Anything goes in the world of cocktails.
The art of mixology may come across as a craft reserved for those with exquisite taste buds and superior skills, but if it’s one thing bartender Johnny Rosle (who mixes drinks at bespoke cocktail bar Oriental Elixirs) has taught us, it’s that anyone can make a good drink, as long as you’re willing to play.
Playing as part of The Theatre Practice’s (TTP) 2020 M1 Patch! Festival, Play with…Flavours encourages participants to understand the art of play, and how applying it to various mediums can result in some truly unexpected results. Moderated by TTP’s Sim Xinyi, who, as an Oriental Elixir regular, brought Johnny on board the project, participants were taken on a flavour journey as Johnny introduced us to the endless possibilities of mixology, and how your imagination is the only limit when it comes to crafting a new tipple.
Prior to the workshop, participants were given a mysterious set of workshop materials, each sealed in opaque silver packages. Over the course of the workshop, Johnny ‘unboxed’ them with us, taking us on a cocktail crash course as we were taught about how flavours were infused into gins, while also getting a chance to make our own infusion with the materials provided. While it did feel a little rushed at times, Johnny always ensured that audience members could ask for help if they couldn’t keep up, with the communication channels always open.
Throughout the workshop, Johnny also shared his own backstory of how he got into experimenting with various flavours, with his enthusiasm for ‘dumpster diving’ and rescuing unwanted food. Despite these leftover ingredients looking unsightly, Johnny opens his mind up to the possibilities each one offers, and in so doing, allows for the creation of the unimaginable. To prove his point, we even got a chance to taste some sauteed capsicum gin, a triple c gin infused with three types of limes, as well as some lavender bitters. Johnny even showed off his very unique octopus gin, with an entire tentacle in the jar of alcohol!
With that in mind, we ended off the class by getting a chance to make our very own cocktail with our tea-infused gin (we mixed ours with cumin). But there was still one more twist to the workshop, with Johnny challenging us to find an item around the house to further infuse and flavour our concoction with. From smoked rosemary to a slice of processed cheese, the results ranged from the tantalising to the downright bizarre. But always, Johnny remained positive about each cocktail, never questioning the why, but rather, the why not.
Whether we’re looking to find that elusive signature cocktail, or simply want to get down and have fun with flavours, M1 Patch!’s Play With…Flavours was a reminder that it is only when we let loose and allow ourselves the freedom to play, that we learn again how to innovate and realise that anything is possible.
Play with…Flavours ran on 7th August 2020 on Zoom as part of the 2020 M1 Patch! A (Live) Theatre Festival of Play. For more information, visit their website here. Learn more about Johnny Rosle and Oriental Elixirs here
M1 Patch! A (Live) Theatre Festival of Play runs from 18th July to 30th August 2020. For more information and full list of programmes, visit their website here