Meet One of Thailand's Top Mixologists
April 22, 2014
Joseph Boroski, the mastermind behind some of Bangkok’s hottest bars, talks to Diana Hubbell about nightlife and his new Bar School and tasting lab.
Published on Apr 22, 2014
In the past few years, Bangkok’s nightlife has seen a shift from standard whisky-soda watering holes to sleek bars pouring sophisticated cocktails. Joseph Boroski has been a driving force in the movement, as well as the man behind the menus of some of the city’s most successful speakeasies—Maggie Choo’s, Iron Fairies, Clouds, among many others. After eight years of seeing the city’s thirst for complex, balanced libations rise, he’s opened Bar & Hospitality School (125/13 Sukhumvit Soi 55, between Thonglor sois 5 and 7; +662 712 6025; josephboroski.com), a training ground for aspiring mixologists by day and an avant-garde tasting laboratory by night.
The venue doesn’t look much like a school. A barely marked door opens to reveal a brooding interior decorated with preserved insects and a taxidermied peacock. The constantly changing nocturnal menu veers equally eccentric and draws heavily on local produce. “There are ingredients here I have never seen anywhere else,” he says. So, patrons might expect a tequila-laced concoction topped with blow-torched pomelo and Thai-chili salt, or a shockingly blue lemongrass butterfly pea martini. In his effort to make the most of the region’s vast resources, he’s shaken up just about everything. “I tried a durian cocktail when I first got here,” he says with a laugh. “I don’t know that I’ll recreate that one.”
These days, he and other rising stars are shooting for more agreeable, but still local, ingredients, sometimes even in their own backyards. “If I need produce, I head to one of the wet markets. I’m also happy to grow my own—I’m planning to have a garden on the roof. Other ingredients are all “Butterfly pea flowers grow wild in the city. Call it ‘farm to glass.’”
He also anticipates Bangkok’s bartenders will experiment more with niche trends. “Mixologists are trying fat-washing, a technique that lets you add ingredients like meats to flavor a spirit,” he says. “It emulsifies the alcohol with tiny particles of fat that coat your mouth and change the way it tastes. You can have a Manhattan with bacon-infused bourbon, or a dirty martini laced with olive oil.”
Bold drinkers are clamoring to see what wild tipples Boroski comes up with next. If they can find his door.