A carefully curated cocktail menu is usually the first sign that you’ve entered a quality bar. Behind all those perfectly shaken Martinis, vibrant Margaritas, and sleek Cosmopolitans are the bartenders. The truly great ones are born, not made: individuals who are armed with an encyclopedic knowledge of cocktail recipes, a deep and intimate love affair with all things alcohol and a liberal dose of creative genius.
When you have an internationally acclaimed one like Sam Jeveons mixing up the hard hooch, you know that it will be a night for the books. The famed bartender is behind some of London’s and Hong Kong’s most prestigious hotels, members clubs and bars and has served some of Hollywood's elite like George Clooney, Katy Perry, Owen Wilson, and, Scarlett Johansen to name a few. Sam's philosophy: a proper cocktail is more than a sum of its parts. Keep the components simple, with minimal preparations and impeccable proportions: the perfect recipe for some seriously delicious designer drinks. Imbibe on some of his sophisticated spirits in the luxury integrated resort, City of Dreams Manila. Your sobriety doesn't stand a chance.
Meet the Crystal Daiquiri. The beautiful simplicity of the Cuban American classic is given a fresh shake with a perfectly balanced concoction of Sam's secret recipe of rare and tropical rums. Complex and mellow, this is a reimagined favorite done right.
A Scotch-based drink, the Blood and Sand was named after Rudolph Valentino's 1922 bullfighter movie. Sam has his own notions for the classic drink, however, jazzing it up with the gentle huskiness of Jameson Irish Whisky that blends with the subtle creaminess of Laphroaig Islay Mist. The fruity notes emanating from the Cherry Heering and the freshly squeezed Blood Orange is tempered by the crisp, herbaceous tones from the Mancion Ross Vermouth.
The dependably delicious nature of a Negroni lies in the superb balancing of flavours. Sam introduces a slew of new ingredients for the Player's Negroni, a smooth, sexy cousin to the classic. A boozy beverage that perfectly balances depth and tang, the subtle addition of coffee adds another layer of complexity to the drink.
In Dealer's Choice, Sam's addition of Aperol lends a rosy hue and bittersweet punch to the Havana Club Rum. Splashes of Blood Orange and Lime and a sprig of Mint providing some sassy tang. A dousing of Champagne makes an effervescent punctuation to this refreshing drink.
With hefty amounts of Vodka as its base, the Queen of Diamonds carries a good amount of body and enough tartness to maintain its vigor. Rich Chambord is enlivened with the zing of Raspberry and Lemon while a splash of champagne injects a celebratory note.
City of Dreams is located at Manila Aseana Blvd. Cor. Roxas Blvd., Barangay Tambo, Dist.1, Paranaque City.
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Photographs by the author and Jana Jimenez