#BuroGetaway: Learning to be a mixologist for a day at Katamama, Bali
Confession – a drink or two to get into the holiday spirit was what I was after during our #BuroGetaway. So it was with pleasure that I made my way to the Akademi at Katamama, Bali for an exciting cocktail-making class. Akademi serves as a centre for the craft of mixology where it is dedicated to the study of local flavours and creating drinks that showcase the best of Indonesia. The team works closely with the island tribes and local artisans as well as permaculture experts to grow the best produce on the hotel grounds.
This allows Akademi to contemplate, dissect and transform a different indigenous ingredient every month in its quest to innovate while respecting the local flavours. Hence, the bar promotes a "root-to-flower" concept where the drinks are based around the best seasonal products. It also houses a vast range of locally produced arak made from coconut, rice and cane that is used to curate a selection of unique libations.
Upon entering the Akademi, my eyes were immediately drawn to the walls surrounding this space. The Akademi features an open concept with books on mixology and a collection of vinyl plus turntable stacked neatly on the marble shelves. You'll also find a selection of bespoke ceramic, wood and copper cocktail vessels made by local artisans and a library of homemade arak on one end of the bar.
I settle down to a short introduction by the bartender, who walked us through the instruments and tools that we'll be using that day. From the bar spoon to the measurer, strainer, citrus zester and cocktail muddler, everything was laid out on the counter for us to see. Next, he started on the two cocktails that we'd be trying our hands at—the Akademi Negroni and the Lemongrass Citratus, a special for that month.
I was personally excited about the latter, as lemongrass is one of my favourite ingredients. I love how innovative the Akademi is in infusing ingredients familiar to this region into its cocktail. The Lemongrass Citratus features kemangi or lemon basil leaves, homemade lemongrass syrup and arak mixed with orange vodka, citrus juice, homemade dried sambal matah and kitchen bitters. Topped with salted and smoked ginger, and lemongrass foam.
The perfect cocktail is a little about science and a lot about knowing your way to a balanced concoction. Standing behind the counter, I had a go at pouring the strong component, which is alcohol with the sour (citrus flavours) and sweet (syrup) elements together with a jigger or measuring cup. This required deft hands; mine were shaky (from excitement!). Next, out came the shaker – this was a workout itself as you'll need to vigorously shake to combine the ingredients and get the perfect blend.
Next, strained the concoction into the ceramic glass. I learned the art of mixology is as much about presentation as taste. With a twist of lemon peel and garnish, my Lemongrass Citratus was ready. I passed with flying colours – cheers to that!
Click here to know more about the Akademi at Katamama, Bali.
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