Chin Chin’s head chef Benjamin Cooper use of vibrant Southeast Asian flavours has long extended beyond the plate, reflected in the cocktails of on-site sister bar Go Go. “We’ve found great use [for] lemongrass offcuts and the citruses and herbs that we use in the kitchen,” says Cooper. “You can take the stem from Thai basil and use it in Thai basil syrups and things like that.”
The idea formed the basis of a one-off menu that takes the symbiosis even further – only with drinks that are all sans alcohol. Cooper and the Chin Chin bar team designed a date-worthy matched menu for a one-night-only event on September 6. A Date With Angostura Bitters at Chin Chin saw a collaborative no-and low-alcohol menu which weaved Angostura Bitters through seven dishes and three non-alcoholic cocktails, playing off aromatic ingredients like lemongrass, Thai basil, citrus and herbal bitters. If you weren’t able to attend, the Chin Chin team has you covered with a recipe you can recreate at home.
For the matched cocktails on the night, bar manager Nicolas Escobar borrowed flavours from Cooper’s menu, melding the Thai basil with a bite of ginger and chilli in the Chin Chin Thai Lemon Lime & Bitters Swizzle, for a play on the classic Swizzle that really ramps up spice and aroma levels, sans alcohol. “Bitters is one of the few flavours that’s strong enough to overpower the bite of chilli,” says Cooper.
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“To give it a bit more punch we’ve pumped up the syrup,” says Escobar. “We use the long scud chillies from the kitchen – they use them in a lot of the sashimi and the wagyu striploin as well, just to give it a bit of a punch. Thai basil is fresh; we make that syrup in-house and then we just add a bunch of fresh lime juice and ginger ale. It’s a bit of a spicier kick to a Swizzle and the Angostura Bitters balances out the spice. It’s a nice refreshing drink.”
Chin Chin Thai Lemon Lime & Bitters Swizzle
Makes 1 serving
Preparation time: 5 minutes, plus 20 minutes cooling time
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Thai basil chilli syrup:
20g of Thai basil (chopped)
20g of green chilli or similar, sliced (add more if you like it spicy)
1L of tap water
1kg of caster sugar
100ml Strangelove ginger ale (or a similar spicy ginger ale to give it more of a kick)
30ml Thai basil chilli syrup
30ml lime juice, freshly squeezed
4 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters
To make the Thai basil syrup, add the Thai basil, green chilli, water and caster sugar to a pot over an induction cooktop. Simmer while stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then let it cool down. Once cool, strain out leaves and chilli before bottling up to store.
For the Swizzle, add all ingredients to a highball glass over ice, stir well and top with a crushed ice crown. Garnish with lime wheel and lime leaf.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Angostura Bitters.