The Hangovertini, a silky smooth signature cocktail at Distil, isn’t named after any unwanted effects of having a few too many. No, the name comes from a movie you may have heard of, one that just so happens to feature The Dome at lebua in certain key scenes: “The Hangover Part II.”
“The movie is a part of our history,” explains Rawiwan Boonmaprasit, Assistant Food & Beverage Manager at Distil, lebua’s landmark bar on the 64th floor in The Dome. “So we wanted to make a drink that would share that [our history] with our customers. We don’t just mix drinks—we share an experience.”
Rawiwan, seated at the bar, eyes three small carafes filled with different liquids. One is as golden in colour as The Dome itself. The other two are dark green and a lush chartreuse-green, respectively. She moves behind the counter and picks up a bottle of Chivas Regal 18 Years.
“Green tea syrup, rosemary-infused honey, and fresh-squeezed green apple juice,” she says. “And, of course, Chivas Regal 18 Years. These are the key ingredients in the Hangovertini.”
Rawiwan takes a pause in her story to watch one of Distil’s head bartenders work her magic. Into a tumbler with cubed ice goes the whisky with the three ingredients in the carafes. To that the bartender adds a shot of Martini Rosso, an herbal liqueur which complements the sweetness of the apple and the fruity undertones of Chivas Regal 18 Years, a blended scotch spirit created by Master Blender Colin Scott, who can identify 85 flavour notes, including dark chocolate and orange.
The mixture is shaken for 10 or 12 seconds, developing an all-important velvety texture and chilled temperature. Then the bartender gives the tumbler a pop with her palm and pours the liquid through a strainer into a martini glass. Finally, she smacks a sprig of rosemary on the bartop to release its aroma and garnishes the Hangovertini with it. Simple, yet sublime.
Whilst simplicity isn’t always the force driving mixology at Distil—there are over four pages of premium cocktails on the menu, some of which involve smoking tea bags, mango and berries frozen in ice, and dehydrated lemon peel—sometimes less is more.
“With a very high-quality product, such as Chivas Regal 18 Years, the drink has to be perfect,” says Rawiwan. “It can’t be anything less.”
Just as important, she continues, is that every cocktail extends the on-going narrative of the bar and the staff. Take those four aforementioned pages of signature cocktails for example. They were developed over years by past and present members of lebua’s mixology family—first Alex Holzer, the brainchild behind the Hangovertini; then Ron Ramírez, who left his mark with The Bouquet; and, as of December, Joao Franco, whose modernist creations will undoubtedly draw faithful regulars. Under the watchful, welcoming eye of Rawiwan, each has added their own voice to the story.
But this isn’t an exclusive story. Distil involves the patrons in the process, offering a special mixology class—“Cocktails and Selfies”—in which bartenders teach the recipes and methods behind two of its most popular cocktails, the Hangovertini and the Dome Mojito. With community being such a fundamental pillar of culture at Distil, it’s no wonder Rawiwan has stayed at lebua for over 11 years.
“I studied economics when I was in university, but I wanted to work with people, so I decided to go into hotel and bar management as a career instead,” she says, peering over her shoulder as if to take note of the customers, as eager to drink in sunset from lebua’s imperial heights as they are the smooth-finishing cocktails steadily served to them, invited into the latest chapter of Distil’s story.
As the daylight fades, leaving red and orange ripples in the sky like streaming fireworks, the bar staff have already put the final touches on the mise-en-place—the lemons are sliced, the mint and fresh fruit spruced up, the garnishes prepped for a night full of creative flourishes—and are now hard at work shaking, pouring, and crafting Hangovertinis. Outside, guests look happy. Rawiwan smiles.
• Chivas Regal 18 Years Old Scotch Whisky
• 2.5 oz. fresh tinted green apple juice
• 1 oz. Martini Rosso
• .3 oz. rosemary-infused honey
Shake all the ingredients together with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.