In anticipation of the Mekhong Full Moon Event on a Manhattan rooftop later this week (invitation only – stay tuned for more info!), the promoters of this finely balanced, complex national spirit of Thailand, took to the streets–literally.
Had you been enjoying your night down in the Meatpacking District last Friday, you may have spotted handful of rickshaws (tuk tuks, as I am told they’re called in Thailand), each outfitted with the cool, Mekhong logo, and their very own real, live “Thai Princess.” Of course, the princess that accompanied me was named Nadia and was from Long Island – but who’s to complain when you’re getting treated like Thai royalty, chauffeured from one chic bar to another, sipping Mekhong cocktails mixed up especially for you? Certainly, not I.
These Mekhong folks determined to make it a household name certainly are creative, industrious and lots of fun. We started the night at Revel on Little West 12th street, sipping “Lightning Bugs” – a refreshing mix of Mekhong, fresh lemon, prosecco and eggwhite. In the setting of Revel’s lantern-lit garden, it was the perfect start to the evening. Once our tuk tuks and Princesses arrived, we were whisked over to Entwine, an intimate little cocktail/wine bar nearby, where we were treated to a Mekhong spin on the classic “Old Fashion” cocktail, which is usually made with whiskey, orange and maraschino cherries, bitters and soda.
Next stop was the meatpacking district’s old standby, Gaslight, where we were served a similarly “old standby” cocktail, the cosmo, but this time with Mekhong. I must admit that this cocktail was my least favorite, and found that the candy sweetness of the usual cosmo completely overwhelmed the subtlety of Mekhong.
Finally, we ended the night at STK, the steakhouse on the first floor of the infamous Tenjune. Here, to the pumping rhythm of the STK house music, we tried two drinks that were making their debut appearance, and had been developed specifically to showcase Mekhong. The first was a refreshing citrus bubbly concoction (as yet unnamed) and the second was a dessert cocktail, consisting of Mekhong, amaretto, a splash of cream, a few other secret ingredients, and served in a toasted almond-rimmed glass. It was delicious and decadent, and perfect for anyone who likes to drink their dessert.
Truth be told, prior to this event I had not been a huge fan of Mekhong. Buying a bottle once on a whim, thinking it was just a Thai version of rum, I too easily dismissed it as not the same hard-packed punch of your average rum. Now, upon reconsideration–tasting it for its subtle complexities–I have discovered that the mistake was all in the assumption. There is no correlation to another spirit: Mekhong is perfectly unique. Further, after tasting how delicious the spirit could be, mixed into a variety of cocktails (all of which will now be found on the menus of the places we visited, so you can enjoy them, too!), I must admit, that I have been won over entirely.
Can’t wait to see what the Mekhong masterminds come up with in celebrating the rise of the full moon, Thai style!
– Ava Fedorov