Meet Dre Masso, PTT Family’s director of mixology
23 August 2016
Look up Dre Masso in the search engine and the recurring keyword ‘cocktail’ is obvious on every page. Having been in the bar scene for about two decades – that’s a lot of drinks – Dre is can now be found with the PTT Family where he serves as director of mixology. PTT Family is the group company behind the likes of Potato Head Beach Club and Katamama in Seminyak, Bali; Kaum in Hong Kong’s Sai Ying Pun; and the upcoming Attarine restaurant in Jakarta.
The story goes that Dre first got into bartending to fund his photography course, starting out right at the bottom as a pot collector in London to pouring pints and serving up martinis to the likes of Robert De Niro.
Fast forward to today, Dre revisits his role as a book author, making a pitstop at Singapore’s Potato Head Folk to launch his latest book, ‘Classic Cocktails at Home’. Dre launched his first book, ‘Margarita Rocks’ back in 2005.
See also: Dre Masso’s classic mojito recipe
We find out more about Dre as he tells us about his first drink (worth mentioning) and why Bill Murray is his favourite Hollywood guest to date.
Bill [Murray] ordered a bottle of rose Champagne, Angostura bitters and a bowl of sugar, then proceeded to make Champagne cocktails for everyone in the room.
Tell us about your first drink.
The first cocktail I learnt to make that’s worth mentioning was the Mai Tai recipe featured in my book. A wonderfully tropical libation with lots of ingredients, the recipe is also a great challenge in order to remember all the ingredients and the correct quantities. It was the drink I would recommend to every guest.
We read that you first got into bartending to fund your photography course. Are you still into photography?
Only for fun, although we are always taking photographs of drinks and I like to get involved with that.
What is your no-fail drink to serve at a house party?
Tequila, either on its own or with some limes and agave nectar for the perfect Tommy’s Margarita.
Do you ever judge a person by their drink?
No, as everyone has a guilty pleasure, but I do remember people by what they drink. I may not remember their name, but I can tell you what they ordered.
Can you tell us about the time you served Robert De Niro martinis?
De Niro liked to sit at the bar drinking vodka martinis and gimlets. He had a good appreciation of the bartender and cocktails.
Any other exciting star-struck moments since then?
Bill Murray has been my favourite guests of all time. He loves cocktails and coming behind the bar. On the first encounter with Bill, he ordered a bottle of rose Champagne, Angostura bitters and a bowl of sugar, then proceeded to make Champagne cocktails for everyone in the room.
What influence has living in Indonesia have on your creative outlook?
Indonesia has amazing, rich indigenous ingredients and local produce. We have created a new cocktail category called Indo Exotika, where we focus on indigenous flavours and champion the ‘root to flower’ philosophy where we utilise as much as possible of an ingredient and minimise the waste. We also pay a lot of attention not only to the ingredients we use, but also the way we serve our drinks. Our cocktails are served in vessels handcrafted by the local artisans and community.
What excites you most about the book?
My book is essentially for anyone who wants to make some good cocktails at home without the fuss. I’ve selected about 50 iconic cocktails I think any bartender should know how to make. And if you’re someone who likes cocktails, these are what you should be ordering. There are some great recipes and everything is presented in a straight-forward and simple way, making it easy for everyone to create these drinks at home.
What is your favourite recipe from the book?
I like the espresso martini recipe, which I like to make when I’m feeling fatigued and want a delicious cocktail that’ll perk me up. There’s also the Tom Collins, which contains Tanqueray gin and is like lemonade with an alcohol spin.
If you could only create with one type of liquor for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
I am very fond of Tequila. It’s full-bodied, authentic, wild, intriguing and delicious. It is created from the agave plant, which sits in the soil and takes an average of eight years to grow. A lot happens in those eight years. The tequila takes on the flavour of the soil, the terroir and the environment, and what you’re tasting in the tequila is so much of the plant. You can also create a lot of drinks from tequila - one of my favourite cocktails is Tommy’s Margarita which is made of tequila, lime juice and agave syrup.