Roman spent six years bartending at London’s Artesian, which was named World’s Best Bar for four consecutive years. In 2015, Roman made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list of talented young people.
How did we get so lucky, to have you come to Singapore?
I’ve been to Singapore several times in the past few years, doing guest shifts at events like Cocktail Week and Gin Jubilee, and I really fell in love with the city. And in the last five years, cocktail culture in South-east Asia, especially Singapore, has been just crazy. So it made sense for me to move. It’s no longer about New York and London. Asia is the next big thing.
You have more than 1,000 gins at Atlas. What’s the best way to really experience this crazy gin library?
When a customer asks for a gin recommendation, we ask some questions to find out their taste profile and what they’re looking for. Our gin tower has gins from a lot of unexpected places, like Bolivia and Peru. We also sell our gins only by the shot, not by the bottle. That’s because we want more people to be able to try them. We even limit each customer to one shot for every gin they drink during a visit. Prices start at $16 and go up to about $200 a shot for a vintage gin.
What are some of the biggest trends in gin?
It feels like there’s a new gin getting launched every day. Gin is very playful and there are almost no rules at all. As long as you have juniper, you can call it a gin. So, each bottle of gin can be very diﬀerent – there’s so much room for creativity. For instance, [gin producer] Monkey 47 just gave us a bottle of gin that has 22 diﬀerent types of peppers, and was made specifically for pairing with steak. Another thing that’s happening more often is brands trying to source all their botanicals from nearby farms. It’s great that they’re getting involved with their communities.
What’s your favourite way to enjoy gin?
I like a gin and tonic. I’m not a big fan of extra herbs because the botanicals are already inside the gin. So what I like is to add some lime or grapefruit, and just a bit of tonic. When it comes to gin cocktails, I’ll make myself a Southside. It has gin, lime, sugar and mint. You shake them together, and top with champagne. It’s very light and refreshing.