By THE NATION
Perfect pairings of food and drink make for a fantastic dining experience. As most of us already know, the right drink can enhance and the wrong one can ruin an entire meal.
Mekhong Elite Table – a campaign that focuses on pairing Thai food with Thai cocktails made from Thai spirits – is now back for its fourth edition and introducing three special cocktails made with the famous Thai whisky that complement dishes that are authentically Thai.
The launch event held recently at A Bar, the rooftop lounge of Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park, saw a Mekhong Thai Sabai Cocktail paired with Mee Krob Goong Sa-er from Chim by Siam Wisdom, the Maha Cocktail matching Blue Elephant’s Five Coloured Duck and the unusually named My Father is a Great Farmer accompanying Khao Klook Prik Goong Prow from Sri Trat.
“We strongly believe that Thai spirits are just as full of flavour and unique as Thai food, which is loved all over the world. Thanks to their unique flavour profile, Thai spirits are perfect for creating outstanding cocktails. With this belief, we consistently promote Thai spirits not only on the domestic market, but also internationally. Mekhong Elite Table is one of our many marketing campaigns and draws on the finest bartenders and restaurants in Thailand to promote the art of Thai spirit pairing,” says Sansiri Yodmeungcharoen, assistant marketing director of Thai Beverage Marketing.
“Cocktails have become increasingly popular because of the wide variety of flavours and great taste. Stunning creations have been made using unique ingredients including Thai herbs, spices, and tropical fruits give them a truly Thai taste. Mekhong, with its long heritage of almost 80 years, captures the essence and uniqueness of Thai flavours, thanks to some of the key ingredients used such as sugar cane and glutinous rice, and the secret blend that infuses Thai herbs and spices into the spirit.
When used in Thai-inspired cocktails, Mekhong adds depth of flavour that makes cocktails a pleasure to drink as well as a perfect complement to several Thai dishes, taking the gastronomic experience to the next level,” she adds.
Successful food and drink pairing can get complicated, even more so when working with cocktails because the flavours are more complex. The new campaign lets local ingredients speak for themselves, with two leading bartenders, Kittipoom “Ponn” Karnmaitrejit and Suwitcha “Chacha” Singhsuwan creating unique cocktails using Mekhong and Thai ingredients paired with a variety of dishes created by three restaurants listed in the Michelin Guide Bangkok.
For its Mee Krob Goong Sa-er, Chim by Siam Wisdom uses citrons from Uthai Thani province in place of limes. Fresh shrimps are marinated in citron juice to tame its fishy taste. The juice is also used to give the sour flavour to the dish, adding a unique and authentic twist to this well-known appetiser. Mekhong Thai Sabai cocktail combines several local ingredients such as Rampai limes, which give a sour taste with a sweet hint. Faint fragrances of Thai herbs, mixed with the unique flavour of Mekhong spirit give this cocktail a pleasant taste.
Blue Elephant uses Nipa palm vinegar – an ancient wisdom of fermentation in Nakhon Si Thammarat – to create the five-flavoured sauce for its Five Coloured Duck and serves it with sticky rice from Chiang Rai. The dish showcases the south-meets-north charm by using ingredients from the southern and northern regions of Thailand. Maha Cocktail, which gets its sweet flavour and scent from Thai bananas, adds to the sour flavour of the Nipa palm vinegar.
Sri Trat’s Khao Klook Prik Goong Prow meanwhile is a rice dish made by mixing Thai rice with chilli paste. The spicy flavour comes from eastern spices and herbs, complementing the richness of shrimp oil and coconut. The rice is eaten with coal grilled tiger prawns glazed with coconut sauce. Kaffir lime leaves, lemongrass and ginger uplift the whole dish. It is served with a coconut-based curry also unique to the eastern region to balance the spiciness.
Fresh vegetables such as lotus stems, taro, and string beans are served with the dish. My Father is a Great Farmer cocktail balances the richness of shrimp oil in the rice dish with tomatoes without taking away from the integrity of the dish. Kombucha is used instead of citrus to keep the acidity of the cocktail at an appropriate level.
- The cocktails are available at all three restaurants through the end of September.
- Visit Chim by Siam Wisdom at https://guide.michelin.com/th/en/bangkok/chimbysiamwis¬dom/restaurant
- Visit Blue Elephant at https://guide.michelin.com/th/en/bangkok/blueelephant/restaurant
- Visit Sri Trat at https://guide.michelin.com/th/en/bangkok/sritrat/restaurant.