Scotch is my poison, neat or with a splash of water, or on the rocks (no, not ice). Cocktails are difficult to get attached to, unless there is an interesting story or a whimsical tale on how the extra shot of rum fell in. Amazingly, Cihan Anadologlu showed me that the world of cocktails is a cuisine by itself.
An email popped up in the middle of work, inviting me to a mixology event by world-renowned mixologist, Cihan Anadologlu. It was to be held at the P&C by Sergi Arola at Shangri-La, Abu Dhabi. Not being a big fan of cocktails, it took me a lot of convincing-myself-research to go ahead and RSVP with a YES. Another reason that pushed me to attend the event was for its venue. I remember visiting P&C for brunch, a long while ago, and with the view and food offered by the restaurant, this one was on top of my “For Peace & Relaxation” list. Anywho, let’s get back to the cocktail story shall we?
Boasting a beautiful evening, P&C’s picture-perfect location on a pier on Shangri-La’s beach captured the night like it was just ‘meant to be’. The only thing I was missing was a jacket to keep me warm. The event was held at the bar above the restaurant, in a league of its own. With exceptional views of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the Sheikh Zayed Bridge, and the open waters in the foreground, nothing could spell a better place to bring your date to. The place exuded comfort and elegance at the same time, and with the blend of mood lighting, it seemed just right!
As the crowd started to settle in, after meeting familiar faces, Chef Cihan was ready with his setup on an exciting night of cocktail tasting – with flavors from his own experiences, new techniques and his selection of aspects from the land of Arabia. His visit prior to Shangri-La Abu Dhabi, started off with Shangri-La Dubai.
Cihan’s journey to becoming a professional (and now, world acclaimed) mixologist, started off at the age of 17, polishing glassware. As time went by, he kept climbing the ladder as his passion for bartending and cocktails only increased. In 2014, he won the “Best International High Volume Cocktail Bar”, as head bartender of the Schumann’s Bar in Munich. He now runs his own Cocktail Lounge – Circle by Cihan Anadologlu. Located in Munich, this exquisite bar features his best creations – many of which sound like entrées.
Have you seen or heard of a cocktail that features Gin, Vermouth, Barolo (that’s familiar), Pine needles, Shitake, Truffle (Wait, what? In a Cocktail? How?!)
Of course, we didn’t get this extremely exotic drink, but we did get a whole menu of interesting one combinations! Here is what the group of select foodies in Abu Dhabi and myself got to try out…
Dubai Mule – a combination of Vodka, Ginger Beer and Date Champagne. This drink was quite a refreshing start to the evening. The delicate use of champagne, yet bold with ginger (home brewed), garnished with dehydrated fruit, gave us hints of what to expect throughout the night.
Fly to Arabia – Everyone gets impressed when a dish (or a cocktail) is presented to you in a way that tingles your memory box and brings about nostalgia – If someone has created this experience for you, the job’s done with finesse. Traditional concepts from Arabia – Serviced in a Turkish Coffee Pot is a blend of Cognac, Wine, Turkish Coffee and Flambéed Chocolate with Orange Peel Garnish.
By now, the conversation (and cocktails) were flowing. Interesting concepts, interesting flavors, and blends that matched each other. Supposedly, a cocktail tasting event, we foodies have a bad habit of clicking pictures. So you know,
However, It didn’t stop there. A few more cocktails made it to our table.
Cigars & Drinks – Now this is one of the most intriguing drinks I have seen. With inspirations from Fly to Arabia, this scotch-glass served cocktail of Mezcal based (a distilled alcohol made from the maguey plant) was put on a class of its own. Served with a honey dipper to make the drink more interactive, cigar tobacco is burnt on a bed of ice to keep it smoking for long. This is how Cihan showed us that creating cocktails is an art of its own. Sort of reminds me of molecular gastronomy, sort of.
Sexy Colada – Now I know a regular the regular colada is pineapple based, however, this particular version was Banana based with Sea Salt. Now I don’t prefer salt in my drinks (except if it’s a Bloody Mary, `cause that’s just the way it is), but banana and sea salt actually pair very well! Similar to the previous drinks, this Rum-based cocktail was absolutely divine!
Of course, this interesting night couldn’t have been made possible without the support of Shangri-La’s P&C. It was one of those nights where you just wanted to sit back, take a sip, relax and enjoy the view. Here’s me saying Thanks! & Cheers! to Cihan!