Daniel Gerves, a talented bartender from Indonesia, developed his love for mixology while working at a coffee and juice bar in his hometown of Jakarta. His experience at a high-volume bar exposed him to a wide range of cocktails, and his passion for the craft grew stronger as he honed his palate.
Gerves furthered his skills as he managed a small coffee shop in Canggu, where he created a unique bar menu using his creative talents. Presently, he manages multiple venues in Canggu, including The Lawn, Skool, and Times Beach Warung, as part of Project: Black.
Hi! Please tell us a little about yourself and your daily activities.
I was born and raised in Jakarta and come from an Indonesian-French background. While studying banking in Jakarta, I fell in love with the hospitality world and decided to switch careers. My first job in hospitality was at a major coffee shop. Then I worked in a nightclub, café, 5 Star Resort, and speakeasy bar. Now, I run the operations of venues in Canggu, Bali, for Project: Black, which is currently The Lawn, Skool, and Times Beach Warung.
What things usually attract you to visit a place to eat (bar/restaurant/warung/etc.)?
It differs from time to time but mostly depends on what experience I want to have at that moment. Of course, when there’s a lot of buzz about a spot, I must check it out to gather more information. But neighborly recommendations are usually my go-to.
How would you describe your food preferences?
Even though I’ve had the privilege of working and dining in many high-end restaurants, I always prefer my Mom’s cooking over anything else, like a simple meal like oseng-oseng and sambal does the trick! Usually, I prefer a salty, sour, or spicy meal as I don’t have much of a sweet tooth.
Which restaurants have you visited recently and managed to impress you?
Last month I dined at a restaurant in Vietnam called Cha Ca La Vong. The restaurant only has one menu – a turmeric braised fish with vegetables. This restaurant is a true legacy restaurant that has been open for 150 years and has many branches.
Which bar have you visited recently and managed to impress you?
When I was in Saigon last month, I went to a bar called Hybrid. The drinks were top-notch, and they had a very technical menu using hardware, which I was pretty surprised to find on the trip there.
Is there a food you’d like to try but have yet to?
To be honest, heaps! But there’s a big difference when you eat a meal in the country where the food is from, compared to anywhere else. For example, eating Tom Yum in Thailand has a different feel than eating it here in Canggu. The same as Nasi Padang, it’s an entirely different experience eating it here in Canggu compared to, you guessed it, Padang.
What’s your favorite local dish, and where do you go to eat it?
A few come to mind. Definitely Babi Guling Men Agus, Sop Kambing Sudi Mampir, Soto Daging Pasar Canggu, and of course, the vast array of Lalapan available almost everywhere here!
Are there foods you can eat every day without getting bored?
Anything with NASI! You know how it is, no Nasi, no Power!
What’s your favorite classic drink?
At the moment, I’m big on Hanky Panky, or dry spirit-forward classic cocktails. There is so much more than meets the eye to these “simple” drinks. Kudos to Segno for making a killer Hanky Panky night in and out!
Which drink concoction is the most unique, and where did you try to eat?
Club Soda has nicely crafted and smart drinks. I never used to be a massive fan of fermenting because of its required process, but shout out to Raka for making these drinks available only 5 minutes from my place.
After a busy day, what drink do you choose for a relaxing time? And why did you choose that drink?
Beer will always be my first choice. After a hectic day at work, a nice pint of super cold beer relaxes me and gives me the feeling of, “Okay, time to wrap up the day, and let’s take a look at tomorrow.”
What are your signature cocktails?
I’m a huge believer that a Cocktail menu should always represent its brand value. Beach clubs: easy drinking and fast-paced tropical cocktails. For a restaurant by the beach, refined drinks require proper execution and straightforward presentation. Come on over to Canggu and have a drink or three with me!
Do you have any favorite local spirits?
Arak is a fun drink to have with mates. I love the ritual of drinking it; super similar to Tequila – small, easy shots that can go around the room super quickly.
There are also so many new and fascinating spirits made locally coming onto the scene quickly. Recently, I was introduced to a spirit made from snake fruit. Another interesting one was a wine made from nutmeg from Sulawesi.
What is your go-to recipe for a quick and easy drink at home?
At home, ice-cold beers will always be in the fridge, Vodka in the freezer, soda water, and lemon.
What are your top three dining places?
Skool Kitchen, for its amazing dining experience; Riviera Bistro, for its casual dining/drinking vibe; Bar Vera, for its solid ambiance and vibe
What are your top three bars aside from your own?
Segno, for its go-to for classic cocktails; Club Soda, for its unconventional, beautifully crafted drinks; Shady Fox, for a fun vibey night out