Cocktail of the Month: The Sour-sicle, Inspired by Bali Beaches
By June 8, 2023 0 943•
June is here and time to create some Facebook envy. It seems like everyone’s social media feed is lit up with with glam shots of summer vacation fun.
Where I live in Bali, around every bend there’s an Instagrammable moment, whether you’re waiting hours in line for the perfect shot of you striking a yoga pose at the gate to a sacred volcano or snapping yourself cascading on a swing over rice terraces in a flowing gown. New spots with photo-ops have been popping up like mushrooms since the island reopened to tourism last year.
However, one place seems to have outdone them all. The Atlas Beachfest bills itself as the biggest beach club in the world. Nestled on a white-sand beach with cerulean waves, this destination opened in 2022 to flashy headlines like “Longest Beach Bar in Asia” and “Biggest Street Market in Bali.”
The outside looks like an imposing glittery dam, which serves first as a divider from the pesky street traffic, and second as a ritzy waterfall on the inside welcoming you into a world apart. The immediate area within is set up like a quaint island village with shops and restaurants before spilling out into an enchanting sprawling beach and pool area.
My first stop was a village tavern where I am gifted a cocktail “passport” that allows patrons to collect “stamps” for every drink at each bar in the complex. Once you’ve gathered stamps from at least five bars you’ve earned a free cocktail.
I’m introduced to bartender Gabriel Octavianus Sebastian, who would be filling my glasses with beguiling concoctions and stamping my passport for the better part of the afternoon. I started with a crisp sparkling refresher forged from pineapple, pandan (a popular Southeast Asian sweet), sparkling wine and Jim Beam.
Next, I am whisked away into fantasy land of crisp white beach loungers along what seems like a never-ending infinity pool. At a laid-back tiki bar Gabriel, shakes up a beachy libation served in a pineapple. Forged from rum, pineapple, banana and Thai basil, this cocktail is elevated with a passionfruit moose and brown sugar which is torched to create a crème brulee merengue.
In the center of the club, a long bar stretches as far as the eye can see. Gabriel prepares me one of his favorite elixirs, the Monkey Business, which gets its name from Monkey Shoulder Scotch. The drink had a strangely familiar aroma that I couldn’t put my finger on… a little sweet… a little buttery… I grew more intrigued with each sip… until it dawned on me. Popcorn! Suddenly, I feel like I’m at the cinema watching a glitzy movie where I’m the heroine being pampered in an exotic locale.
My next treat, a spicy mango margarita, arrived in a coconut bowl. It boasted fruity notes followed by a punch from jalapenos. This rustic libation was topped with a fluffy coconut foam. As Gabriel shared one with me, I giggled as it left a white mustache on his smiling bronzed face.
There’s also a rooftop bar designed to catch that perfect sunset InstaPic. Here I was treated to the Sour-sicle … a fresh-mango popsicle immersed into a mix of gin and bubblegum syrup. Its alluring presentation and the simple recipe would make its visually appealing sensation easily served at your next backyard summer soirée.
While I’ve read that bubblegum cocktails have been gaining steam in the States, this combination sounded bizarre. Surprisingly, it created a lovely essence, like a refined herbal gin candy, without any cloying flavor. The dryness of Gordon’s gin, as opposed to many of today’s floral gins, gave this cocktail a decidedly adult twist, while the popsicle tempered the alcohol content. I started to imagine the Swiss Ricola trumpeters as sexy cabana boys grooving on the beach.
Finally, we finished my tour at a low-key beachfront deck just in time for afternoon tea. I had a stately take on a whiskey sour constructed with jasmine tea. The whiskey and tea blended so harmoniously together, I wondered why this pairing isn’t more popular worldwide.
By this time, all the pages of my passport were stamped, except for the lively nightclub that was hours away from opening. I reflected on the magnificent cocktails, but was unable to pick a favorite due to vast differences in their styles, spirits and seasonings. The only thing left for me to do was to create a little FOMO and snap some selfies of me sauntering around this dreamy destination.
2 oz. Gordon’s Gin (or another dry gin)
½ ounce bubblegum simple syrup
½ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce triple sec.
1 frozen all-fruit popsicle (mango recommended)
Combine the first four ingredients in a shaker. Pour into a chilled martini glass. Add popsicle.