Jan 24 (Kara Newman is the author of
"Spice & Ice: 60 tongue-tingling cocktails", available <here
>. The opinions expressed are her own.)
NEW YORK - Pastry chef Will Goldfarb is living every
stressed-out urbanite's dream.
After several successful years in New York running a
dessert-centric restaurant with a cult following, he picked up
and moved to the tropical paradise of Bali and is now executive
pastry chef at Ku De Ta (kudeta.net/), a restaurant and
beach club with a cult following.
"[Bali's] local drinking culture is very sophisticated these
days," Goldfarb says, adding that there's lots of fresh young
talent working hard behind the bar to impress the international
The iconic tipple here is a spirit called arak. "The
ultimate local beverage would probably be... an Arak Madu with
honey and lime," notes Goldfarb.
(Not to be confused with arrack, an anise-flavoured spirit
popular in some Middle Eastern countries, Bali's arak is
distilled either from coconut palm sap or a mix of black
glutinous rice and coconut milk.)
Although inexpensive, arak can be found at bars catering to
locals and budget-minded tourists, Bali's more upscale
restaurants and cocktail lounges tend to promote pricier rum and
vodka drinks, mixed with tropical fruit such as mango and
passionfruit, and Asian-inspired flavourings like ginger and
Fiery arak is usually available for the asking, though.
Batavia Arrack, distilled from molasses on the Indonesian
island of Java, also may be found at some resort hotels; some
historical-minded mixologists consider this an indispensable
ingredient for punches.
In addition to Ku De Ta - a hedonistic spot described by one
writer as "Miami meets Ibiza" - Goldfarb recommends a number of
other spots for thirsty business travellers. Not surprisingly
for a tourist-centric location, a number are within hotels.
Though it's a long way from the New York original, where the
Bloody Mary was created, Bali has its own King Cole Bar at the
St. Regis Hotel (bit.ly/xKdpww), where dealmakers have
access to a full Bloody Mary menu and bar food from chef Oscar
Elsewhere, the Four Seasons Sayan (www.fourseasons.com/sayan/),
which boasts "Bali's most dramatic entrance," is a choice spot
to impress clients.
Meanwhile, "For daytime meetings, nothing beats a draft beer
poolside at the Canggu Club" (www.cangguclub.com/), a
private club "where you can squeeze in a set of tennis eighties
style while demonstrating your knowledge of the local real
But for an after-work drink, Goldfarb heads away from the
hotel scene, whether that means the upmarket Mama San (mamasanbali.com/)
in Seminyak, a hit for Aussie chef Will Meyrick, or "the
ultimate killer martini" at one of the grittier Naughty Nuri's
locations in Ubud and Batu Belig.
"If that fails," counsels the pragmatic pastry chef, enjoy a
beer "with your toes in the sand." Or an arak-laced cocktail, if
RECIPE: Arak Madu
Some liken this to a "poor man's Margarita," thanks to its
mix of tart, sweet, and spirit. If Indonesian arak is
unavailable, white rum or cachaca should make a passable
1 1/2 ounces Indonesian arak (white rum may be substituted)
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
3/4 ounce honey syrup (made by mixing 2 parts honey and 1 part
In a rocks glass, stir together all ingredients with ice.
(Editing by by Peter Myers and Paul Casciato)