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What is your first thought of cocktail? We seems have a stereotype that cocktails are always accompanied by creative ideas. However, I realized, after talking with Angus Winchester, the global Ambassador of Tanqueray, that most of today’s “creative” cocktails were simply crap considered by some well-experienced bartenders!

 

With thirty year experience, Angus described the work of a bartender as what a qualified musician does - interpretation of music. He was actually suggesting that there were some bartenders nowadays who do not have concrete skills but devoted to entertain audience by advocating “creativity”. The resultant cocktails are often apparently pleasing but not edible in fact.

 

I absolutely agree that cocktails are for drinking. Angus’s dry Martini is really fantastic Furthermore, he is able to explain the reason behind each process and choice he made and perform in his own style by making variation based on the classic.

 

However, I am so lucky that I often met young bartenders with real talent. Kit Cheung, for instance, has pursued meticulously in the possibility of using herbal ingredients in cocktails after his years of training abroad. His creation “Orange Peel Porridige” is not only creative and delicious, but comprises certain medicinal effect as well; another example is Michito Kaneko from Japan, whose “Vin Zacapa” made from Ron Zacapa 23, cranberries, raspberries, vinegar and Angostura bitter, resembles the complex nose and palate of red wine, is really stunning and memorable.

The cocktail industry is evolving. Remember to judge by truth, not hypothesis.

你對雞尾酒的印象是甚麼?不知從何時植根於腦的概念,雞尾酒總伴隨著 一些新奇古怪的念頭,沒有創意的還能叫雞尾酒嗎?不過,最近筆者在訪 問中,有幸聽到 Tanqueray 大使 Angus Winchester 語出驚人,說當今大 部分以「創意」作招徠的雞尾酒,根本難以入口!

 

有三十年調酒經驗的大使,用玩音樂來比喻調酒,指音樂家的首要工作是 完美地演繹音樂,言下之意是批評時下有一批調酒師,基本功沒練好,整 天想著以創意賺掌聲,調出來的「藝術品」卻好睇唔好飲。究竟他說的有 無道理?

 

我絕對贊同雞尾酒是調出來給人飲的,我也試過 Angus 調的 Dry Martini,味道的確無得彈,當中每道工序、每個選擇,他總講得出原因, 而且在沖調過程也加入了變奏,以展現個人風格。

然而筆者幸運,遇到的新一代調酒師中也有華實兼備的。就以專欄作者 Kit 為例,在英國的酒吧浸淫多年後,自闢蹊徑鑽研草藥,一絲不苟地逐 一嘗試如何讓每款草藥的味道和功效,完美融入雞尾酒當中,譬如前幾期 他介紹過的「陳皮粥」,不僅兼具味道和創意,更有一定藥用功效;又例 如早前訪問來自日本的調酒師金子道人,以 Ron Zacapa、蔓越莓、覆盆 子、醋和 Angostura 苦精調製出模仿葡萄酒味道的那杯「Vin Zacapa」, 同樣是味道先行而不是虛有外表,那種只存在於葡萄酒的複雜感至今難忘。

 

雞尾酒酒是生活也是藝術,它是流動的。我們應用事實來判斷,而非預設。