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Hanoi Bartender Invokes Joan Baez and Bombs in a New Award-Winning Cocktail

RIO DE JANEIRO (25 July 2012) — A bartender whose creative new cocktail was inspired by the scent of pho on the streets of Hanoi and Joan Baez’s wartime experience in an air raid shelter competed for top honors at the Diageo Reserve World Class 2012 in Brazil last week.

The 34-year-old bartender at the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi, Pham Tien Tiep, didn’t bring home any honors from the world’s most prestigious bartending competition, but his recent creation has won him some renown in Vietnam already.

Tiep’s cocktail won first prize at a competition in Nha Trang June 14, setting the stage for his trip to Rio de Janeiro. His creation, the Joan Baez cocktail, melds traditional flavors from Vietnam’s most iconic dish - pho - with a bomb-drop mixing technique.

The idea for how to mix this drink came to him one day when he was visiting an air raid shelter at the Metropole, where he works as a bartender in the hotel’s Angelina restaurant.

“When I heard the recording of the bombs falling on my city so many years ago, and the wonderful voice like an angel of Ms. Joan Baez, I got the idea to drop all the ingredients like a bomb from cup to cup in a tree to make my drink,” said Tiep.

The cocktail combines five herbs - coriander, cardamom, star anise, cinnamon and chili - that also form the base of pho.

The Metropole rediscovered a wartime air raid shelter in its back garden last summer and re-opened the space as a memorial in May of this year. The American folk singer, Joan Baez spent time at the Metropole in 1972 and recorded a portion of her song, Where Are You Now My Son, in the hotel’s air raid shelter during an air attack on the city at Christmas in 1972.

“Despite that our Mr. Tiep didn’t win in Rio de Janeiro, I think he’s already established this drink as one of the most creatively imagined cocktails in the history of mixology,” said Kai Speth, general manager of the Metropole.

Before tasting the drink, one is obliged to smell the drink. And the taste? “It’s bittersweet, just like a Joan Baez song,” said the hotel’s marketing and communications manager, Le Nhung.

More than 10,000 bartenders vied for a spot as one of the final 50 in Rio.

ABOUT SOFITEL LEGEND METROPOLE HANOI
Opened in 1901, Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi reigns as the Grande Dame of Vietnamese hospitality and one of Southeast Asia’s most iconic hotels. In 2009, the hotel became the first in the Sofitel portfolio to acquire distinction as a ‘Legend’ hotel.

The 364-room hotel was completely renovated in June 2009. Its historic Metropole Wing features suites named for Charlie Chaplin, Somerset Maugham and Graham Greene, each of whom stayed at the Metropole during his time in colonial Indochina. The hotel’s restaurants include Spices Garden (Vietnamese), Le Beaulieu (French) and Angelina (Italian). Le Spa du Metropole opened in late 2009 and immediately set a new standard for nostalgic elegance in Vietnam.

For reservations, call + 84 4 3826 6919. For additional information, contact Ms. Le Thi NHUNG  at ext. 8519 or email H1555-MK@sofitel.com.