In the middle of last week we received an email inviting us to a night of mixology with ‘mixologist to the stars’ Cihan Analogue. An offer that was just too tempting to miss and so it was that we found ourselves on a Wednesday night at the simply stunning P&C by Sergi Arola.
What makes P&C so special, is that despite being located within the Shangri La hotel’s grounds – it is only accessible via the sandy beach – with the route illuminated by twinkling little lights, creating a magical experience, foreshadowing the exceptional evening that was about to occur.
P&C is situated on a small spit of land that struts out into the water of Khor Al Maqta. For our evenings mixology, we ascended the stairs to the roof deck which could quite possibly be one of the most picturesque in the capital, with impresessive views towards the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque – the most iconic landmatk in the capital.
Like the mosque itself, the bar is illuminated in hues of blues and purple that complement the structure on the skyline. At the centre of P&C is a replica of a traditional Arabic wind tower, encompassed by a circular bar – meaning that you have unparalleled access from whoever you may be seated. Speaking of the seating, P&C has a distinct lounge vibe and offers low slung sofas, perfect for relaxing with a cocktail and taking in the surroundings. Ina short P&C is a crisp white venue that exudes sheer class.
Cihan Anadologlu is arguably one of the worlds best bartenders, having worked all over the world in cities like New York, Hong Kong and London. As head bartender at Schumann’s Bar in Munich (Germany), he obtained the title ‘best international high volume cocktail bar’ in 2014. The same year he was invited to design a cocktail to be served at the Academy awards.
Anadologlu has partnered with some of the worlds most luxurious brands – Grey Goose Vodka, GQ, Chanel and Calvin Klein. Yet it is his partnership with Shangri-La Hotels that brought him to us, Cihan is currently on a worldwide journey to create signature cocktails at different branches of the Shangri La worldwide – each a reflection of the country, culture and one man’s insurmountable skills as a mixologist.
Over the course of the evening Cihan introduced us to his methodology and really went out of his way to ensure that we sampled all of the signature offerings that he had created for the evening (and specifically for the UAE). A man of great charisma, he spoke passionately about the creative process behind the drinks, his history in the industry and his aspirations.
We began with the Dubai Mule, a combination of vodka, homemade ginger beer, date champagne, dehydrated fruit and celery. With an immediate hit of ginger, this drink was reminiscent of a mulled wine and was a fantastic way to start our evening. It was understood that Cihan has spent six hours in the kitchen preparing all of the ingredients he would require for the evening, including the ‘brewing’ of the homemade ginger beer, amongst a variety of other concoctions.
With in a few short minutes there was little doubt that Cihan is a charasmatic and personable man and despite taking his craft very seriously, he likes to make it fun. Accustomed to all of the performance ‘trick shots’ of mixology, he is not overtly showy, and defines his beverages as works of art.
Attending the event with a select group of bloggers, we were invited to sample the new cocktails created especially for Shangri La. Cihan was heavily involved in our experience throughout the evening, even going so far as to create a signature drink especially for the bloggers in attendance. He actively ensured that he found the time to chat with us, explain his craft and even comment on the Instagram photos that we were posting during the event – we even got a quick invite behind the bar,
The next beverage we sampled was the ‘Fly To Arabia’ a combination of cognac, port, red wine, Turkish coffee, vanilla and chocolate. This was served in a tradition Turkish coffee pot as a way of paying homage to the region. The drink was fragrant and the coffee beans on top had been burnt to provide the drink with a distinct aroma. The flavours on offer were bold and altogether enjoyable.
Cihan spoke about his newest endeavour the ‘Circle Bar’ that he owns and recently opened in Munch. A place that is strictly members only, with annual memberships costing between 900 and 25,000 euros. A small venue with seating for just 35 people and a place that oozes luxury. Cihan’s aim is to bring the very best drinks to his customers and to do this in a comfortable setting, whilst also providing a premium service. A brief glimpse at his Instagram feed will leave you astounded – his drink ‘the grasshopper’ contains real grasshoppers (dead of course) pickled in gin, whilst ‘the forest’ is an edible cocktail infusing vodka with shiitake mushrooms and other natural flavours. In Cihan’s establishment, shots are not available and neither is ordering from the bar, and ice is crushed (rather than cubed) for the perfect experience.
Back to Abu Dhabi, Cihan is already behind the bar when we arrive, and despite his kinetic movements, his focus is unquestionable. Dressed is chefs white, embroidered with his name – this is a man who is concentrated on his craft. His drinks are not the liquor and soda combinations that are passed off as cocktails throughout the world, these are intricate works of art that blend the boundaries of drinking and fine dining.
The innovation displayed over the course of the evening was astounding, and can only really be described as molecular gastronomy – the Heston Blumenthal of beverages, if you will. Having been invited to experience these drinks (and the craft behind them) in such an intimate setting was a pleasurable experience, and one of the highlights of our blogging journey this far.
Complementing the drinks, were some of P&C’s signature menu offerings, taken from the menu of two Michelin starred chef Sergi Arola. The food was a delightful selection of Tapas, from quail egg Spanish omelette, to one of the most succulent and aromatic seafood paellas that we have ever tasted. Our favourite dish was the asparagus, mushroom and yogurt that was assembled to resemble a garden, as though the vegetables were actually growing through an edible soil and it was simply marvellous.
Working our way through the various cocktails we began to understand that mixology is an art form. These are intricate beverages, lovingly constructed and delicately put together. The passion that Cihan has for his creations is altogether contagious.
Like all art, the drinks presented to us were thought-provoking discussion pieces, and whether you like them or not, will be purely down to your personal taste. We loved ‘Sexy Colada’ – mix of rum, brown butter, banana, milk, marone, coconut and sea salt which was an absolute treat for the palette. Whilst the cigar infused drink definately split opinions within the group – with some hailing it a work of genius, whilst others not being able to quite get passed the smoky tobacco flavour. Either way you can only admire Cihan’s ambition in pushing the boundaries of mixology and what is ‘acceptable’ within a beverage.
Yet these are more than just drinks, with edible elelmets reminiscent of fine dining and some fantastic props – the ‘drinks and cigars’ came served with a honey drizzle (complete with dripping honey), whilst others in a smoking Arabic lamp.
Cihan is driven and we were certainly convinced by his creations. There was much to admire in each beverage sampled and we can’t wait to return to London this summer to try out the new bar that he is opening in Marylebone.
Even better, Cihan let is into a little secret (and all being well), we can expect one of his establishments to open in the UAE in the near future.
This mixology event at P&C was a tremendous showcase of the luxury and elegance that has defined the Shangri La brand and what better way to do so, than in partnership with Cihan Anadologlu’s lavish drinks. Despite Cihan’s cocktails only be available at P&C for a limited time, this is definately a venue in Abu Dhabi that you should check out.
Location: P&C by Sergi Arola, Shangri La Hotel, Abu Dhabi
Opening Hours: 6pm – 11pm daily
Phone: +9712 418 2513
All views within this blog are our own and all photographs are © Out & About UAE, unless otherwise stated.