Mixing Classics with a Local Twist at Tian Bar at Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou

April 22, 2022,
Guangzhou, China

No matter how modern the new mixology and variations of cocktails may be, it still is rooted in the classics. “It’s great to experiment,” says newly hired Head Bartender Volkan Ibil, “but much of that experimenting is still rooted in classic style cocktails.”

Growing up in Turkey, a place that has historically been a bridge for both eastern and western cultures, has helped Volkan draw inspiration for his cocktail creations. The launch of Volkan’s newest creations at Tian Bar at Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou feature an innovative cocktail menu that is centred around eight classic categories with a twist of Chinese ingredients.

Employing a modern mixology that is more inclined to scientific experiments, he has utilized an array of lab devices to make a cocktail more sophisticated in flavour and precise in creation. The result is a delectable selection of elixirs that are both ancient and modern with unique cocktail flavourings, such as adding osmanthus tea flavour to sherry or sous-vide coffee beans with distilled alcohol.

Among the more memorable creations are the Tian-Tini, whose key ingredient is a homemade sesame vodka that begins by roasting raw sesame and sous vide for three hours before chilling it for six hours and distilling on a Rotovap. Volkan also adds expresso to enhance the nutty flavour of this cocktail.

To Volkan, each cocktail conveys one interesting story. The Guangzhou is one example in his new menu. It is a timeless classic sour cocktail integrated with traditional Chinese Baijiu, which is a very important part of the local history for more than 2,000 years. Volkan creatively uses the spicy element in rocket and chickpeas to echo with the firing taste of Baijiu while water melon syrup to balance the basis. It literally expresses the complex character of Guangzhou being both open and inclusive on the one hand and yet insistent on its very tradition.  

Two kinds of bitter added to a Rotovap for re-distillation and combined with fresh roasted coffee beans are the essence of the aromatic Sweet Liberty cocktail. The Tiger Milk cocktail – derived from a milk punch washing and two-times filter – is a clear liquid concoction that is a tasty mélange and a must in this Year of the Tiger.

While there is some modern science involved in his creations, Voltan believes that there is more to a cocktail than an accurately formulated beverage. ”It’s an art,” he says, “with a human touch that elevates the experience for both the mixer and the customer.”

About Tian Bar

Located on 99th floor of Four Seasons Hotel Guangzhou, Tian Bar is a stylish bar in the city. Cut from a single piece of rare multicoloured agate, the bar serves as an excellent conversation-starter at the cocktail lounge. Tian Bar offers up to 100 beverage choices including selected wine, premium champagne and special cocktails. Settle in for an evening of drinks, music with stunning city night views.