In the latest episode of Bangkok Fatty on youtube, I finished a long day of shooting videos by going to one of my favorite places to drink, U.N.C.L.E. (United Nations of Cocktail Lovers Everywhere). Uncle is a small dimly, lit bar above Lady Brett restaurant. They’re definitely included in my starter guide to Bangkok’s cocktail bars and are among my top recommendations for bars in Silom. One of their main bartenders, Sebastian de la Cruz, has been selected as a top 5 finalist in this year’s Bacardi Legacy competition. His winning cocktail is called The Expat and I even got a chance to get behind the bar with him to shake it myself!
I hope you can tell this wasn’t my first visit to UNCLE. I think they do the best craft cocktails in Bangkok. Actually I don’t really know what’s on their regular menu because I’m always having the special or a bespoke cocktail made specifically to my taste.
A Speakeasy Style Bar, but Still Laidback
For anyone planning to visit, I should mention the bar is speakeasy style. Which means you’ll need to go looking for the bar if you want a drink there. Not only do you need some determination or a drinking guide, but you also need to make sure you get the days right because they’re only open Wednesday through Friday.
There’s no signage or even directions. Once you stumble into the dark corridor leading to the door, don’t be surprised if you end up in the Lady Brett kitchen! Keep it calm and motion to the staff that you’re just a sad alcoholic looking for the bar. Eventually you’ll be directed back on track, where you’ll spot the UNCLE sign. Go up a few more steps where you’ll pull a curtain back on this swanky bar with dim lighting and mostly cushy high back seating.
Once inside the bartenders are really good about making you feel welcome, suggesting drinks, or challenging you to try something new when you have no idea what you want. That’s exactly the bar culture that’s missing in Bangkok. We don’t need any more places where a bottle and a bucket of ice is dropped off with a bill. No, this is personal and it gives value to the experience, making a splurge here on a couple of 400 baht plus ($11) cocktails less painful.
That said here’s a little photo tribute to UNCLE Cocktail Bar, and you can find the recipe for The Expat cocktail at the end of this post:
Strawtown Society Cocktail: Gin, Chartreuse, Swedish Punch, Apple Vinegar, and Egg White
Big Red Cocktail: Gin, Campari, Cinnamon, Grenadine, Watermelon, and Lemon Juice
Kingstone Sour Cocktail: Bourbon, Amaretto, Pimento, Orange, Lemon, and Egg White
A Craft Version of The Last Word Cocktail
Last call and don’t know what to order? The Last Word cocktail is meant to alleviate that anxiety entirely. Perhaps you’ll be so enamored with the taste you’ll become mute, or perhaps so wasted on the usual combo of gin, chartreuse, and maraschino, that you’ll make your bed next to the bar itself. If either of those scenarios sound appealing, you can bravely ask for a custom version of this cocktail. The one Sebastian made me used 7 year old Flor de Cana rum, Chartreuse, and chocolate La Maison Fontaine absinthe.
The Expat Cocktail Recipe
If you’re interested in making this rum drink yourself, here’s the recipe compliments of Sebastian:
50ml of Bacardi Superior
15ml of Umeshu
7.5ml of Punt e Mes
15ml of Tamarind Syrup
17.5ml of Lemon Juice
1 pinch of Sea Salt Flakes
This cocktail is fairly straightforward and if you can get your hands on the ingredients I’m sure you can make it at home. Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill with with cracked ice. Shake well. Double strain into a chilled glass and serve.
The Expat Recipe Notes
The Expat cocktail is a boozy and extra tart variation of the infamous daiquiri. No, not the frozen thing your retired aunts drink while they play dominoes, but the classic cocktail from Cuba. Strong, sweet, and mouth puckering should be the result of your Expat recipe after shaking. The fresh lemon is essential, and the tamarind adds to the sourness, while also becoming the dominate flavor in the drink. The Umeshu softens the body and the Punt e Mes brings the bitterness to round the flavor out.
Sebastian designed the cocktail to be adapted to your garnish of choice. However, like The Last Word and a few other classics, there is no particular garnish required. Check out this cocktail at an upcoming Bacardi Legacy event or make your way to Uncle while in Bangkok to try it and plenty of other craft cocktails!
UNCLE (United Nations of Cocktail Lovers Everywhere) Cocktail Bar Location and Hours
Specialty: Craft cocktails and classics
Address: 149 Sathorn Soi 12, Silom
Directions: Grab a taxi from Chong Nongsi BTS Station and have them take you to Sathorn 12. Look for the Lady Brett and Rocket Coffee Bar signs. You’ll find steps leading to UNCLE in the dark alley on the steps on the side of Lady Brett Restaurant.
Phone Number: 026 350 406
Hours: 7pm – 1am, Wednesday – Friday Only
Price Range: 400 – 600 THB per cocktail
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/UNCLE/855008014525090
Protip: Lookout for the special which are occasionally priced lower than the regular menu items.