Head Mixologist of the Tavern Group, Semarang
Being crowned as Indonesia’s Bartender of the Year in the prestigious 2015 Diageo World Class semi-finals and bar show in Bangkok, Ayip Dzuhri’s eclectic talent in cocktail qcrafting is well renowned. Currently continuing his career at Tavern Group Semarang, the genius liquor wizard shared some of his impressive insight in this edition’s Exquisite Taste exclusive interview.
E: What do you enjoy most about bartending?
A: I love the arts, music, being social, engaging with people and being who I am. And working at a bar, like a real ba, offers all the parts I love the most without any limitations. I love living in the moment while concocting a glass of art and at the end of the day people are entertained and happy. Yes, I love making people happy.
E: What’s your philosophy as a bartender?
A: Hospitality at its finest. Engage with your guests, hosting them and helping them decide what they need make a night full of good memories. Everyone has their own preference, and as a bartender, I like helping them to make it come true. Mi Casa et Su Casa, welcome, and enjoy the moment.
E: Where do you get your inspiration for your cocktails?
A: Everything can be an inspirations for my cocktails. For example, a few months ago Peggy Gou (a world-renowned celebrity DJ) always brought up the topic of fresh ginger to keep warm throughout the winter, then I came up with an idea for a ginger cocktail, a rip off from the classic Penicillin cocktail with some pomegranate and rhubarb. I call it Peggy Gou and Her Majestic Ginger. Warm gingery spice, some kicks from the scotch and a lingering fruity finish.
E: What qualities do you think a successful bartender should have?
A: Good character and passion. Talent is a gift but character is a choice. The character of the bartender will definitely show by the way he works, creates, and when he or she has a strong character, it will stand out among the crowd. Passion leads to the highest achievement because when passion is there, they are all set for the blood and sweat coming with their career journey, no excuses, just hustle and bustle.
E: What is the craziest thing you’ve seen happen in a bar during the course of your career?
A: Once I had a guest order 10 Cosmopolitans in a row because he had just broken up with his fiancé on their pre-wedding honeymoon. Cosmopolitan was her favourite drink. It ended up with him giving me the planned wedding ring, which I refused because I believe it will bring me bad luck. Sad but true.
E: What is the worst drink that a customer has ever asked you to make?
A: Jeruk hangat (A warm orange drink made by combining fresh orange juice, hot water and sugar syrup). I know it’s pretty easy to make, but I don’t have hot water at the bar. Sorry…
E: What aspect of your job do you find the most rewarding? Conversely, what’s the least glamorous part?
A: Most rewarding: making new friends and connections, that’s what I am pretty thankful for. Without them I guess I would never be this successful. I can fly here and there without being a stranger, the bar is such a huge community. The least glamorous part: too much of a hangover I guess!
E: What are three of your favourite classic cocktails?
A: All-time favourite: Old Fashioned bourbon. Good to catch up with friends for a nightcap. The ice-breaker: Whisky Highball or Batanga. Any occasions, anywhere, good convo starter. Hitting a good bartender: The Last Word. Pretty rare ingredients, once you find a good watering hole, order this as a compliment to your bartender.
The Tavern Group, Semarang
Jl. Ahmad Yani No.140, Karangkidul, Kec. Semarang Tengah, Kota Semarang, Jawa Tengah 50241
T: (+62) 248440818