31 October 2018 - I sat at The Bar at Seasalt to find Ayip Dzuhri. It didn’t take a genius to tell that he looked very comfortable being behind the bar. After receiving many calls about him, I was curious to interview him and that’s how this tale starts…
“Fix me a drink,” I started. “What is your favourite taste?” he asked. Two minutes after I told him what I like and dislike, he came up with a drink called Pink Beach. This drink, despite its beautiful, transparent, pink-coloured liquid, tasted very vibrant – not too sweet, with a hint of freshness, completed with the vibrant fragrance of star anise. “It reminds me of being on a beach at sunset,” I commented. “That’s how I define what you described and what I see,” he responded. It was that time of the day when the sky’s pink shades meet the light blue ocean at Seasalt, which looked similar to the drink in my hand.
He never thought he would be a mixologist. Ayip first wanted to be a chef and went to one of the best hospitality schools in Bandung, East Java. He studied food and beverage and the teacher saw his potential and suggested he should “move to F&B Service instead of Kitchen.” He followed this advice and found his calling. “I think like a chef. I put spices and ingredients together just like a chef putting them into food, but instead of cooking, I make drinks,” he explained.
It was almost three years ago when Ayip first came to Alila Seminyak, where he was crowned Indonesia’s Best Mixologist in the World Class Mixologist competition by Diageo being held at the resort. “This is such a beautiful resort,” he thought, never imagining he would end up becoming its Head Mixologist.
As the conversation continued, I challenged him one more time. “I know you are new at Alila Seminyak, but if I ask you to translate Alila Seminyak into a drink, what would it be?” He looked around and then fixed me another drink. He came up with a sophisticated yet simple cocktail with a transparent purplish liquid in a champagne glass. No garnish. At first, one would think it was just a glass of champagne as the little bubbles make it look like a light purple champagne.
This cocktail speaks subtly about sophistication and vivacity in a stylish way. There are hints of lavender and lemon that complete each other and it keeps revealing more hints the more you drink it. “Wow, I feel like I am drinking a perfume,” I said. Each sip takes you to a different note. It feels like when you are wearing that French perfume that has top notes, middle notes, and base notes. I was curious. “You got it right. What did you put in here?”
“It’s Chardonnay, Gin, lavender and… wait, I won’t tell you all. It will be Seasalt’s next Cocktail of The Month,” he smiled, and the conversation ended as he got back to work.
You can research about Ayip online, but it’s easy to tell that behind his geeky introvert looks, he is madly in love with fixing drinks for people. Find this anonymous cocktail and Ayip behind the bar at Seasalt this month.