J O S E P H B O R O S K I
How the bartender of the world was tempered
世界級調酒師是如何鍊成的 Joseph Boroski
It's never easy to maintain a quality bar.
What does it take, then, to eastablish a 1.7chain of hundreds of successful bars?
This is the illutrious name in the bartending world: Joseph Boroski.
"I don’t really care about a title. To say the truth I don't know how to define myself. Anyway I always work on a lot of different things." What he said wasn't an exaggeration at all. In addition to opening bars and bartender schools in Bangkok, he also advises many restaurants and bars on drink list design among other things. The New Yorker spends most of his time in Asia, and at the same time he is starting on a lot of fascinating projects all over the world. Glittering global brands such as Ritz-Carlton, Westin, InterContinental, Marriott, The Luxury Collection and Mandarin Oriental are among the lineup of his partners, while he nurtured many successful bartenders as Director for Cocktail Culture at W Hotels Worldwide. "How many bars I opened, 300? 400? I lost count. I'm only sure there're many, many," he joked.
It was no conicidence that Joseph, who demanded highly for himself, for long worked with the elite. Even at the age of 17, when he was still an unexperienced young wine salesman, his customer base has a number of celebrities, including actor Paul Newman. Later he became fond of spirits and soon he found a job a bar to learn how to make cocktails. When he was to establish a bartendering career, those elite chefs he had worked with inspired him of the possibilities and potentials of tastes. To name a few: Jean-Georges, Todd English and Patricia Yeo. That has given him a unique touch in building cocktails and him better understand people's tastes. "A good bartender works with the senses of people, always excite and surprise and please their senses. When I first started consulting, it was over a decade ago. Whenever I went into a new market, in order to know how are the guests differ from the other places, and what kind of experience that people have in this location, one of the first things that I do is to look at what people are buying, what people are eating. To dive into the everyday flavour and tasting of a new place, is something that always help."
For Joseph, Hong Kong is a city well suited for his flagship brand that bears his own name, J.Boroski Cocktail Space, as Hongkongers know their taste and are familiar with high end food and fashion. The unique thing about this bar is that there is no drinks list. Customers are only given the choice of base spirits, and each glass is tailor-made for the individual's very own palate. "If the guest prefer something more spirit forward, which would be your chosen spirit enhanced with other additional ingredients, if they prefer more fresh based, which would be made using our freshly prepared ingredients that backed up by a guest chosen spirit " Other than fruits, "fresh ingredients" in J.Boroski also includes the liqureurs infused with all kinds of herbs and spices, from chilli pepper to tea leave, from lemongrass to all kinds of fresh fruit. All syrups, tonic water to ice are made on the spot. The techniques and equipment employed in this bar, from vacuum, drying and slow cook, can be comparable to any Michelin restaurant kitchen! But for all these settings, there are cocktails that won't be made in this bar - please do not order long island iced tea, because there is no Coke. Joseph cannot stand to see these unique spirits precariously mixed together. For him, this is adulteration.
「我不太計較頭銜，事實上我也不知道如何介紹自己的身份，總之我在做很多不同的事情。」Joseph說很多並非誇張，除了有以自己名字開設的酒吧與調酒學校（曼谷），更為很多餐廳和酒吧提供顧問服務和設計酒單等，來自紐約的他花最多時間在亞洲，事實上他在世界各地都有各種企劃進行中。與他合作的大品牌多得令人咋舌，包括Ritz-Carlton、Westin、InterContinental、Marriott、The Luxury Collection及Mandarin Oriental，更是W酒店雞尾酒文化全球總監，曾為全球W酒店培訓了很多出色的調酒師。他自己笑言：「要數我在全世界開過的酒吧，有三百多家？四百多家？我真的不肯定，總之就很多很多。」
因緣際會之下，對自己要求甚高的Joseph一直與精英們工作。即使在17歲時，他還是個毫無經驗的年輕葡萄酒銷售員，他客戶群中已有一批名人，包括演員Paul Newman。到後來他喜歡上烈酒，就立即找一份酒吧的工作，去學習怎樣做雞尾酒。當他發展調酒事業時，啟發過他的精英，就包括一批充滿才華的大廚，如Jean-Georges、Todd English和Patricia Yeo等，讓他了解到味道組合的各種可能。這些都讓他在調酒上做到更獨特，也讓他更了解人們的口味。「一個好的調酒師，要了解人們的五感，要在官能上帶給他們興奮和驚喜。在十多年前開始，我為酒吧提供顧問服務。每當到一個新的市場，為了了解客人們的期望與其他市場有甚麼不同，其中一件我首先要做的事，就是到當地的街市去。去看看人們在買甚麼，吃甚麼，投入他們每天接觸的各種香氣和味道裡。這樣對了解一個新的城市有很大幫助。」
對Joseph來說，香港人見慣大場面，懂得品味，日常也在接觸最高端的美食和時裝，所以特別適合開設以自己名字掛帥的J.Boroski Cocktail Space。這家酒吧最與別不同的，是這裡沒有酒單，只有基酒的選擇，他們再度身訂造符合客人口味的雞尾酒。「如果客人較著重酒本身，我們會讓酒作為主角，再加上為酒畫龍點睛的材料。如客人較著重新鮮材料，我們會以自家新鮮製造的材料，再搭配適當的基酒。」所謂新鮮材料，除了鮮果，在J.Boroski裡，你到處都可以見到一瓶瓶新鮮浸泡的力嬌酒，由辣椒至茶葉，由香茅到各種鮮果都有。另外，各式糖漿以至湯力水，以至冰塊，他們都自製。真空、風乾、慢煮等，這家酒吧在炮製雞尾酒材料時，設備隨時比得上一家米芝蓮餐廳的廚房！在這樣的一家酒吧裡，還有甚麼雞尾酒不能提供？有，請不要點長島冰茶，因為這裡沒有可樂，Joseph也不能忍受將眾多能獨當一面的烈酒混雜在一起。