ROKA Dubai has launched a new highball cocktail menu that was created in keeping the traditional Japanese tradition in the forefront. The menu includes six highballs that are based on the Japanese concept of ‘wabi-sabi’ which means ‘beauty in imperfection’.
Caterer Middle East spoke to Glenn Eldridge, ROKA’s bar manager, about the reason how the ROKA highball has become an important drink for ROKA, and how he can make it different among the other Japanese bar in Dubai.
He added: “Highballs have been something I’ve been obsessed with over the past two years. Naturally I decided to integrate highballs into our drink menu and to promote them in ROKA Dubai.
“They are gradually making an appearance in the world scene as we begin to notice the trend of consumers drinking less alcohol, particularly in lower ABV drinks and becoming more conscious about the origin and quality of the alcohol they’re drinking carbonated soda. This, along with the warm climate of Dubai and the highballs’ popularity, makes them the ideal easy, long, refreshing drink to sip.”
The parts of ROKA’s highball
The components of the highball, Eldrige stated: “The menu itself that we’ve been developing consists of six distinct versions of highballs. They’re each distinctive in flavor and presentation, yet they each has one thing they all have in common: they’re all light long, refreshing, bubbly drinks that are simple to drink.
“All of our new cocktails have the same DNA. They are made up from a basic spirit, and some type or carbonated lengthener. We have added diverse flavors of ingredients, aromas, and ingredients to elevate our highballs to the top of our list in a simple and understandable manner.”
According to Eldrige’s theory among the more memorable highballs is Strawberries and Cream served both by glass and in an litre bottle to share with friends.
The drink is made with carbonated strawberries from our house as well as clarified cream soda, served with strawberries, vanilla as well as cream spirits. He said: “At ROKA we have fun, and we do take our work seriously. However, we don’t do anything that is too serious.
“The quality of our drinks is very high so the process of learning for new bartenders is challenging, however our team is a team to help one another up. The bartenders are given plenty of freedom to be creative and I urge them to continue exploring and learning about the flavor techniques, techniques, and methods. The menu currently available showcases the creativity and hard work of the bar team and I am extremely happy with their work.”
Bartenders are faced with a tough pill to take
According to Eldrige’s opinion the importance of humility is evident in the business world and knowing your position with customers. Eldrige said: “I try to remind our team that it is important to be humble about all that we do, and not forgetting that we’re making drinks , while also making sure that customers leave our bar with a positive attitude than they were when they came in. We’re not saving any lives.
“In fact, I think that drinking a drink is one of the most insignificant elements of your guest’s overall experience. It can be a difficult lesson for bartenders and bartenders to come accept when they’re so enthusiastic about cocktails. But, it’s an important lesson to impart with the bartenders that the drink is only 10% of the guest’s experience. No matter what the drink’s quality is however, it will never be enough if the remaining 90% of the experience wasn’t enjoyable.”
The recognition of the industry is on the rise according to Eldrige. “I think that the scene in Dubai is extremely diverse and full of enthusiastic beverage professionals who are driven to study and improve their skills. Dubai is truly a melting pot of diverse cultures and nationalities. They all contribute something unique to the bar scene. In terms of understanding and trends in the world of drinks Dubai is an emerging bar scene in comparison to other markets, such as Asia or Europe.
Before joining ROKA
Eldrige began his career with the intention of becoming a chef. He said: “My first F&B job at the age of 14 and was at the kitchen at my pub in the village, in which I grew up. There, I’d mostly prepare vegetables and clean up at weekends and late evenings following school. In the college level, I pursued culinary arts because it was food that was always my primary passion before mixingology even came into my life.
“One afternoon, the owner of the pub I worked at was in the kitchen and informed me I had to assist at the counter. I was a young man and didn’t know the job, but I was awed by the interactions and the surroundings more than cooking vegetables at the table. Since that time I was aware that the bar and the front of the house was the most enjoyable for me. It allowed me to have an opportunity to think creatively and play with flavour just as being in a kitchen could be, but it also gave me the chance to witness firsthand how my customers were enjoying my work.