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Interview with Mark Thomas of B-Bar at Bacchanalia

by Kurt Ganapathy

inSing.com - 24 December 2013 12:44 PM | Updated 30 Dec 2013

Interview with Mark Thomas of B-Bar at Bacchanalia

Photo: Diageo Reserve World Class 

Describe your approach to making cocktails in one word and tell us why that defines your style.
Technique. It encompasses the methodical way in which you create a cocktail. Technique involves everything from the precise length of your shake for the right dilution and temperature of your drink to your thought process behind incorporating different ingredients and flavour profiles harmoniously.

Where do you find inspiration for creating new drinks?
Food journals, culinary magazines, everyday experiences and informal discussions with colleagues. As clichéd as this may sound, I get inspiration from life.

What made your creation stand out at this edition of Diageo Reserve World Class Singapore?
I really was inspired by Mediterranean cuisine from the ingredients used, to the style and atmosphere of dining in a typical Mediterranean household. I kept in mind that a touch of luxury should shine through in my cocktail, hence the use of truffles. I wanted to stay true to the ingredients used but also provide a modern and contemporary touch to my drink. I was keen to make sure that everything about the serve tied into the theme.

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Mark Thomas' Mezes, his award-winning luxury cocktail with truffles.

How does a competition like this help you career-wise and on a personal level?
It always pushes you to strive for perfection in your craft as it provides a platform to play with the big boys on an international stage. It keeps both yourself and them on their toes and helps showcase your talent and philosophy for cocktail making on a global scale.

What is your advice to anyone who wants to get serious about making good cocktails?
I would say quite honestly, the road is long. Whether you are reading, experiencing, testing, failing or watching, never stop trying and learning.

What is your favourite cocktail?
A Ron Zacapa rum Old Fashioned. It is all about complexity, balance and character. Every sip is a reflection of the bartender’s painstaking ability to control all five keys elements of a cocktail.

"As clichéd as this may sound, I get inspiration for creating new cocktails from... life."

What do you think of buzzwords like "mixology", "bespoke", "boutique" and "speakeasy" when it comes to describing cocktails and cocktail bars?
They set the tone and expectations for serious drinkers but they also straddle a fine line between culture and pretentiousness. Many great bars and barmen have started to steer clear of such labels because at the end of the day, it is all about creating a personal experience between you and your customer without the expectation created by a label.

The holiday season is coming up, what are your recommendations for people looking to make some festive cocktails?
Think festive and take inspiration from the aromas and tastes that are representative of this season. Refer to festive colours, iconic food and treats such as egg nog, punches, hot toddies, cinnamon, nutmeg, candy canes, peppermint and cherries. There are so many flavours and ingredients you can work with so don’t be afraid to go and experiment.

 

B-Bar at Bacchanalia | Address: The Masonic Club, 23A Coleman Street | Tel: 65091453 | Opening hours: Tue-Sat 6pm-1am, Sun 11am-3pm


A beer enthusiast first and a writer second, Kurt Ganapathy has tried more than 1,000 brews from 80 countries. Some of his most memorable exploits include tackling the one-time world's strongest beer – BrewDog's 41 per cent abv Sink The Bismarck! – and getting his name on the wall of an Irish pub in Melbourne for drinking 100 pints of Guinness (not in one sitting, of course).