Savouring Herbal Kulen Gin: A Toast to Cambodian Flavours at FCC Angkor by Avani
Unn "Pari" Sophary, the visionary behind Herbal Kulen Gin, shares her passion for
blending traditional Cambodian botanicals with sustainable practices.
Founder of Herbal Kulen, Unn Sophary — or Pari to her friends — has partnered with FCC Angkor by Avani to offer a series of cocktails at the hotel's Scribe Bar that bring to life the flavours of Cambodia. We caught up with Pari over a tipple (or two) to find out more about the inspiration behind her flagship product — Herbal Kulen Gin — and the growing list of other products she is now producing by hand in the foothills of the Kulen Mountains.
Q&A With Pari
Pari: Our journey started at Beng Mealea, where the serene landscape inspired us to establish Herbal Kulen at the foothills of Phnom Kulen. Determined to revive a deforested land, we began cultivating lemongrass and citronella, marking the beginning of our venture into producing lemongrass essential oil. Each drop narrates our commitment to sustainability and the rejuvenation of the environment.
Q: You now make your own gin, what makes it so special?
Pari: Our gin holds a unique intention that sets it apart from other gins. In our medicinal forest garden, we cultivate the botanicals for our craft gins, carefully selecting each plant, spice, and root. Distilled in small batches of 180 bottles, this meticulous process allows us to uniquely express the herbal fragrance, paying homage to the spirit of Cambodia.
Q: Which is your favourite Herbal Kulen Gin cocktail at Scribe Bar, and why?
Pari: That's a difficult question as they're all so delicious, but if I had to choose, I'd say the Cambodian Negroni with Herbal Kulen Gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari, and also the Apsara Sour, with Herbal Kulen Gin, butterfly pea tea, lemongrass syrup, and lime juice. The Cambodian Negroni is a classic find, whereas the Apsara Sour pays tribute to the region's herbs and botanicals.
Q: How does working with FCC Angkor by Avani contribute to your project's goals?
Pari: Teaming up with FCC Angkor by Avani is a nostalgic return to Siem Reap's roots. Sipping my cocktail at Scribe Bar, I'm transported through time by the ancient trees and historic architecture, reliving the days when the hotel served as the French Governor's residence. The proximity of FCC to the river, sourced from the Kulen mountains, creates a tangible connection between our worlds, bringing the best of nature's bounty to travellers from across the globe, which is ultimately our goal.
Visit FCC Angkor by Avani
Herbal Kulen and FCC Angkor by Avani team up to bring you a taste of Cambodia that's anything but ordinary. Sipping on a Cambodian Negroni or the Apsara is like diving into a world where tradition dances with sustainability, and every flavour tells a piece of Cambodia's story. It tastes good, too.
So, why not swing by Scribe Bar? It's where you can soak up Cambodia in a glass with Herbal Kulen Gin, crafted with love by Pari, and get a real feel for the land, its traditions, and the vibrant spirit she pours into her work.