Hanoi’s Finest Cocktail was the opening drink at Molecular Night 2.0 at the JW Marriott Hanoi. Information about the evening had been kept deliberately sparse in order to maximise the surprise factor. This cocktail fired the first salvo. Guests arriving for the evening were unaware what was in store or that the event was being held in a secret location, not in the French Grill restaurant as expected.
There, the bar staff apologised profusely and explained that the mixologist was stuck in traffic and had yet to arrive. Would they possibly like a beer while they waited?
Bottled to look like Vietnam’s famous Hanoi Beer from a distance – complete with faux label (set slightly askew for optimal authenticity) and gold foil seal. A closer inspection revealed it was, in fact, something else entirely…
Served in a traditional Vietnamese bia hoi glass over ice, it looks uncannily like the beer it purports to be. The addition of some smacked mint added extra aroma when raised to the lips.
Hanoi’s Finest Cocktail: Hennessy VSOP Cognac and Peppermint Tonic
Hennessy VSOP cognac was combined with a tonic made using pure quinine sulfate and culinary grade peppermint oil, adapted from a recipe by Dave Arnold. This had been dissolved in a little high proof alcohol so that it wouldn’t separate out. When complete, the entire batch was kegged and force carbonated. It was then bottled using a counter pressure bottler to maintain the high level of carbonation.
The peppermint oil makes for a refreshing, easy drinking cocktail that enhances the fruitiness of the cognac while the house made nature of the tonic meant sugar levels could be kept relatively low for a dry, crisp finish.
Hanoi’s Finest cocktail was paired with ‘Tofu’ Bonito and Soy by Chef de Cuisine of the French Grill – Raphael Szurek. Styled on a Japanese dish, it consisted of spheres of mozzarella which were liquid inside like mini burrata. They were garnished with a light soy sauce gel, bonito flakes and spring onions. Delicious!
Special thanks to Bao Khanh for the photos.