DRINKING WITH KELLY D'CRUZ OF SECRET MERMAID
16 Dec 2016 By David Fuhrmann-Lim
The Secret Mermaid has more new craft spirits on its shelves, and hence a new cocktail menu to shout about. And who’s doing the shouting? Bartender Kelly D’Cruz.
The Secret Mermaid cocktail bar is known for its large selection of gin, whiskey, vodka, rum and liqueurs from the largest importer of American craft spirits in Asia, distribution company Liberty Spirits Asia. If you forgo the cocktails, you can spend a raddled evening sampling shots of Alaskan Smoked Salmon Flavoured Vodka (is brilliant in a Bloody Mary), Half Moon Gin, a flight of Lost single malts or Bakon Bacon Flavoured Vodka. We sat with bartender Kelly D’Cruz to find out more ’bout their program.
What’s the idea/concept behind the new cocktail menu? It seems pretty ‘spirit-forward’, is it to highlight the range of bespoke spirits you all have?
The idea behind the new menu is to showcase our spirits; each cocktail is made to complement a specific product. It is on the spirit-forward side because I want the customers to taste every ingredient I’ve chosen, and how it works with the spirits, and to appreciate the differences that these spirits bring.
What’s the best cocktail for celebration?
I love to use some of the more out of the ordinary spirits for celebrations as they take people by surprise. For example, Hot Monkey Chilli Vodka with some cranberry and lime is great for celebrations as it provides that unexpected heat that always gets people talking (and suffering together!). Plus it is very simple!
A Grapefruit Whisky Sour made with four grain whiskey and vanilla bitters, but without the egg whites to make it more lemony and fresh.
What’s the best cocktail for a broken heart?
Negroni. It’s bitter, it’s sweet and it gets you hammered.
What do you drink after your shift, which bar is your local?
To be honest, my favorite thing to drink after a shift is fresh coconut, haha. However if I’m at a bar, I love a good IPA or Stout. I usually go to Nectars and Vine, a craft beer place right next to my house! I love the selection and I also love the location and the fact that it’s very chill. Sort of feels like drinking in a friend’s living room.
What won’t you drink?
I love to try new things and I haven’t come across anything I wouldn’t try yet. If I ever do, I will let you know.
What’s your signature cocktail?
We do a lot of bespoke drinks at The Secret Mermaid so it’s a bit tough to pinpoint one signature drink. However, one of my current favorites is from our new menu. It’s an Oat Manhattan (above), made using Koval Oat Whisky, Rosemary, Sweet Vermouth, Cherry and Penniger Blutwurz with some homemade cherry bitters. It reminds me of a freshly baked fruit and nut bread with a hint of rosemary fragrance.
Most memorable drinking experience?
I think it would have to be one of the first cocktail bars I went to – Iron Fairies in Bangkok. I remember walking in and being immediately taken aback by the interior design. It was amazing! It sort of felt like I was in Harry Potter. I remember there was live music coming from the second floor but you couldn’t really see the band so it was sort of creepy in a nice way. It was probably the first bar I went to that had a really such a strong conceptual design, and I loved the ambience! Also they have the scariest bathroom ever.
Person you would most like to drink with?
Hmmmm, Vito Corleone. A man of reason. There are so many lessons one can learn from The Godfather.
The simple and classic Yuzu G&T with Few Barelled Gin and East Imperial Tonic.
What’s a cocktail/bar trend that needs to stop/that’s overrated?
I prefer cocktails that are simple. I don’t particularly like it when there are too many ingredients in a cocktail, or when it’s overly garnished. I prefer it when each ingredient can be tasted, and when each ingredient plays a part in making a drink tasty without overcomplicating it.
What do you drink at home?
Red wine! I think I’m slightly lazy when it comes to having a drink a home. I always have spices for cooking so I do occasionally go with mulled wine!
The nefarious ‘Red Wedding’ scene from The Game of Thrones…
Have you ever cried in a bar?
Yeah I have. Most recently was a few months ago when I was having a beer and was reading. I tend to get really immersed in books, and I cried because of ‘The Red Wedding’ (Game of Thrones), George (author R.R. Martin) really plays with my emotions…
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