Would you Try a Pho Cocktail? This Hanoi Bartender has Hit Upon a New Recipe!
For anyone curious, Pham Tien Tiep’s creation sits alongside other Vietnamese beers and alcoholic drinks rather well. Vietnam’s alcohol scene is dominated by outdoor beer dens and drinks which aren’t very high-end. Tiep is looking to change this by ushering in an era of Vietnamese-inspired upscale drinks. Although inspired by pho, Tiep’s pho cocktail is more of a tribute to Vietnam’s national dish rather than duplicating a family recipe like so many Canadian and American restaurants focus on.
The aromas in this unique cocktail are similar to what you’ll find in some Vietnamese pho variations. The cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, and fresh coriander are all common in pho. For good measure, Tiep adds in a splash of gun and triple sec. Now, there has been some pushback from Vietnamese citizens who would rather have cheap beer from any of the several open-air beer markets. Tiep’s pho cocktail may not be chasing after this crowd directly however it’s the reality of the Vietnamese scene.
In Vietnamese, beer is far and away the preferred alcoholic drink. In fact, 3.4 billion litres of beer are sold annually compared to only 70 million litres of wine and spirits. A fancy cocktail like this only appeals to a certain demographic which unfortunately has made it more of a premium, luxury drink not as widely available as one would hope.
Tiep’s pho cocktail is almost 7 years old and was invented by him while working at a French Colonial-era hotel. This Hanoi bartender grew up without much and in a family barely able to afford pho. When they did have money to spend, pho was what they would buy – made from beef or chicken, heavy on herbs and fish sauce, and purchased from street vendors.
Despite his background, Tiep has risen up to be an award-winning bartender slinging his pho cocktail in a packed bar that’s just as trendy and engaging as anything you’ll find in Toronto or the GTA. Although copycat pho cocktails have turned up across Vietnam, none have made it here to Toronto nor has Tiep. Believe it or not, this isn’t the only unexpected food category pho has made an appearance in either. In restaurants around the world, you’ll find pho pizza, pho burritos, and even pho ice cream!
At Toronto Pho, we stick to what we know best and that’s preparing authentic Vietnamese pho like our families have done for generations. For the best tasting pho in Toronto, visit Toronto Pho today.