Cocktails for Pot Heads. Photos: Lucky 8.
When it comes to creating the consummate cocktail, Bali’s uber beach venue Potato Head Beach Club Bali is more than a little avant-garde. Indeed the magical mixology team there are arguably at the very vanguard of bringing flavour back to Bali . . . and their star is glittering.
Master Mixologist Dre Masso seriously excels himself when creating new and seriously fantastic cocktails. This year alone he has produced nearly 20 sensational new concoctions that will thrill many, frighten some and have thousands begging for more.
Integrating local flavours into top shelf spirits has claimed his impressive imagination with swanky gins infused with lemon grass until the juniper flavour fuses with its tropical sister and morphs into something fresh and new.
The bar kitchen produces some extraordinary ingredients that make these mind bogglingly good cocktails possible.
Light and dark Caribbean rums are spiced by hand, rosella syrup is crafted from dried hibiscus flower, pink ginger beer is created, pomelo sherbet is lovingly spawned while vodka and local arak is infused with a range of delicious fruits and spices. Even the sugar cane is squeezed in a bespoke machine below stairs.
Some of the stars of the 2015 line-up include the feather light sweetness of the Bali grown Rosella flower – or Hibiscus rosa-sinensis.
The amazing Rosella Margarita is a fresh and citrusy melange of vanilla tequila, orange curacao, rosella syrup and citrus served shaken and delivered in a stem-less red wine glass rimmed with a rosella sugar and salt mix. This is a refreshing baby and a beautiful pale pink.
Continuing with the pretty-in-pink theme the fabulously named Flowers for Zoe, which is named for both the Lenny Kravitz tune and a mixologist’s baby girl, is a masterpiece of local flavours that strangely brings to mind Oxbridge academic life. It would just be perfect for a summer lawn party at Henley – even if it is deeply ground in tropical earth with black rice infused Bali arak, Bali brem – or rice wine, black leaf tea and citrus topped with an exquisite rosella foam that is so thick and creamy it needs a spoon to eat it. It’s pink too, which lightens the dark nature of the ingredients.
As Potato Head’s cocktail book – this is no mere menu – states: “Indo Tiki Exotica”. Indo exotica indeed.
If one can believe it, the cocktails actually get even more dramatic with this year’s smokin’ Volkano Agung, that has a centre piece of dry ice bubbling and steaming away in the middle of a polished coconut cup surrounded by a gorgeous brew of light and dark Caribbean rums, pineapple infused arak, apricot brandy, pineapple, raw honey and citrus.
With a genius for the theatrical, which just may have been influenced by the Blood Moon’s of 2015, Master Dre offers a giant tonna shell as the cup for the Big Swirl, which must sing to the inner pirate. Roiling together citrus and mango with splashes of vanilla tequila and vanilla arak this cocktail is softened with orange curacao, mango, raw honey and spice syrup.
For non-pirate-type men there is the Barong Zombie, which is a funky tall Tiki stoneware cup brimming with dark and light rum, pineapple infused arak, orange curaçao, cherry liqueur plus the juices of pink pomelo, sugar cane and pineapple topped with a dash of absinthe, Angostura bitters and mellowed with passionfruit syrup. This is a dark and dangerous drink that is rich and satisfying.
Another cocktail for the boys is the romantically named Stormy Nyepi that is dark rum, vanilla arak, dark cacao, citrus and raw honey mixed with pink ginger beer and served with a sweet sliver of star fruit.
If partying while attempting to keep an element of health is your scene then the Loloh could be the perfect contrivance for eternal youth with its mix of wheat grass, raw honey, cane juice and green leaf tea with lemongrass infused gin and a sprinkle of Moringa.
Sunset is ideal for the arrival of a classic mojito with a Potato Head elegant spin on the original. Light and dark Caribbean rums, fresh mint, bar-made spice syrup, citrus and freshly made cane juice brings a whole new glow to the Bali sunset dream. It’s delivered with mojito foam crowned with a puzzle of carefully carved cane sticks that are sweet to chew.
When the time comes for some superb morsels to munch on, and this time always comes, don’t go past the sensational Potato Head cheese and cold cut platter. Every cheese is locally sourced and a tribute to the food making skills of dedicated artisans on the island. Rich and creamy flavours along with sharp tastes sit perfectly beside luscious meats that are salty and sweet. The quintessential nachos are ideal for a mid-evening grazing because they are so very good.
Potato Head Beach Club opened in 2010 with the Kookaburra as its signature cocktail. It has withstood the test of time and has taken the crown as the chic destinations’ ‘Super Signature’ drink that has a following of its own.
“People just love this cocktail,” says our host Ayumi Takada.
“We have a client who lives in Bali and every time she has family or friends visiting she brings them here to try our Kookaburra. She has been doing this for many years.”
Unlike our featured friend, this Kookaburra is lemongrass infused gin, vanilla sugar plus fresh mint and citrus with a lush vanilla and passionfruit foam on top. It is outstanding.
A special treat that is off-menu is the three-course 24-karat cocktail, which begins with passionfruit tinted sparkling white wine as an entrée and a tropical cocktail of passionfruit, mango and more in a martini glass as a main while a half passionfruit sprinkled with sugar is dessert.
“When guests see one of these leaving the bar other orders starting flying in. It is a visual delight,” says Ayumi.
More mango mayhem and passionfruit possession can be found in the muddled Mamagrinha, which has hallmarks these two fruits with light rum and vanilla infused arak.
Cool coconut is thick and creamy in the Nanas Colada, which has a spiced island rum with dark rum and pineapple infused arak tempered with coco cream, fresh pineapple, citrus and cut with Angostura bitters. The Coconut Martini is a wonder with lemongrass infused gin, Martini Bianco, lemongrass syrup and fresh coconut juice crowned with coconut flakes.
The time honoured evening caffeine cocktail is offered in the Kopi Colada as a blended cocktail of coffee bean infused arak with coco nutella, coffee and peanut milk from the bar kitchen while the Kopi Cacao Martini takes the same arak and adds Kahlua, coffee and Bali chocolate sauce that is made on site.
Bar Manager Iwan Kurniwan says that the team is making efforts to bring local flavours to guests in delicious drinks that make the Potato Head experience unique.
“Our Mixologist constantly explores new flavours and how they work together. He works like a scientist in a lab and the result are always popular,” says Iwan.
While it was not physically possibly to test-drive all of Potato Heads 2015 series of innovative new cocktails, there is always a promise to self to return. Possibly often.