his own bar, Hub cocktail bar in Phnom Penh. We are eager to support Dara— this will be his first international guest shift and we are looking forward to introducing him to the bartenders in the developing Yangon cocktail scene. It will be a great opportunity for our team to meet a young man who is living out his dreams. They too dream of owning their own bar, and representing their country. It’s important for them to see that their dreams are within reach.
If you find yourself free on March 16, please come to Union for his guest shift, show Dara a warm welcome to Yangon, and taste some of his classic cocktail inventions with a Khmer twist. On Thursday, March 29, from 7-9pm we have a new American whisky masterclass—five whiskies and small plates for 40,000++ kyats per person.
We’ve just launched a new cocktail menu at Union bar called “Get Trollied”—the concept behind this exciting new range of cocktails is to rescue and reuse food items that would normally be thrown away. For example the Husky Vegan is made with dried banana Whisky, pineapple husk reduction, aqafaba and lemon.
Jen Queen is the bar manager for restaurant and bar group 57-BELOW, and mixes the cocktails at Union Bar and Grill. She is an expert in her field and the only Master Mescalier in Yangon and quite possibly the only one in Southeast Asia.