Turn back the clock 15 years or so, and being a star bartender would definitely not have been a likely career choice for Pranisa “Niza” Treechanasin.
She originally studied business management with a major in marketing at Ramkhamhaeng University, later graduating with a bachelor’s degree. She helped out in the family jewellery business, but her ultimate plan was to complete her master’s in Australia. “I knew I would need to make money for school, studying and working at the same time,” she says, “and my friends said I had three choices: server, chef, or bartender. I asked, ‘Which one makes more money?’, and so I chose bartender. But I didn’t know anything about bartending. So, I started to do some bar hopping, asking: ‘What’s that? How you do that?’, and so on.”
The folks at 1881 by Water Library (Groove @ CentralWorld) were captivated by this curious young lady, and eventually offered her a job. “I never looked back,” she admits, and her passion for the industry has only grown since. During her two years at 1881 she was introduced to the molecular mixology style, but her next position, as part of the pre-opening team at Park Hyatt, found her serving more straight-forward classic cocktails at The Bar. She then went on to join the pre-opening team at Capella Bangkok, where she has been for almost two years now. Here the youthful looking 36-year-old has assembled her “dream team” to work alongside her at Stella, the hotel’s magnificent cocktail bar. And while she admits the drink recipes themselves are a very collaborative effort, she does take a lead role in bar operations, training the team, and the visuals, such as choosing the glassware. “The presentation is most usually mine,” she says. “I create with a big picture in mind.”
Celebrating Strong Women
Stella’s signature cocktail menu features an homage to four brave ladies of history. Each woman has three cocktails crafted in her honour, as well as one custom dessert item, suitable for pairing.
The City of Khai
From the Khun Ying Mo collection: 25ml Issan Rum, 15ml Mekhong Thai spirit, 20ml Tom Kha cordial, 20ml lime juice, a pinch of roasted rice, topped with Tom Kha foam.
In the early 1800’s, Ya Mo of Nakhon Ratchasima, saved her people by leading a rebellion against Laotian invaders. She organised the townswomen to prepare a feast of food and drink for the Lao soldiers, and once they were inebriated they were overpowered by the women who were armed with cooking knives and other utensils. “She saved Korat. And even today everyone goes to pay respect to her statue,” Niza explains, adding that this drink uses Issan brand rum from Nong Khai, “to support local Thai products”.
From the Zheng Yi Sao collection: 40ml Arquitecto Tequila, 15ml Campari, and 15ml lime and lemon, shaken together and served on ice.
In the early 1800s Zheng Yi Sao led one of China’s most formidable pirate fleets, with over 1,800 ships and more than 200,000 men under her command. “Pirates normally drink rum, but I think agave spirits represent her better. Rums can get lost in the mix, but mezcal, agave, and tequila always show their character,” says Niza, who was also responsible for choosing the lovely ornate Chinese teacup this drink is served in.
“I love cigars. I think cigars are like wine, with so many processes, and fermentation, and such. Every cigar is different, and there are many different countries producing. I like Bolívars, from Cuba, and cigars from the Dominican Republic too. If I’m just chilling in the day, on my balcony, then just sparkling water or soda to accompany, to not interfere with the taste or texture. But if I go hang out with friends then maybe I’ll pair with cognac. You can dip a bit on your cigar and it’s very good. And I like it with coffee. When I was in Amsterdam everybody smoked weed, but I smoked a cigar with my coffee.”
To find out more about Stella Bar, visit capellahotels.com.