Salon Du Japonisant
A Japanese alcohol showroom opens to the public.
The buzz: Bacchus Global, familiar locally as the importer and distributor of whiskey labels Yamazaki and Hibiki, has at last opened its showroom to the cocktail-loving public.
The decor: From the outside, this corner shophouse has all the old-world charm of your Japanese friend’s home. Don’t be intimidated by the unmarked door (for bearings, look for the neighboring Hanakaruta); within you’ll find a beautiful bar showcasing the best of Bacchus Global. You can see the vestige of the bar’s previous life in the dramatic lighting and parade of labels. The walls are adorned with bold Japanese "art," which on second glance reveals itself to be alcohol labels. Salon du Japonisant has forgone barstools for cushioned, wicker armchairs (they work wonders on your back) that complement the flowing, natural wood bar. Take a trip through a stone corridor reminiscent of an old castle to find bathrooms equipped with that Japanese novelty, the automatic toilet. Head upstairs for more private seating or a smoking break.
The drinks: The classics with a twist. And if that gives you pause, think classics made with Japanese precision and delicacy by the head (indeed, only) bartender, Kei Sawada. The gin and tonic (B380) is Ki No Bi Kyoto Dry Gin (combined in distillation with botanicals such as matcha and yuzu), a drop of elderflower syrup, Fever Tree elderflower tonic, soda water, and an olfactory bouquet of six herbs as the garnish. Kei begins his G&Ts with a “Japanese style of cooling the glass”—essentially, ice and water first and a quick stir before any of the heavy-duty stuff is added. Next, try the Old Fashioned (B380), made with Suntory Chita, Kuro Mitsu (Japanese brown sugar syrup), homemade green tea bitters, and a garnish of apple, orange, grape, rose, and a spear of cinnamon. The Japanese Mojito is a great way to wash it all down. In place of rum, Kei uses shochu infused with mint and Japanese brown sugar, sake infused with orange peel and thyme, Calvados (apple rum) syrup, and, instead of a salt rim, a crown of mint leaves. Salon du Japonisant is also one of the few Bangkok establishments with a fancy (and secret) wine bottle-tapping machine, which here means high-end Japanese wines are available by the glass. Try the Rubaiyat Koshu Lur Lie 2014 (B290/glass; B1,600/bottle) for its fresh, crisp flavor.
The crowd: Overworked professionals uncoiling with a quiet drink to a soft jazz accompaniment.
Why you should care: Classic cocktails done right and at a reasonable price. Plus, the bartender will follow your night’s drinking with a refreshing glass of cold-dripped earl grey with crushed ice, topped with an orange peel. And, of course, the automatic toilet. Choltanutkun Tun-atiruj