Adventures in Alcohol

CLOSED: Viet Kitchen's signature cocktail is dangerously drinkable

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 May, 2015, 3:30pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 September, 2017, 3:23pm

I recently walked past a pho shop called Vietnamese Noodle Concept. I wonder how long it took for them to come up with that name.

I’ll admit to a similar thought when I saw that Viet Kitchen’s signature cocktail is called Viet Signature Drink.

It's a slightly guilty thought because not only am I a big fan of the restaurant’s founder and chef Peter Cuong Franklin and his fresh, delicious cooking, but he is sitting in front of me when I’m told the name.

Open for barely a month on the wrong side of Connaught Road Central, the restaurant and attached coffee and sandwich shop is already proving a hit with the Exchange Square fraternity, who appreciate the Vietnamese coffee from the attached to-go outlet - and like using the venue as an informal 4pm meeting room.

There is a 5pm-7pm happy hour, with complimentary snacks until July 31.

What will you be drinking there? The menu lists 10 cocktails - Vietnamese takes on the classics, like the Mekong Sling, which mixes gin, watermelon and blueberry, or the Pineapple Freeze, a frozen slush of tequila, cointreau and pineapple served in a pineapple.

The chef has had ceramic pots custom made in Vietnam so he can infuse Vietnamese vodka with pineapple and white rum with ginger. Those drinks are sitting in the stock room and on the verge of ready. From a sneak peek, I can tell you the ginger rum is a potent mother of a shot.

The Saigon Night is a vodka, coffee and coconut concoction, made with the house coffee, a chocolatey dark French roast. You would think the coffee flavour would overpower everything else, but you can tell there’s a lot of vodka in there. Perhaps the bartender’s hand slipped when he made mine.

And the signature drink is that one ... what’s it called again?

The base is rum mixed with sugar cane juice. The chef tells me he hires someone to spend two hours a day trimming and pressing sugar cane for the juice. More flavour comes from the lemongrass and calamansi juice.

How to make this dangerously drinkable sweet cocktail at home


Mix together the following with ice and strain into a highball glass containing more ice:

1 part rum

5 parts freshly squeezed sugar cane juice (buy it at 60 Hollywood Road or at Viet Kitchen)

1 part fresh calamansi juice (or substitute lime).


Garnish with lemongrass and calamansi or lime leaves.