Words: Kirsten Durward Photos: Monica Tindall
Pool Bar Bali
L’Oh is a full circle, dual land and water experience. Sit at the bar, relax terrace style with a little hookah or perch at an above water table in the shady tree-lined pool. We decide to stay landside and enjoy the slight breeze with laid back Bali beats in the cool atrium.
Never being ones to turn down an opportunity to meet a creative mixologist, we are here to try a few of the L’Oh signatures and premium classics devised by resident liquor wizard, Wirawan. He calls himself a ‘humble barman’, but you will see that he is so much more than that; a true shining star in the firmament of Bali cocktail creators.
Craft Cocktails Nusa Dua
Spicy Margarita (IDR 110,000 ++ ) is the first to be presented. Tequila Reposado, orange liqueur and lime juice form the basis of this tempting tongue tingler. The spice comes from a house made jalapeño syrup, with a hint of pickle that echoes the lightly salted rim. A touch of honey rounds out the flavour profile without overtones of sweetness. There is just a tickle of spice on the palate, but the sensation of the drink is a blend of citrusy lightness and savoury depth.
In Tropical Mojito (IDR 120,000 ++), light rum, pineapple juice and passion syrup, are combined with freshly squeezed lime and topped up with soda water. Garnished with mint leaves, orange and a little fresh passionfruit, this Asian spin on a Cuban classic is delivered. Well chilled over plenty of ice, this is aromatic afternoon sipping at its finest.
The L’Oh So Colada (IDR 140,000 ++) arrives with an impressive tropical presentation in a whole scooped out pineapple. The frothy concoction is correctly resonant of a dark rum base, in this case, oak aged Myer’s. As well as the classic fresh pineapple, coconut liqueur and coconut cream, a little banana is added to the blending to provide extra creaminess. The result is a wonderful foamy texture and a well-rounded flavour in this lighthearted drink.
Tropical Flavours L’Oh Pool Bar
If you are, like me, from the Northern Hemisphere, you will probably have heard of the Banshee. In Scotland, these mythological creatures are female spirits who wander the world at night shrieking and wailing. But this is rather a different Banshee (IDR 130,000 ++). According to Wirawan, in Balinese mythology, the Banshee is the welcoming spirit of Bali, inviting you to come back again. His philosophy is to enjoy the positive and invite more of it. We would certainly be happy to invite more of the playful invention which typifies Wirawan’s creations. The intelligent blending and completeness of flavour in this drink belie the divergent range of ingredients. A vodka base, tinges of banana liqueur, a little note of white cacao and just a thread of limoncello topped off with fresh lime juice presents a new classic for our time. And in truth, according to legend, this spirit is calling me back again.
Monica is the coffee hound from the two of us, so it is smiles all round when she pronounces her delight with the balance in the elegant Vanilla Espresso Martini (IDR 120,000 ++). For myself, I love the inclusion of vanilla and cacao in addition to the usual coffee liqueur. The combination has a deeper complexity of flavour. Beautifully frothy on top and darkly resonant below, it is an interpretation that is sure to please aficionados of this classic cocktail.
Peach and Calm is usually served by the jug (IDR 320,000 ++), but with the number of cocktails, we are sampling we are relieved to be offered just a glass. The subtle synthesis of chilled chamomile tea, double strained fresh peach essence and Matua Sauvignon Blanc with its lychee undertones, is truly original. A trickle of Campari to add a little bite and a tinge of strawberry rounds out the taste. Peach and Calm is fresh, clean, and very easy to drink. The jugful would be perfect pool time sharing with a friend or two.
Timeless Classic at L’Oh Pool Bar Bali
Our final pour of the afternoon is a Negroni (IDR 150,000 ++). We are both fans of the 1919 classic, and are delighted in its one-hundredth year of existence, to report that Wirawan’s L’Oh interpretation is ‘just So’. The vermouth and gin balance each other out divinely, with just that back throat Campari murmur and the hint of orange from the beautifully curled peel that rests amongst the glinting ice. We have been spoilt by some twists and original signatures this afternoon, but when a bar can deliver a timeless classic to this standard, it is the true measure of quality.
Happy hour at L’Oh pool bar, in Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Resort, runs from 3 pm ‘til 7 pm and features a ‘buy one get one free’ promotion on beers and selected cocktails from an ever-changing list. This may be a great deal, but I do really encourage you to visit and try one of the spectacular signatures we tasted. Outside guests are also welcome at L’Oh Pool Bar.
L’Oh Pool Bar Review
L’Oh pool bar and Wirawan are for us, a delightful discovery, and we look forward to more from this magical mixologist when we visit what he considers his ‘true home’ Le Bar, in Sofitel Bali Nusa Dua Beach Resort’s foyer.
Reasons to visit L’Oh Pool Bar: Relaxing poolside and in-pool setting; superbly executed and well-balanced craft cocktails.