Kiki Moka, head mixologist of Jakarta’s Union Group, shares the secrets of his longterm home, and a Black Tears cocktail too.

Born and raised in Makassar, on Indonesia’s Sulawesi island, Kiki Moka learned the art of bartending at Jakarta’s historic Café Batavia. Although he’s most often to be found at Loewy, as head mixologist for Union Group he looks after the liquids at 17 bars and restaurants and is one of Indonesia’s most high profile bartenders.

When we talk, Jakarta is tentatively emerging from weeks of lockdown, although the risks of infection are far from over. The Union Group is gradually reopening venues and adjusting to the “new normal”, with options from menu QR codes to face shields for key staff members. “It’s very hard now because we closed for around three months and we’re going to be operating at 50% capacity,” Moka says. “There are a lot of new rules, especially about entertainment, and it’s a hard time for everybody.”[1] 


“Sometimes spiced rum is too spiced and won’t marry with the ingredients,” Moka says. “But this one is all good quality. It’s perfect.” His Public Enemy No. 1 mix is designed to educate the sweet Indonesian palate by adding a little more complexity, while the hollow book flask gives the mix a touch of speakeasy style.

Public Enemy No. 1

40ml Black Tears Dry Spiced

20ml Cherry Heering

20ml Campari

15ml Amaro Averna

15ml Antica Formula

Rinse Absinthe

Stir first five ingredients with ice and strain. Decant into a flask inside a hollow book, and serve with an absinthe-rinsed coupette glass and a black maraschino cherry garnish.

Where’s the best place to drink rum in Jakarta?

There’s a lot of nice gentleman-style bars that are good for chatting and sipping. There’s a private bar at the Pullman hotel called Key Bar, with good quality shelves of spirits, but they only open their door for the owners’ friends and connections. There’s Sofia at the Gunawarman, which has a bit of Mad Men style to it, D.Classic, which is owned by a Japanese bartender, Koda, another Japanese-style bar, and Barong Bar at the Fairmont.

Where’s the best place in Jakarta for a drink with a view?

A lot of new places have opened. I recommend Hakkasan and the Henshin rooftop bar, with a terrace and great views. There’s also Lucy in the Sky and Skye by Ismaya.

What cocktail bars should we not miss in Jakarta?

I mentioned Koda, D.Classic and Sofia at Gunawarman. Out of our places, there’s Union and Bistecca. You can also try Basque—it’s a club but has good cocktails—and then A/A.

Where should we go for a drink with history?

Café Batavia. This is a very old bar in a beautiful building, constructed in the 1830s. I used to work there.

Where is the best place to eat street food in Jakarta?

Street food is so cheap in Jakarta. I take a lot of bartenders for nasi uduk (coconut rice) at Nasi Uduk Perintis on Perintis Street. For satay and seafood I go to the Kota area in north Jakarta, and for gultik, a spicy beef soup, I go to Mayestik Market. For nasi Padang (rice with curries), I recommend Sari Ratu, Garuda and Sederhana.

Where should we go for coffee?

It depends. A lot of Australian-style places are opening now: Tanamera and Djournal and One Fifteenth Coffee. A lot of young people who love coffee have opened small coffee shops on the second floor of Santa Market.

Where’s a good place to get a tattoo?

There’s a place called Lawless. It’s quite famous and it’s run by my friends.

Jakarta has a big biker culture. Where should we shop for motorbikes?

Lawless has a bike shop as well as tattoos. Thrive makes custom bikes and one of their bikes is in an American automobile museum. Then there’s KickAss Choppers and Bingky Biker’s Station.

Where's a cool barbershop?

You can try Frank’s Barber, PAXI Barbershop, Gentology or Barberia at the Senayan City mall.

Where should we take a selfie in Jakarta?

For nightlife selfies, try Cork & Screw Country Club, Hakkasan or Skye Bar. Young people always take selfies at the JPO Bundaran Senayan footbridge but Monas, our national monument, is a classic choice.



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