My typical Tuesdays evening usually involves me slumped in bed after a 9 to 5 day of work at the office and all I feel like doing will be giving my bed a huge long hug and we usually don’t break apart till the next morning (lol), so when I was invited to a Cocktail Master class at The GONG Bar, The Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard a few weeks back by my mate Chinwe from Safari On The Blog, I was pretty excited and couldn’t turn down the invitation as the Shangri-La Hotel has been a place I’ve always wanted to visit, despite my previous visit last year. So I marched my tired but excited self to London Bridge where The Shard is situated, as I walk up the street I couldn’t contain my excitement and it was so obvious in my steps (lol).
The GONG bar is a luxurious, sleek, Asian-themed cocktail bar with a breath-taking view of London, on the 52nd floor of the Shangri-La Hotel at The Shard. The GONG bar is accompanied by an infinity pool, which offers guest tranquil far above the noise and heat of the city. It has become a unique addition to London’s first elevated bar. Facing west across the city, the 11×4 meter heated pool features stunning view of St Paul’s cathedral, the London Eye and Westminster, providing the perfect spot to enjoy the iconic vistas.
On arrival I was welcomed with a champagne reception and was introduced to Shingo Gokan, He is the first guest mixologist ever to take residence at the GONG bar. Shingo Gokan is an award-winning bartender who competed in the Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition in 2012. He won first place in the global competition after winning the regional competition in New York and national competition in the United States. Since he’s achievement at Legacy, he has been invited to Savoy Hotel, as their very first guest bartender. He’s bartending career has seen him visited more than 30 countries across the world teaching master class and guest bar tending at most historically celebrated bars. Shingo started he’s bar tending career in 2001 in Tokyo and has distinguished himself as a talented bartender since, Shingo’s deep knowledge of bar tending assisted him in his achievement of the “Venenciador“/ sherry Sommelier license in Spain, rarity which is only couple of Japanese people have ever acquired.
His recent works for restaurant as cocktail and food paring program with celebrity chefs on Iron chef of U.S.A. And he opened a bar Speak Low in Shanghai in 2014. Speak Low had an award of best cocktail bar and best new bar 2014 and 2015 in China. Shingo is nominated by Tales of the cocktail 2015 top 10 of best bartender in the world.
At the master class Shingo made 5 of he’s own invented cocktails, from soft ladylike cocktails to hard-core strong flavoured ones. They were very nice and creative, they had so much sophistication to them and presentation was nicely done. Shingo’s cocktails are constantly inspired through he’s travels around the globe, so at the master class he took us through the journey of the ‘east meets west’:
“East of the Sun” – Thailand
kaffir lime-infused Bombay Sapphire East, Cucumber, pineapple, lemon grass, Thai Basil
“Porco Rosso” – Italy
Bacardi Superior, tomato, raspberry, rose aperitivo, lemon, Parmigiano Reggiano, basil
“Morenita” – Mexico
Misters Coyote Mescal, coconut, Cold brew coffee, Vanilla salt,
Brown Sugar, Mole bitters, with chocolate on the side
“Northland” – Hokkaido
Grey Goose, Melon, Gyokuro tea, condensed milk, cardamom, Shiso
“Smoke gets in your eyes” – New York
Bourbon, Barolo chinato, Oloroso sherry, Benedictine, bitters, and smoke
The GONG Bar is an amazing chill-out spot, with a very romantic ambience. The dimmed light gives it a very sophisticated vibe and at night the view of London all lit up is just incredible! as they say London literally comes to live at night.
GONG Bar is on the 52nd floor. The Shangri-La Hotel, The Shard London, 31 St Thomas street SE1 9QU.