Cocktails for all senses
By POON JUN XUAN – To Julian Serna, a cocktail is not just a pretty drink, but liquid magic – with the power to evoke memories. The way he tells it, mixing a drink is equal parts art and science, theatre and kitchen know-how. From Australia, Julian is Bar Mentor of the Lo & Behold Group, owner of Loof (2005), The White Rabbit (2008), OverEasy (2009), Tanjong Beach Club (2010), Extra Virgin Pizza (2011) and The Black Swan (2013).
Top image: The Black Swan – http://six-and-seven.com/2013/08/15/the-black-swan-cecil-street/
Hence, his five-senses approach to his creations, often using modern techniques, like liquid nitrogen and smoking guns, to bring an element of theatricality to the overall experience.
To train the group’s bar team, Julian has designed an immersive service concept that provides each individual with a hands-on ground-up experience, from understanding the origins of spirits to executing mixology technicalities, and paying attention to detail when it pertains to bar hospitality.
When he isn’t conducting workshops for the team, you can either find him behind The Powder Room bar, busy whipping up cocktail and whisky blends that hail back to the Prohibition era, or developing a specialized gin and tonic programme in preparation for the soon-to-be launched The Rabbit Hole.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED ON THIS JOB? HOW DID YOU LEARN – BY
DRINKING YOUR OWN CONCOCTIONS, EXPERIMENTING OR PERFECTING?
After I graduated in hotel management, I wanted to try different things and moved around a fair bit, from Vancouver to London. Drinks, especially cocktails, peaked my interest in the F&B industry because each city has a specific way they enjoy cocktails. I’ve had the pleasure of learning from bartenders all around the world, which aided me as I developed my own signature style. Sometimes I start with a base spirit, or think about a flavour profile I would like to create before I start experimenting. I also love meeting others – I’ve been lucky to meet chefs in my career who really understand flavours and are able to bring out another dimension to cocktails I’ve wanted to create. Collaboration is the best way to learn and develop your own skills.