This month, LAIBA had the pleasure of partnering with the brilliant mixology team from the FLASK Group to showcase some truly unique new cocktails. We worked closely with three different bars: Flask, Botanist, and The Bunker, to create a signature drink for each location.
The head mixologist from each venue was given the opportunity to create a cocktail that would reflect the flair and personality of their bar. Once finished, their cocktails were crafted at our state-of-the-art mixing facility where the recipes were blended and bottled: made ready to serve.
You can now purchase these signature bottled cocktails at any of the FLASK Group’s locations and bring them home with you. Once served, it’s the same as having the mixologist prepare it for you on the spot, with the same quality and consistency in each serving.
Meet the minds behind these creations:
Flask is inspired by the 1920s style “speakeasy” with a modern twist. Hiding behind a coffee bar (Tiger Bites), Flask creates the “hide and seek” experience, while offering some of the best cocktail creations in Shanghai.
Hensel Shen沈柏轩 // Head mixologist at flask
Hensel started his career 8 years ago at a bar in Taiwan. Over the course of a year he worked his way up to being a bartender and since finding his calling, has been a professional mixologist across 6 different bars.
His creation for Flask is a twist on a “Bobby Burns”: a rich, whiskey forward cocktail that uses sweet vermouth and Bénédictine to create a sophisticated mix of flavours. The original cocktail is an ode to famous Scottish poet Robert Burns, embodying the flavors of the highlands with its peaty, woody notes. Hensel puts his own mark on the drink by infusing notes of sandalwood, toasted vanilla, peach and chocolate, served in house with a savoury biscotti to round off a truly dazzling libation.
Hensel sees the introduction of bottled cocktails as a chance to showcase his mixology to a wider audience, being able to share the experience no matter the location.
Ian 陳彥安 HEAD MIXOLOGIST // BOTANIST
Ian began his career in a Western restaurant but found his creativity stifled in the monotony of the job. Once he had his first taste of mixology at a bar, he fell in love, beginning to volunteer at that very same venue as a bar back. He spent three years learning the craft before becoming a full-time bartender: experimenting and creating drinks of his own. Residing now as head mixologist of Botanist with seven years’ experience under his belt he has found his true calling.
His recipe is an Asian-inspired take on a combination of two classics: a Gin Fizz and a Twentieth Century. His cocktail uses a baijiu base, with additions of lychee, grapefruit, white cacao and elderflower to offer a floral and fruity nose to this delicate drink. His choice to use baijiu stems from a variety of reasons. Primarily it is the availability of it in China that has opened his eyes to the variety in flavour that it can offer. Ian also wants to re-introduce this, somewhat neglected, spirit back into the view of the younger generation who haven’t experienced it as much.
This signature drink blends perfectly with Botanist – a bar famous for its melange of themes, combining aesthetics from experimental laboratories with its namesake botanicals.
Ian welcomes the introduction of bottled cocktails to Botanist as a way to spread a selection of super premium mixology from the bar through to the home.
Crawford苏仲斌 HEAD MIXOLOGIST // THE BUNKER
Crawford started his foray into mixology at a café in Guangdong. At the time, they served only simple, popular cocktails but it led to a discovery of his passion for the art of mixology. Crawford began self-teaching through online courses and experimenting at work with new cocktail creations. This led in 2016 to a move to Shanghai, where he joined the bar staff at Speak Low, before eventually moving to The Bunker as head mixologist – some 10 years after his start. His recipes are inspired by his love of eclectic forms of art, finding his muse in music, food, fashion and street art.
His signature cocktail revamps the classic cocktail “Penicillin”, using kaffir lime leaf infused Peddler’s gin as a base. His recipe takes influence from Thai cuisine – incorporating flavours of ginger and spices to compliment the classic sweet and sour flavours that Thailand is famous for, giving a refreshing yet spicy finish to the drink.
The introduction of bottled cocktails has added a new level to the bar experience for Crawford. He notes that customers will notice the cocktails and become curious to a different and new technique of mixology than they are used to, creating a richer experience for his guests.
You can try these cocktails for yourself by visiting all three bars! Try these signature drinks in-house then buy them to take home too.