Jamie Rhind is the Bar Manager of The Bamboo Bar in Bangkok. He makes us two cocktails, one with Fino Sherry with White Vermouth and the second with Tequila Fat Washed with Coconut Oil.
Jamie introduce yourself
I’m Jamie Rhind and I’m the Bar and Operations Manager for the Bamboo Bar and Beverage Manager for the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok. I started in the industry ten years ago in England, then after few years I move to London and spent four years in the Artesian with Alex and Simone, which was a crazy period. I moved to Bangkok four years ago to make a difference and have a fresh new start, as I was 24 years old. I thought I knew Asia because I went to Hong Kong and Singapore before, but Bangkok was so different. I had to work to adapt to the culture, but now it’s all been worth it. My first surprise was that hotel bars were not part of the community and other bars never recommend you to their guests. It took a little bit of time to show them that we do the same job. We now have a lot of success here, which proves that we are moving in the right direction. It’s the same team and bar, they just needed fresh ideas and marketing. Now people come for the drinks, more than the live band. Travel has been a boost for everyone in the team and helped to get them out of their bubbles and discover new techniques. Secondly, it put us on the cocktail map, even if in the beginning we paid for the trips from our pockets. You can be the best bar in the world, but if no one knows you, it’s useless. When you do guest shifts, people see you on social media and think your bar should be worth visiting. Two years ago, using local ingredients became cool and it helped us a lot too, because of the great ingredients we have here. The team all know their flavours from Thai cuisine because it’s part of their culture and it’s easier to adapt to cocktails, instead of importing products and flavours from overseas. Now that Bangkok has become a kind of cocktail destination, it should help too.
The classic you want to show us
Smoked Bamboo Cocktail
45ml of Fino Sherry
45ml of White Vermouth
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
2 Dashes Orange Bitters
Glass rinsed with Islay Whisky
The bar you dream of
My dream bar would be a small bar along the beach in Asia. Inspired by the bamboo bar, it would be a wooden shack serving tiki drinks for tourists, night and day, with live reggae music. I’d like to have the quality of hotel service in a small, sustainable venue.
What do you do in your time off
I go to check out other bars. When I arrived I knew no one, so most of my friends are from the industry. Otherwise, I travel to Thailand or South East Asia with my girlfriend.
The spirit you like the most
Tequila, because I like to change people’s perception of this spirit. People don’t know how to use it, because there are not a lot of classics made with it. But it’s a great component for a combination of flavours, and that’s the definition of a cocktail.
What makes a good cocktail
A good cocktail is about the overall experience. Back in the days of when I was at Artesian, customers were happy because of the full experience and a good cocktail enhances the overall experience you have in a bar.
What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
I focus a lot on the sugar content. I want a cocktail with a body and it comes from sugar most of the time. Here everything has lime in it, so it needs to be balanced.
The signature cocktail you want to show us
45ml of Tequila Fat Washed with Coconut Oil
20ml of Lemongrass Syrup
15ml of Thaï Lime Juice
2 Kafir Lime Leaf
2 Dashes of Coriander Bitters
Top with Ginger Beer
Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
In London, my favourite bar is the Connaught and you can chat with Ago, an amazing man. In Bangkok, go to Smalls, a dive bar where the industry meets and ask for David.