Saturday, 8 June 2013

Azlan Amat, Champion Mixologist at Gaya Island Resort, Sabah, Borneo

Azlan, Champion Mixologist at Gaya Island Resort, Sabah, Borneo
Azlan Amat - Gaya Island Resort's Champion Mixologist

The Yum List recently tasted some of Gaya Island Resort's Beverage Supervisor, Azlan Amat's award winning cocktails and got the low down too on what life's like behind the bar. 

What do you do and how did you get into the industry?

I studied at JPSM Sabah (Sabah Human Resources Department) for six months which then led me to do my industrial training as a bartender for six months. During that period, I was exposed to flair-tending from other colleagues which cultivated my interest in mixology. 

Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes. 

One memorable incident was back in 2010 when I was serving Mr. Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the UK and was feeling extremely nervous. I was opening a vintage bottle of wine when the cork broke off inside the bottle… just my luck! I acted as if nothing had happened while the VIPs continued to chatter away, and then turned around to retrieve another bottle.

What's the best/ worst part of your job? 

The best part being a mixologist is getting constructive feedback from the guests. There was once when about 50 crew members from the US Navy were drinking at a bar I used to work and ordered 100 over jugs of cocktails. When they came over and complimented me on being the best mixologist, it really made my day. I really love my job, so there is nothing unpleasant I can think of. 

What's your favourite Malaysian food? 

Simple food like a nice plate of Nasi Goreng Kampung and Hinava. 

What's your favourite drink at Gaya Island Resort? 

The Lemon Pink Soda which consists of sugar syrup, grenadine syrup and soda water garnished with a lemon slice. The refreshing twist is a great complement to sunny Gaya Island Resort. 

What's your favourite food and wine/ liquor pairing? 

Seafood Aglio Olio Pasta with a glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc.

The perfect day off would be... to do nothing at home.

A life in the day of a mixologist...  I start with prepping the ingredients, picking the mint leaves and cleaning the fruit before mixing up the drinks for my guests at the Pool Bar and Lounge. Depending on the time of day, weather and, the individual guest’s preferences, I suggest drinks to suit. The little ones are not forgotten as we have several mocktails made from fresh fruit!

What's something you'd like guests to know about the drinks prepared at the Pool Bar?

That they are made with the best ingredients, but one special ingredient in particular - the bartenders’ passion for our profession. 

Tell about one of your favorite cocktails? Why is it your favorite? What's the story behind it? Can you divulge your secret ingredients?

It would be the Singapore Sling as it was the first cocktail that I learnt back then when I was a trainee. There is no secret ingredient, but I believe the passion from the mixologist is what makes the difference.

How do you select your ingredients and why? 

It is through knowing the taste of each of the ingredients and experimenting that I mix and match the ingredients for my own concoctions. 

What can guests look forward to in the upcoming months at the Pool Bar at Gaya Island Resort?

We’re working on a Cocktail of the Month to showcase the bartender’s creation at the Pool Bar and Lounge at Gaya Island Resort. I hope to also to have another award-winning cocktail.

Azlan, thanks for chatting with The Yum List! We too hope to see another award-winning cocktail on your menu. 

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