Victor Octavianus uses his skills in wine and sake to create a new cocktail experience behind the bar at Honshu.
Honshu Lounge, famous for its Japanese dishes and sushi bar is now well known for its cocktails imagined by bartender Victor Octavianus. Well located in Jersey City’s financial district, many come for Omakase “Chef Choice” experience of pairing sushi with cocktails to enhance the culinary experience of both. Victor is very keen on providing the best quality pairing, and jokes that no one should come along requesting a Long Island Ice Tea…
Victor wasn’t always a bartender. He got his start after the restaurant he was serving in decided to open a bar. They sent him to bartending school in 2004 where he took many wine and sake courses to understand flavours and successful pairings for the Japanese restaurant where he worked. He hadn’t had any formal training in Japanese, hailing from Indonesia, but needed to expand his knowledge so as to be able to read the characters. Alongside learning the language, he became a certified sake advisor, rendering him a specialist in pairing, taste and ingredients that help him in the wider bartending arena.
Specialising in Japanese cocktails, each creation ranges from a week to a month to develop in order to balance the flavours. Every cocktail must be unique and delicious, have umami, and be presented with a wow factor. Everyone at Honshu from the bartenders to the servers to the chefs needs to taste the cocktails and provide feedback before anything hits the menu.
The same is true for Mr. Q, our Brockmans cocktail that’s been featured in Bartender Magazine. It’s one Victor is very proud of as customers usually order at least two each time they come in. It’s a simple cocktail that every bartender can follow and execute perfectly, and easy to recreate at home. All it takes is a bit of extra care to remove the seed part of the cucumber to enhance the flavour and reduce the water.
Victor credits gin’s popularity lately to vodka being too boring. Unlike vodka, gin has umami and a complex flavour. In Brockmans, Victor enjoys the aromatic juniper berries, slight citrus hint, and complex berries that provide a soft touch on the tongue. The last sip is slightly nutty and floral with a very clean and long aftertaste. “Unlike other gins, I found Brockmans not too overpowering and great to balance the light cucumber taste in the Mr.Q.” He adds, “Surely, wine drinkers will appreciate Brockmans compared to other gins.”
So the next time you’re in the New Jersey or even the Big Apple, spend some time at the bar with Victor as you enjoy your two Mr. Q’s…
Mr. Q (Celebrating it’s 2 year anniversary)
by Victor Octavianus
- Muddle 3 sliced cucumbers
- 8ml/.25oz Lime Juice
- 25ml/.75oz DeKuyper Elderflower liqueur
- 45ml/1.5oz Brockmans Gin
- Garnish with sliced cucumber and spearmint
With ice, shake, do not strain. Serve in an on the rocks glass.