November 20, 2007 / 11:10 AM / 12 years ago

What's your flavor? Cocktails get personal

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - The cocktail just got personal: for a few thousand dollars, a Singaporean firm will create a drink as individual as you are.

An undated file photo of a cocktail. Provocachic, owned by Sinaporean marketing expert Damian Sim, specializes in creating bespoke cocktails for corporations and people seeking a unique tipple to serve at special occasions. REUTERS/PRNewsFoto/Pernod Ricard USA

Provocachic, owned by Sinaporean marketing expert Damian Sim, specializes in creating bespoke cocktails for corporations and people seeking a unique tipple to serve at special occasions.

“Taste is such a personal experience,” said Sim, who prefers being called a “flavor Impressionist”. “We create recipes that reflect the personality of the client and which aim to answer the question: what would your story taste like?”

Sim started Provocachic in 2002 after years of mixing cocktails to appeal to his friends.

“I like cocktails but so many people I know are put off by the bad ones they taste at bars. In Singapore and Asia, the industry is very cost-based so they often use cheap ingredients. I wanted to change that,” he added.

Sim is the cocktail specialist at U.S.-based gourmet Web site The Gilded Fork (www.gildedfork.com) and Provocachic’s clients have included American Express and luxury lingerie brand La Perla, which requested custom-made cocktails to serve to clients at product launch events.

He also often gets orders from wealthy couples planning their wedding menus or birthday parties celebrating milestones.

His cocktails come with a hefty price tag that starts at 1,800 Singapore dollars ($1,200) for a recipe for an individual event and 5,400 dollars ($3,600) for corporate events.

Sim, who studied psychology and the cultural connotations attached to foods, says he can take months to research an individual or a product and decide on the right combination of ingredients that best reflect their nature.

For example, his “Candle in the Wind” cocktail, dedicated to Marilyn Monroe, includes vanilla because it’s the base note in her favorite perfume and grapefruit juice, which is bittersweet, to reflect her life.

“It’s easier with companies, because they provide you with the type of image they want to portray and their target clients. It takes longer for individuals. It’s very difficult too to create a cocktail for someone who’s close to you,” he said.

The cocktails often include Asian flavors such as pandan and essence of the kewra flower and other unusual ingredients such as aged Parmesan cheese. Many of the liquors he uses are also custom-blended with flowers and herbs, such as lavender rum.

And what you put your cocktail in is just as important as the drink itself: many of Provocachic’s corporate recipes come with special glasses that add to the “flavor branding”.

Although Sim is happy to share his twist on classic cocktails, the precise recipes for his own creations remains a secret — unless you pay for it.

Below is a list of ingredients used in his favorite custom-made cocktail, a frothy concoction called Pan-Asian Cosmo, which he says reflects the cosmopolitan nature of his hometown Singapore.

— Torch ginger bud

— Bourbon vanilla

— Japanese kelp

— Yoghurt

— Malibu coconut rum liqueur

— Dutch egg yolk brandy

— Gourmet French salt

— Sparkling apple juice

— Zest of grapefruit

Reporting by Miral Fahmy; Editing by Paul Casciato

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