Saturday, February 13, 2016

Khmer Cocktail Class at Asana

Sure, most people go to Siem Reap to see Angkor Wat but the resort town has much more to offer in addition to ancient temples and ruins.  Most itineraries revolve around early morning sunsets at Angkor complex, afternoons in the markets or by the hotel pool (or for some, even more temples!) When the sun sets, there's lively Pub Street.

The Mo and I partook in day-drinking on our first day in Siem Reap.  How could we afford NOT to drink when cocktails were $1.75 (USD) and local draft beers were 50 cents (USD).  After a couple of rounds, we walked around the vicinity through alleys and accidentally discovered Asana Old Wooden House Cocktail Bar. The bar is an actual traditional Khmer wooden house on stilts, similar to the homes my relatives inhabit in the countryside Cambodia.

I heard mixed reviews about the place and we decided to continue with our day drinking and ordered a pitcher of sangria and seat on the day beds with rice sack as pillows. It was cool.

One of the girls were starting to set up for the evening cocktail class. She put out mortar and pestles, fresh herb, cutting boards and glassware.  For $15.00 a person, guests can learn the fundamentals of Khmer cocktails, prepare and consume three cocktails as well.

I decided to join the class.  There were 2 other couples and a single traveler from China.  Lala, our instructor was bright and cheerful upon introduction. She spoke great English and started the class with the herb demonstration.  She cut up pieces of galanga, basil, lemongrass, turmeric and mint for us to pass around and taste.

The first drink we would be making was the ginger mojito. It had Bacardi white rum, brown rum, lime, soda water, ginger and brown sugar.

First we cut up the lime, added to our cup, plucked mint and added to the cup and added a generous amount of brown sugar and muddled the 3 ingredients in the cup.

Sometime before then, the ginger was added.  The bottle of rums were passed around with measuring glass. One of the alcohol required a bit more than the other one.  Additional mint and lime slices were used as a garnish.  This was final result.  The drink wasn't as sweet as I thought it would be but I enjoyed it.

In between drinks, we were given time to socialize and enjoy our drinks. We didn't know this and felt abandoned as Lala, our instructor was glued to her phone.  A heads up would have been appreciated, "Please enjoy your drink and we will start our next drink in 15 minutes or so" would have been nice.

The second drink we made was called "Tamarind Sauce". It was gross, I didn't like it at all.  It was fun to make and "pretty" to look at.

For the last drink, we all got to choose our own drink to make. This got a little confusing because we decided to make different drinks and the instructors had to give us individual instructions.  Instructions were unclear and there were lots going on. I went with the "Lane" which was not very pleasant either. It had kaffir leaves, peppercorn and galanga. I should have went with the Asana Sling.  Lala screamed at me for putting too much alcohol and advised her cowoker to take the bottle away form me.  It was very rude and unprofessional, if that was an issue, she should have come around and poured it herself.

Here's what all our drinks looked like at the end. Cheers! I had a lot of fun due to the people in my group who made it enjoyable.

A few things to know:

Classes start at 6 PM and reservations are encouraged.  The class was advertised as 90 minutes. Our went on for about 2.5 hours.

Lala, the instructor is actually a rude bitch.  She barked ordered at her coworkers and yelled at them about getting guests water and towels.  She was talking about people in our group being stupid, annoying , double booking the reservations etc and referred to me as the fat girl.  I guess her friendliness and smiles were just a facade and she was a fake.