This past Thursday, I headed to Gusto at ION Orchard for the launch of the ION Insider blog (finally!). There, I joined the other bloggers who will also be contributing content in their areas of expertise; ranging from fashion, food, beauty, to lifestyle. I'm very honored to be part of the selected 10, after the initial 40 shortlisted from more than 200 applicants. If you're interested in checking out the entries detailing my experience at the ION Insider workshop earlier this year, here's Part Un, and Part Deux.
Once everyone was settled in, ION's Assistant Vice President of Marketing Communications, Shien Yau gave a short welcome speech. After which we were treated to the cocktail demonstration by the talented Shahrul, Bar Manager at Gusto. While our eyes were entertained by Shahrul, our mouths were given similar treatment with delicious canapés! I especially liked the olive risotto, coated with batter and fried, topped with tomato sauce.
I was paying super close attention because us bloggers would be making our very own cocktails afterwards. Shahrul demonstrated with two of his favorite drinks--Death by Chocolate (an alcoholic chocolate milkshake, if I may) and Old-Fashioned (mixed the nostalgic way in a beaker, and stirred not shaken).
After the demonstration, it was time for us to get our hands dirty. Shahrul picked Thiang and I to go first. Since I don't drink (I'm allergic!), I came prepared with a mocktail recipe I thought represented my personality pretty well. I notified Shahrul of the necessary ingredients in advance, so all I had to do was measure out the right proportions and mix them together.
The key to making a good cocktail (or mocktail in my case), is finding the balance in the drink. First I added fresh watermelon juice, topped it up with coconut water, and because I love my spice, some jalapeño syrup! I look really awkward in the pictures below because I was so afraid of getting stains on my almost all-white outfit.
Next, fill the tumbler up with lots of ice and get ready to shake it up. It looks a lot easier than it is, because your hands will get cold pretty fast! But of course, there's always time to pose for the cameras. After tasting my drink, I thought it could do with a little more jalapeño syrup so I added just a teensy bit to amp up the kick, and gave it a couple more shakes for good measure.
Served in a Tulip glass, my drink, very aptly named Jalapeño Watermelon Agua Fresca was topped with a sprig of mint and a quarter of lime. Isn't it a lovely shade of ombre? Shahrul said it's the perfect hangover cure (H20 from the watermelon and electrolytes from the coconut)! It's actually really yummy, and you only feel the slight burn from the jalapeño when it hits the back of your throat. I would totally order it if it's on the menu... Which it might be, following my chat with Shahrul.
After trying my hand at cocktail-mixing, I now have a newfound respect for bartenders. It's really challenging recalling different recipes at the drop of a hat, not to mention you'll need some upper-body strength to really give the cocktails a good shake. That being said, I'd definitely give it another go in a heartbeat!
Once the other bloggers were all done with their cocktails, the judging began. The best testing/looking cocktail with a good concept would be picked to appear on Gusto's special menu for a week. Thiang's cocktail, named MotivatION won! The concept behind her cocktail is really interesting. If you're looking for a little perk-me-up to chase away mid-week blues, her drink is a must-try. Head down to Gusto to check it out for yourself.
Thanks Shahrul for making my mocktail dream a reality! I'm so happy you liked it, couldn't have created it without your guidance. I'll be back to visit.
Major thanks to the ION Orchard marketing communications team--specifically Chermaine--and the fabulous team from Vocanic, Peggy, Zoe, and Sweta for granting me this opportunity to be part of the ION Insider experience. It was lovely to meet you guys once again. I love how our outfits were unknowingly coordinated, and I think we all look great in this picture! It's just too bad Sweta had to leave early...
Glad to have made new friends during the dinner, namely Thiang (the only one I recognized from our previous ION Insider Workshop together), and Stanley of Fashionide. So nice finding someone who speaks the language of Fashion, and to also compare buys!
Received a lovely door gift from Penhaligon's, which contained my chosen scent following my scent profiling there--Endymion.
Also, if you haven't already read my debut post, Essentials to Help You Pack Light and Right for Your Trip, on the ION Insider blog, get your ass over there now! Please do leave a comment and let me know if you've got any other tips to share.
Gusto is located at:
2 Orchard Turn
ION Orchard, #01-15
Tel: (65) 6509 9380