Hot Tips from master mixologist Ben Browning

Bend it like Browning. “I love living in Jakarta. People party here like they’re in Las Vegas,” says mixologist Ben “Whiskey Boy” Browning of Jakarta’s newest hot spot, Otel Lobby.

He used to own several establishments in California before selling everything and relocating to Bali and eventually to Jakarta’s Otel Lobby ( Ben is now in charge of Otel Lobby’s beverage/cocktail development and staff training, as well as being the “social face” of the restaurant and bar.

“My job is basically to make sure people have a good time.” Other than the “secret garden” that he uses to grow mixing herbs and plants in, the successful mixologist believes in perfecting original cocktail recipes rather than twisting them with new spirits or mixes.

Ben’s favorite spirits are whiskey and gin. “I like gin because its complex. While vodka is like a piece of meat, gin is that same piece of meat seasoned and rubbed with botanicals, making it full and complex.” Here are a few tips and fresh cocktail recipes from the master mixologist.

Rum daiquiri
• 2 ounces of rum
• An ounce of freshly squeezed lime juice
• ¾ ounce of simple syrup (white sugar and cold water, blended)
• Put all the ingredients in a shaker filled with ice
• Shake for six seconds and serve

• 2 ounces of any spirit of choice (vodka, gin, whiskey, rum, tequila, etc.)
• ¾ ounce of lime or lemon
• ¾ ounce of simple syrup
• Fill up shaker with ice and all ingredients
• Shake for six seconds and serve

Ben adds that these are a few of the ‘must have’ spirits that people should keep handy around the house if they’re keen on fresh cocktails:

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Lastly, one final tip from Ben is to always use fresh ingredients. “I’m very adamant about using strictly fresh juices and ingredients. A lot of bars I did consulting for actually tried to replace the juice with store-bought juices—canned products—and it really kills the recipes. Never do that.”