Food & Beverage | Bar offerings ‘need to move with time’

Ulric Nijs

Grand Lapa restobar Vasco has revamped its premises and menu, which will feature new signature cocktails when the venue reopens next month.

The company consulted celebrated Belgian mixologist Ulric Nijs to create eight signature cocktails, which tell a story of Vasco da Gama’s exploration journey.

In a media preview this week, Nijs said that the entire cocktail menu was designed in only a week, noting that Vasco’s bartenders also played a significant part in his decisions. The bar is aiming to cater to local taste in cocktails.

“A lot of those drinks are relatively approachable. They are easy drinks and you don’t have to be a cocktail wizard to enjoy them,” said the bartender.

“I think these drinks were assisted by the fact that [local bartender] taste is very good, and these were all approved by them,” he added.

Although the mixologist found it challenging to adjust to the local taste, he was confident that the signature drinks would cater to guests’ preferences.

The cocktail scene has evolved over the past several years, creating different opportunities for wine and spirit enthusiasts.

Questioned by the Times whether Vasco needed to redevelop its cocktail choices, Nijs said “it needed to move with time” and added that it also needed to incorporate some more contemporary elements.

“When people travel in hotels, they will expect the drink to have a certain quality and character [and so] we need to add this into the equation,” he explained.

The consultant stressed that since modern consumers are much more educated and aware of the wines and spirits they drink, it is vital for hotels to keep up with the demand.

“The alcohol that we drink today is better than what we drank 20 to 30 years ago,” Nijs explained.

The bartender is also delighted that bartending is now seen as a legitimate profession, adding that the job was downplayed decades ago.

In his view, bartenders will continue to create new and unique cocktails, drawing inspirations from current trends and demands.

“Nowadays, bartending is regarded as a trade and it’s good; it’s what we want,” Nijs added.

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