Every drink has a story to tell, and boy, does the team at The Old Man know how to tell them.
“We’re not making comfortable drinks,” declares Nikita Matveev, Operational Director of The Old Man. “We want to make drinks that people are curious and excited to try.”
Taking the baton from founders Agung Prabowo and Roman Ghale last October, this is Matveev’s first solo crack at a menu refresh in the award-winning Hemingway-inspired speakeasy. Driven by novels, history and folklore, the team at The Old Man pays tribute to the revered American storyteller through the spirits and cocktails he loved.
We managed to get a cheeky first look at Matveev’s concoctions prior to the new menu launch. Listed below are some of our favourites.
Ingredients: Vetiver rye, tonka gum, jasmine & grapefruit sherry, lemon
Garnish: Steel wool
Our verdict: If you’re one for theatrics, this is the drink for you. Topped with sandalwood-dunked steel wool consumed by flames – no, you can’t eat that that part – the journey of this drink takes you from the wonder of presentation and delight in the scent before culminating in a rich, dark sip. Great for those with a taste for headier libations.
Ingredients: Plum kernel & marigold grappa, salted lime tincture, Baiju, bubbles
Garnish: Sour plum
Our verdict: Over-the-Hill is a trompe-l’œil trickster, pretending with all its might, its glass and its garnish that it’s really, in fact, a martini. It’s not! You’re staring down a slivered sour plum, not an olive; a dusting of sour plum around the glass as a powdered amuse-bouche before each sip, not a glass that’s just very, very cold. If your mouth waters at the thought of the dust at the bottom of a bag of Sour Skittles, then this might be the drink for you.
Dreams Of Lions
Ingredients: Scamorza, rum, cognac, bread wine, sunflower seed, banana, spices, wax, milk punch
Garnish: Homemade smoked miso caramel
Our verdict: For milk punch aficionados, rejoice at the dawning of this subtle yet robust rendition, rich in both scent and sip. You’ll be entranced by a smorgasbord of flavours, but save the homemade smoked miso caramel for after your last sip – while we really enjoyed the treat, we found that it muted the flavours of the drink a bit too much.
Ingredients: Sea buckthorn & turmeric, uni-infused gin, recomposed lemongrass, agave & citrus cloud
Garnish: Shaved lime
Our verdict: Okay, read that again: Uni-infused gin. Relish the seas in this aptly named cocktail, savoury with the essence of tides and brine. You’ll catch the flavour of uni largely in the aftertaste, while the bright bouquet of lemongrass and citrus elevates your sensorial experience just a touch further. A must-try for adventurous seafood lovers.
The Lost Generation
Ingredients: Cascade hop & vanilla, rum, mango bug, cheese gum, hot coconut crème brûlée
Garnish: Brazilian nut
Our verdict: Think liquid dessert; velvety, smooth rum with tropical hits topped with a generous piping of warm, coconut crème brûlée. It’s a lush, decadent concoction that transcends the category of being simply a cocktail, wrapping us in a blanket of comforting vanilla tones and silky spirits. A deceptively easy start, or end, for a night of debauchery à la Hemingway.
Keep a keen eye out. The new cocktail menu will be launched at the end of the month.
The Old Man, LG/F, 37-39 Aberdeen Street, SoHo, Central, +852 2703 1899