Sora at Rosewood Phnom Penh – Where Cocktails Meet Yokai Tales with a View!

Explore the vibrant tapestry of Phnom Penh, where ancient temples harmonize with bustling markets, offering an unforgettable journey through Cambodia’s rich history and culture. However, the true allure of Phnom Penh lies beyond its historical sites and markets; it’s the hidden gems, diverse cuisine & thirst-quenching libations, and welcoming locals that make it a must-visit destination.

Located in the heart of Cambodia’s capital, on the 37th floor of the towering Rosewood Phnom Penh, is the enchanting Sora Phnom Penh cocktail bar. Sora means Sky in Japanese and the bar was included in the latest World’s 50 Best Discovery listing in October 2023 as a must-visit destination in Phnom Penh.

Rosewood Phnom Penh - Sora - The Book of Yokai - The Bow 'N' the Arrow from the Dragon Section
The Book of Yokai The Bow N the Arrow from the Dragon Section

In May 2023, a vibrant and visually captivating cocktail menu titled “The Book of Yokai” made its debut at Sora, celebrating native Cambodian ingredients such as Kampot pepper, rice, palm sugar, and bananas while also narrating tales from Japanese folklore. This menu, inspired by four Yokai, legendary supernatural beings from Japan, is a fusion of cultural flavours and storytelling. Each section has three balanced crafted cocktails priced at US$12 each, and one non-alcoholic option at US$10. There are matching coasters for each of the four sections – Dragon, Tanuki, Kitsune, and Tengu.

Yokai SectionDescriptionNative Cambodian Ingredient
DragonPowerful, Wise, ProtectorRice – Sacred, Ceremonial, White Gold
TanukiJoyous, Mischievous, Shape-shiftingSugar Palm – Rich, Flavourful, Terroir
KitsuneSpiritual, Supernatural AnimalsKampot Pepper – Peppercorn, Black Gold, Floral
TenguFabled, Warrior, MountainBanana – Musa Aromatic, Culture, Religious

The menu concept was created in partnership with Proof Creative consultancy which has also developed the drinks programme at Republic Bar in The Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore, Manhattan Bar at The Conrad Singapore Orchard or Las Palmas in Courtyard Marriott Novena.

The People at Sora Phnom Penh

The friendly Udom Chhoun served as the Bar Manager last May, with Visal Sor Sao as the Assistant Bar Manager.

Taking over as the bar manager since February this year is KT Lam, formerly the Bar Manager at Rosewood Hong Kong. We met KT in Singapore in April 2023 during a DarkSide guest shift at Last Word, alongside Simone Rossi, the Director of Bars Rosewood Hong Kong.

<kbd><em>Bar Manager Lam Ka Tsun KT<em> Rosewood Phnom Penh photo<kbd>

K.T. started his bartending journey in December 2014 at the now-defunct private members’ club, KEE Club, following a three-year stint at Zuma Hong Kong before his appointment at DarkSide in Rosewood, Hong Kong. 

The drinks from The Book of Yokai

From the Dragon section is The Bow’ N The Arrow made with sake, rice and almond milk, straight wheat vodka and grilled lemon and lemon grass while the Jewel Princess contains premier cru Cognac, genmaicha tea, Chinato Vermouth and Amaro Verna.

The Shapeshifter from the fabled Tanuki character is a shape-shifting raccoon-like spirit known for its love of sweets. The distinct caramel notes of this balanced cocktail feature Cambodian palm sugar and a fat-washing technique called ‘florage’ that infuses Diplomático rum and cashew nut butter. Stirred with miso for umami and whisky for back-bone, and presented with a side serving of cashew nuts. The refreshing Green Leaf Fizz from the same section features London Dry gin with Kaffir leaf, white port, sugar palm, citrus, foam, soda and matcha.

Sora 75 is a twist on the classic champagne cocktail French 75, containing passionfruit with Kampot Pepper aromatics, topped with sparkling sake, and Kampot Pepper sugar dust as garnish. In Japanese folklore, Kitsune the fox grows more tails over time, imparting greater wisdom and ingenuity. The renowned Kampot Pepper takes centre stage and lends floral and spicy fragrances to this clean and refreshing drink. The Zero Hero Kampot is a non-alcoholic drink with passionfruit, kampot sherbet, citrus and soda.

Whisky Library

The Whisky Library offers a much smaller and private space to enjoy 24 varieties of cigars and a whisky-based cocktail menu with six cocktails that pay tribute to the Tenka-Goken, Japan’s legendary five great swords. The cocktails are inspired by The Tenka Goken and The Book of Hagakurae and are priced at US$15 each.

A light and earthy tipple that features dry figs infused in Scotch Whisky, plus Campari, Japanese Umeshu, and a splash of ponzu is named after the Imperial Museum which houses Onimaru, the Demon Sward. The Imperial is served on a metal tray with a bowl of figs.

Rosary tells the Buddhist tale of the sword Juzumaru Tsunetsugu used not for war but for peace with a symbolic rosary wrapped around its hilt. A take on the Japanese classic highball, the Rosary features Westward Whiskey.

The Elixir tells the story of the 11th century Ōdenta Mitsuyo sword and features Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Montenegro, Jasmine, Bianco Vermouth and Rosemary. The cocktail is garnished with Jasmine flowers for added aromas.

Rosewood Phnom Penh Bar Series with World’s 50 Best Bars

SORA has hosted numerous guest shifts as part of Rosewood Phnom Penh’s Bar Series with the World’s 50 Best Bars, which features award-winning bars from around the globe. Among these collaborations was one with Paradiso, which we had the pleasure of attending in November 2022.

2024 kicked off with a guest shift with Jay Khan of Hong Kong-based Coa on 26 January. Rosewood Phnom Penh’s Director of Bars Bob Louison showcased four signature cocktails from Sora Bar’s ‘Book of Yokai’ menu in New Delhi-based bar Sidecar for an exclusive one-night guest shift as well as at Cobbler & Crewin Pune for another night.


SORA BAR

Sora Sky Bar at Rosewood Phnom Penh
Sora Sky Bar at Rosewood Phnom Penh

Address Rosewood Phnom Penh, 37th Floor Phnom Penh, Cambodia 120211
Tel +855 23 936 860
Web Sora Phnom Penh
Facebook Sora Phnom Penh
Instagram Sora Phnom Penh
Reservations Sevenrooms

Operating Hours 5pm to 12am daily.

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Adrian
Middle aged curious individual trying to find a balance in keeping healthy and finding joy keeping fit. Because trying new food and drink is part of the work.

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