The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2012

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Page 90 of 128

FLORIDA What's Your A L'ORIENT IN NAPLES, FLORIDA, THE ZODIAC COCKTAIL MENU GENERATES FLAVOR AND FUN FOR RESTAURANT AND BAR CUSTOMERS I Sign? story and photos by Kelly Merritt t's the eternal question that keeps mixologist Chris Thretipthuangsin up at night: "How do we take the ordinary cocktail and turn it into the extraordinary?" Mixologist and L'Orient co-owner Chris Thretipthuangsin proudly serves the finished drink The Pig from his zodiac cocktail menu. As co-owner and mixologist at L'Orient Exquisite Asian Cuisine, Chris begins with three basic prin- ciples: the cocktail must look good, smell good and taste good. But L'Orient is located within Naples Bay Resort, a luxury destination in the tony town of Naples, Florida, so Chris carries the added burden of creating cocktails that leave diners breathless. The Thretipthu angsin family (pro nounced three- tip-WHANG-sin) owns and operates another successful restau rant in the celebrity-saturated Hamptons on Long Island, New York. "To us, the bartender is the front-of-the-house chef," says Chris, whose cocktail menu is based on the Chinese zodiac calendar. Each drink carries with it a unique description of the sign and the person who was born under it. "We do have some customers who steal the cocktail menu," says Chris, laughing. He doesn't worry about duplication: "You can't get these drinks anywhere else but here because we make everything from scratch." L'Orient's zodiac cocktail menu is centered on Fresh herbs, like this fresh basil are a huge part of the cocktails featured in the Zodiac calendar menu at L'Orient. 90 / the tasting panel / august 2012

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