The Draft Land in Taipei- Cocktails on Tap
What thrilled me at Draft Land were the high-quality and perfectly balanced drinks served straight from the tap. And the best part? If you happen to miss the delightful clatter of shakers and ice cubes, you can find it upstairs. My visit to Draft Land was an unforgettable adventure, all thanks to the fantastic bar team. So, won’t you join me for a sip?
Draft Land isn’t your average cocktail bar. Forget the conventional liquor shelf; instead, picture rows of taps, each delivering one of the 17 (at the time I was there) unique cocktails on the menu. Ordering is a breeze – just mention the corresponding number to the bartender, and voilà, your drink is ready in a mere 10 seconds. This groundbreaking concept originated in Taiwan five years ago, courtesy of Drinks Lab, the creative minds behind Draft Land. Their mission? To shake up the cocktail scene across Asia. They’ve already left their mark in Taipei, Hong Kong, and most recently, Singapore.
At Draft Land, you won’t find traditional bartenders; instead, you’ll be served by drafttenders. They not only take your orders but also engage with you, provide explanations, and even offer sample tastings. I must admit, initially, I was sceptical about whether this unconventional setup could deliver a memorable bar experience and craft enjoyable drinks. After all, isn’t part of the charm of cocktails witnessing their skillful creation right before your eyes? However, my visit to Draft Land completely shifted my perspective. Turns out, cocktails on tap can indeed offer an enjoyable and unique experience.
Founded in Taipei in 2018 by the renowned Taiwanese bartender Angus Zou, Draft Land aims to make cocktails more casual, approachable, and affordable. The idea is to give the broader public a chance to savour unfussy, high-quality, reasonably priced beverages.
Step into Draft Land, and you’ll encounter a variety of mixologist-created, pre-mixed cocktails on tap. Engaging with locals at Draft Land is a breeze, thanks to the bar’s dedication to crafting a dynamic and social atmosphere that perfectly aligns with the preferences of the local crowd. During my visit, I found myself immersed in some fascinating conversations with both fellow guests and a friendly bartender who even took me to explore the upstairs bar. But before we delve into the upstairs adventure, let’s take a moment to explore the delightful world of cocktails on tap.
The drink that immediately caught my eye was the one crafted to celebrate their fifth birthday, aptly named “Give me Five.” This delightful concoction boasts a blend of whiskey, umeshu, vermouth, oolong tea, and osmanthus. Intrigued, my next choice was a unique blend featuring Mezcal, Vodka, Longan, White Gourd (also known as winter melon), and Genmaicha. Notably, Hong Kong’s drink menu also features the Thirsty Collins. Now, let’s talk about the cocktails themselves. They were surprisingly intricate, brimming with nuances that made each sip a delightful experience. These drinks are not only easy to enjoy but also dangerously delicious.
Fortunately, the amiable drafttender graciously allowed me to sample most of their inventive concoctions. The drinks are expertly poured from a diverse array of taps and served in simple glassware with clear ice, foregoing elaborate garnishes. It’s all about the taste, no frills attached. Cheers to a straightforward yet tasteful drinking experience!
The Upstairs Testing Room
If you’re yearning for a different kind of bar atmosphere, the Testing Room upstairs is where you want to be. Earlier, I had the pleasure of chatting with a friendly bartender who led me to this hidden gem and introduced me to the barteam. As you ascend, you’ll find yourself at a sleek, extended black bar counter – the perfect perch to witness the magic unfold as bartenders craft innovative concoctions and experiment with new flavours.
The Idea Behind the Testing Room: We are endlessly exploring, changing, and testing out new ideas; therefore, anything can happen at Testing Room.
The menu adopts a special approach. It’s presented as a coordinate system, neatly divided into Low and High Alcoholic drinks, alongside refreshing options and those with a richer profile. Instead of names, each drink is assigned a number, accompanied by a list of its main ingredients. The glass shape is cleverly depicted, offering a visual clue to the strength of each beverage – a feature I personally appreciate. Adding to the experience, the bar also offers a concise menu of modern Taiwanese bar food. During my visit, I indulged in some superbly delicious fried chicken, a delightful complement to the drinks.
One standout was drink Number 26, a symphony where beetroot gracefully mingles with a matcha and jasmine blend. The balance achieved in each sip was truly a pleasure. Genever forms the basis of the drink, followed by the addition of gin and various herbs. They mix matcha and layer fresh beet juice, infused with jasmine extract, on the upper layer, creating a symphony of aroma layers and colour contrast.
In conclusion, the Testing Room delivers exceptional drinks, each a unique experience waiting to be savoured. Venture beyond the ordinary and give it a try – you won’t be disappointed! Thank you for your great hospitality.
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