Ronald Ramirez | The Alchemist

02 May 2015
3 min read
Ronald Ramirez is the Philippines-born mixologist at The Dome, Tower Club at lebua in Bangkok. Featured in our last edition of FOUR Asia.

My friends call me a trendsetter and a culinary mixologist, but I think of myself as an artist. Growing up, moving from one country to another with my parents, who are Filipino and German, travelling and meeting people from every corner of the planet has always been inherent to me.
I have been the resident mixologist at The Dome atop Tower Club at lebua for almost two years now and I’m enjoying creating a cocktail culture here. I’m in love with Bangkok and enjoy mingling and socialising with the local people and learning the ropes of Thai culture.

I am best known for being a culinary mixologist and for my conceptualised cocktail series. Culinary mixology is the application of the techniques of gastronomy and science to the practice of mixing drinks. It is a matter of understanding and experimenting with ingredients from the domain of the kitchen and the chef, then conveying it in a cocktail form with the same ingredients and flavours but with different textures and visual effects. Culinary cocktails are attractive, delicious and stunningly innovative drinks that give guests an exceptional experience through the use of culinary techniques. I don’t want to go overboard here, but to me a culinary mixologist is like a culinary artist with the difference that the focus is on the bar, not the kitchen. I only use techniques that are fundamentally adaptable to the bar side and will be enjoyed by guests.

The techniques I use are based on science, for example, effervescent spheres—huge bubbles filled with smoke, flavoured with ingredients such as vanilla, chocolate, roses or herbs—taking a cocktail that is normally liquid and converting it to a solid through the use of gels and agents; and freezing a flavoured liquid, such as the Ice Series I created. These sorts of game-changing techniques have caused quite a stir in our bars. I use techniques found in science and gastronomy. I do however look at the broader aspects of the bar industry, try to understand my guests’ needs, and give them a memorable experience when they are up here at The Dome. There are so many gimmicks and inventions these days, but these so-called novel practices are often used without discretion and can be overwhelming for some drinkers. I try to apply a contemporary vision to the foundation of the great classics.

I enjoy creating conceptualised cocktail series, discovering new flavours and inventing new tastes and new genres—concepts to match the particular restaurant or bar. As for ingredients, I like delicate flavours —herbs, spices and indigenous ingredients that can only be found in the specific country I’m living and working in. As for techniques, I like the ‘ageing’ method with frozen and flavoured smoke—a technique that can be found in gastronomy. It is a technique that adds appeal and visual attraction and affects the domain of the senses.

Let me tell you about Pandora’s Box, a cocktail star from the Barrel- Aged series [over page]. It took me a month to design the architecture of this cocktail, starting with the box itself, which has its origins in the Chinese noodle box. If there are Chinese take-out noodles, then there should be a take-out cocktail too, right? And then there’s the name, which deviously tempts you to open it. I love to watch the faces of my guests when they open it—they have this childish expression of excitement and for me to see my guests so happy is an absolute delight. The inspiration came from guests who move from one bar to another at The Dome, bringing me to create this very chic cocktail-to-go, which they can whisk away with them when they move to other restaurants and bars at The Dome. Pandora’s slogan is “wherever you go, whatever you do, take me with you.”