A 45-minute cab ride away from central Bangkok is Sammakorn, an expat enclave on the edge of the city that’s filled with 60,000 people who mostly work at the area’s elite private schools.
Sammakorn Village, as it’s often called, feels like you’re no longer in Bangkok. Local life centers around three small lakes, with restaurants, bars, and cafes ringing each. The vibe is more chill than in the city center. As people go by on scooters, they wave and yell to each other, with everyone seeming to know everyone else’s name. It’s another world over there.
A world that, until recently, was sadly short of decent cocktails. High profile Bangkok mixologist and consultant Mark Lloyd — who was responsible for the Zero Waste Bar at this month’s Wonderfruit — is aiming to change that. Lloyd lives in the village since his wife is an administrator at a nearby boarding school.
One of his newest ventures, Sammakorn Cocktail Club, is a passion project that allows him a testing ground for new creations and a chance to get friends together every four weeks for drinks.
Here’s how it works: One night a month he takes over his friend’s smoothie bowl shop, So Smooth, and hosts a bar event for just 20 people, each of whom books a seat in advance.
He changes up the drinks each time and they all cost THB250 — not bad when you consider that cocktails of this caliber and potency can easily run THB450 closer to the city center.
Like many of his other projects, this one is also a zero waster, but you’d never guess by tasting the drinks.
We stopped by for the December edition and were convinced at first sip by a drink that had already caught our eye on the club’s Facebook page.
In Lloyd’s typical straightforward style, he said of the recent menu, “This time, we did holiday cocktails, which are hard as balls to make zero waste.”
The Peanut Butter & Jelly Old Fashioned was the one that stole our hearts (and the rest of the evening’s sober thoughts). Far from the sickly tipple you might expect, it still managed to render the flavor of the childhood sandwich. It had a sweet and rich kick from peanut butter-washed bourbon, which was mixed with raspberry syrup and served over ice in a rocks glass. The top was sprinkled with gingerbread crumbs.
Lloyd called the bourbon washing process, also called fat washing, his favorite way to infuse booze. “You lay the peanut butter out flat, pour bourbon over the top, and leave it on top of the coals. As the bourbon absorbs the flavor, it goes from golden to white, that’s how you know it’s done,” he explained.
We were also impressed by the Old Gregg, a drink whose name references the British cult psychedelic sitcom The Mighty Boosh, and was inspired by the taste of After Eight mints. It was simply Bailey’s, mint, and chocolate. A few of these got us in the holiday spirit, and soon enough, we pulled our chairs up to a group and made some new friends at the cozy little space.
Rounding out the offerings that night were The Christmas Pudding Highball with plum and fig sake, cinnamon gin, and Earl Gray custard syrup — which provided a satisfyingly viscous mouthfeel. Gingle Juice paired the same spicy gin with apple cider, Thai tea, and 24 karat gold flakes, providing an East meets West flavor. Mocha Colada would have appealed to fancy coffee fans and featured toasted coconut rum, chocolate, coffee coconut milk, and pineapple juice. The Pornstar Martini had vanilla vodka, passion fruit, and cane syrup. Oh, and a shot of prosecco on the side.
The drinks are strong enough to make it a blessing that the cocktail club also offers a few unique food items each time. For the holiday party, they had homemade Yorkshire puddings flattened and treated as roti sandwiches filled with chicken, stuffing, roasted potatoes, carrots, and gravy. For afters they had gingerbread cookies and mince pie slices. The treats went down easy after the drinks, as did the gratis shots of rosemary infused bourbon that Lloyd poured with a festive grin.
Sammakorn Cocktail Club
Sammakon 2 Soi 20
All drinks THB250
Open once a month, 6pm-midnight, check their page for dates