We settle in at Tai by Red Snapper and our server comes back to get our drink order. It’s difficult to choose because the signature cocktail menu is seriously mind melting in terms of mixology ingredients, elaborate presentation, and just cocktail sexiness. I decide a ‘Japanese Penicilin’ sounds about right after 24 hours of travel. Agent Getz chooses something called The Last Autumn and Queebs gets a Rainbow Niji.
The drinks hit the table and they do not disappoint in the slightest. The presentation alone is top marks. Jamie asks our server “How do you pronounce your name?”, ‘Zine” (like magazine). Zine goes around to each of our drinks describing them in detail. Let’s start with the Last Autumn.
The Last Autumn
Jim Beam infused with secret spice, honey, cinnamon, orange bitters.
Look at that baller face. Well deserved, the drink is offered up on a wooden platter with a glass full of the infused Jim Beam on one end, An overturned glass in the middle where they’ve got smoked cinnamon filling the glass with smoke, and then a small scoop with a large round ice ball in it. Zine lifts the overturned glass and hands it to Jamie who takes a whif. “Wow”. He passes it on to me and Queebs. It’s a blast of smokey cinnamon that smells amazing. Zine then takes the cinnamon smoked glass, slides the ice ball in and pours the infused Jim Beam over top of it. “This one is good. Men like it a lot. It’s very strong.” Drisdelle takes a sip, “That’s probably the best drink I’ve ever had.”
The Rainbow Niji
Midori, Malibu, Burnt Pineapple, Fresh Lime, Spice, Berry Popsicle
Queenie’s comes in a tall slender glass. It looks girlie and classy t the same time. Zine describes the ingredients and tells Queenie that if you push the berries down through the glass the liquid will change color, and then you eat the infused fruit at the end. Queenie uses the stir stick to push the berries down. Sure enough the drink starts to change color from yellow through the sunset spectrum. “Ohhh it is changing colors!” We each try it. It’s amazing. Fruity and refreshing but distinct from daiquiri or tourist cocktail fare.
Johnny Walker Black Label, Adbeg 10 years, wasabi Ume honey syrup, Ginger, Lemon
Just what the doctor ordered. A nice kick of scotch, hint of honey, and a citrus and slight spice but still refreshing. It was served with a honeycomb on a spoon that Zine said I could dip in to sweeten the drink as I desired. Outstanding drinks.
We pass each concoction around to sample. These may qualify as the best three cocktails we’ve ever had. Zine tells us that the manager is very knowledgeable about drinks and prides himself on creating balanced and intriguing cocktails. We tell her that they are absolutely incredible and to please let him know.
We toss in a food order with Zine and kick back with our drinks. Ahhhh this is nice. Sit outside and relax with great drinks. It’s been long day, well more than a day, up until now.
While we’re just hanging the bar manager comes by our table to see how we like the cocktails. He’s wearing a black ribbon on his shoulder. I’ve seen a few of these now, I’m assuming it’s to show respect for the king. He’s very interested in how we like the drinks and we make sure to show our appreciation. He checks in on each one. I love that’s he’s so interested, he clearly has a passion for it which shines through on the top tier signature cocktail list. He’s very polite and when Zine comes with some food he thanks us and walks off.
Queenie ordered a noodle dish that came out first. Mixed mushrooms, bacon, ham, and peppered. Butter lettuce on the side with a dressing glaze. Looks simple, tasted amazing.
Next came the 6 Kushi skewers Q and I ordered (Kushi means stick). All of these were delicious and perfect for sharing. They were a decent size, which the pictures may not show, and we were pleasantly not over-stuffed afterwards.
Here’s the Kushi spread:
Bacon wrapped asparagus
Bacon wrapped basil (these were killer)
Wagyu beef with herb butter
Lamb with mint glaze
Bacon wrapped fried cheese
Drisdelle got the Lamb rack. The potatoes alone were a home run. The succulent lamb and au jus were of course fantastic as well.
I’ll have to bring my friend Michelle Doucette on one of these trips. She writes a blog called East Coast Food Stories and does professional food and beverage photography, documenting a lot of events back home in Nova Scotia and invites to other provinces. While our travel methodology may terrify her it would be awesome to have some pics of these drinks and dishes that would actually do them some justice.
Well that was magnificent. Time for more signature cocktails. Zine is back to help us out. We pick three more stellar looking drinks and a dessert dish. We ask her if she’s from the island and she says, “Oh yes, you see my color? Very dark. Island girl.” Then she shows us some pictures on her phone of her fishing earlier in the day. Looks like mackerel and some white fish I don’t recognize. Zine tells us that her mom will make shisimi and her friend will come over with fresh squid to put on the side. Fish alergy aside, this sounds amazing. Zine is a sweetheart, she couldn’t have been a better server.
I don’t actually remember the names of the drinks Drisdelle and Queenie get. My on the fly documenting skills seem to deteriorate with each drink, but these were the three next best cocktails that we’ve ever had. Queenie’s came in an Orange.I like that each drink has sort of a progressive, change over time or mix to your tastes thing going on. This was seriously cocktails on another level.
Tiramisu and cookie paired with a sweet sugar rimmed dessert cocktail. Num num nummy
And then the coup de grace cocktail showed up with the bar manager in tow I think just to witness my facial expression when it hit the table. This drink turned the heads of everyone at the joint when it landed and I did have the capacity to make a note of the ingredients on this one as it was just so outlandishly creative it felt like a science experiment.
Jim Beam infused and spiced, Captain Morgan dark rum, Honey, Moroccco mint tea, Citrus and Herb. Kaa-blowie!
The Bunsen burner apparatus heats the liquid up raising it into the top level where the booze mixes with the citrus, ginger and herb. This took a few minutes and we all watched in wonder. Then the server deftly tossed a lid on the fire and we waited for the elixir to drop back down into the original beaker. After this cooled sufficiently it was poured into the sake bottle and I was given three sake glasses to serve it out into.
The manager came back with a bourbon glass and ice ball with an orange slice. “You can drink it cold too. I like it better hot but if you would like to try.” Of course. It is also fabulous, but I agree it is better warm. “I like to drink this if I’m feeling sick or on cold days.” Totally! This makes hot toddy’s look like a child’s drink.
We relax into the final round of Volcano sake. Wow, that was an amazing first choice for places to eat in Thailand. Obviously I would recommend this place through the roof.
While we’re sitting there my legs are getting itchy under the table though. “You guys getting bites?”, “No, don’t think so”. Hmmmmm “Yeah my legs and my shoulders too. They’re getting me through my shirt I guess”, “No I’m not feeling anything.”
That’s weird. (Yes this is foreshadowing)
We thank Zine and the bar manager profusely for their magnificent offerings and walk off towards the beach in search of… whatever