lebua’s resident mixologist Ron Ramirez takes us through the creative process behind our innovative cocktail culture.
lebua’s resident master mixologist Ron Ramirez has shaken and stirred his way around the world, dedicating his career to the art of cocktail-making. He has just unveiled his series of Senses Signature Cocktails for our Sky Bar and pioneered an exclusive set of Ice Cocktails at Distil – drinks all designed to surprise and delight every sense. We caught up with Ron to get an exclusive glimpse into the inspiration behind your every sip.
We love the new Senses Signature Cocktail series. Tell us, how did you balance your focus on taste, touch and visuals to find the ideal combinations for each cocktail?
I chose ingredients inspired by the sense each cocktail represents. For example, the Sky Spring cocktail represents the sense of smell, so I started with an enticing fragrance – lavender in this case – and then I made the cocktail even more exciting by introducing a contrasting, unexpected flavour – mangosteen – when you drink.
Visuals are very important as first impressions last, so I’ve used the color of the main ingredients then again add a twist with a different flavor. I also have to make sure that touch and texture are involved. Take our new ice cocktails at Distil: replacing standard ice with spheres or cubes of different frozen flavors makes the drink more interesting by adding a new taste that you don’t expect.
Where do you look to find inspiration for new and innovative cocktail recipes?
A key inspiration is emotion: when I feel sad I create a sour drink, or if I’m feeling romantic I develop something sweet. I also look back to the past – to the delicacies of the countries I’ve lived in, or meals I’ve had on my travels – and convert them into cocktails. For example, the Corn Star is inspired by a dessert we have in my home country of the Philippines called "Mais con yello," which roughly translates as "corn in ice”. Now I’m in Thailand, I combine the delicacies of the Philippines with Thai ingredients like coconut cream, which is widely used in every aspect of cooking here.
What’s the process behind testing each cocktail before it makes the list?
Before I present my cocktail for final tasting, I usually randomly select a guest to taste it and give their opinion. It is very important to ask the opinions of people around the world with different palates.
What are your favorite flavors to experiment with?
I like experimenting with floral flavors, herbs and spices, or indigenous products that can only be found in specific places – and then I add a twist by combining them with a common flavor.
Which cocktail is your favorite?
Actually, I really like Sangria. Using wine in cocktails can make them tastier and more complex. Wine itself has so may flavors, and adding other ingredients like a fine cognac to make a Sangria makes the taste even more powerful.
Ron’s new Senses Signature Cocktails are available at Sky Bar now. Join us for the Sky Spring cocktail, Corn Star, or one of his other inspired creations:
To try Ron’s Ice Cocktail series, which uses the unique method of freezing surprising flavors directly into the ice of your drink, book an evening at Distil now: