My husband planned a trip to Indonesia for my 40th birthday in August of 2019. Two of the cities we visited in Bali were perfect cocktail spots. Ubud, located in the uplands, is quieter than other parts of the island, although plenty of tourists visit. It is said to be the cultural capital of Bali. We also visited the Southern beach resort area of Seminyak, Bali. Known for incredible sunsets, nightlife, and luxury accommodations. A totally different dimension of Indonesia to experience. We found some amazing bars and some of the best cocktails in Bali. Enjoy!
Best Cocktails in Bali
1. Cocktail-paired dinner at Room4Dessert
Pictured above: the Kentucky mushroom (just like the chicken but better); one of the dessert paired cocktails; the Incidente stradale; and the mango puff.
Since we visited Room4Dessert, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. It’s rare to have a dining experience that hits only high notes, with everything exceeding expectations, but this place pulls it off. (If you’ve binged all of Chef’s Table on Netflix, you might recognize the name of this place from the Dessert season, Episode 4.) Although, I’m not sure what’s not to love about a 21-course, mostly dessert-centric meal that features a cocktail pairing. The first seven courses were snacks, the second seven were desserts paired with cocktails, and the last seven courses were petit fours.
Each set of seven courses was served in a different location. This added to the fun and provided an opportunity to visit the gardens and the kitchen between sets of food. The highlight of the whole experience was definitely the staff. Everyone seemed genuinely excited and proud of the food, drinks, and restaurant. The owner/executive chef, Will Goldfarb, was also onsite and we had a lovely chat with him. This place was worth every penny.
2. Tuak & Jagang at Night Rooster
Operated by another incredible restaurant in Ubud, Locavore (which we also enjoyed), The Night Rooster needs to be on your list. This chill bar features local ingredients in craft cocktails, along with small bites to eat. I had the Tuak & Jagang which was made from tuak granita, arak infused smoked corn husk, coconut vinegar, and mango blossom honey. Truly a unique cocktail – and very delicious!
3. Volcano Agung at Potato Head Beach Club
The Potato Head Beach Club is an upscale, ocean-front hangout spot in Seminyak. It features three restaurants, a giant pool, a sandy beach, and plenty of drinks. This steaming masterpiece is the Volcano Agung. This cocktail is made with light and spiced rums, pineapple-infused arak, curaçao, pineapple, raw honey, and citrus. It was the perfect drink to watch a sunset with.
Potato Head Beach Club also has a row of beach-front daybeds that you can reserve to watch the sunset, or to relax in during the day. There is also a large lawn with daybeds and chairs for lounging. With waitstaff on standby, you are set to sit and sip all night long.
4. Hang Tuah at Akademi Bar
The Akademi Bar, located in the Katamama hotel, describes itself as the “center for mixology” and offers cocktail classes. While we didn’t take a class, we did sip drinks in the award-winning bar. I had the Hang Tuah, made with lemongrass gin, pineapple arak, Aperol, pineapple galangal ratafia, turmeric and tamarind cordial, and citrus juice. It was balanced and refreshing.
5. White Bloody Mary at KU DE TA
We had the most amazing dinner at Mejekawi, located at KU DE TA. With a view of the waves lit by spotlights from shore, we enjoyed a five-course tasting menu. Highlights included the grilled coral trout served with chili paste, jicama, apples, and lime. My favorite part of the whole meal was the White Bloody Mary. They were made with vodka, basil oil, pepper bitters, and juice from a tomato hung for 24 hours. It was spicy and delicious!
Other things to do in Bali besides drinking
While the highlights of the trip certainly included the best cocktails in Bali, we also spent time doing other things. There is no shortage of incredible ways to spend your days but here were a few highlights I would recommend.
View a rice paddy terrace
Much of the rice grown in Bali is consumed by the families growing it. Almost every family compound has a rice paddy that the family farms. Driving through Ubud, you see rice paddies everywhere. While most of them are at ground level, there are some amazing rice terraces. Tegallalang, is right off a main road on your way to the mountains. It’s definitely worth a stop.
Hike up the Campuhan Ridge Walk
Roughly a ten-minute walk from the center of Ubud, you’ll find the entrance to the Campuhan Ridge Walk trail. This light hike takes you by sweeping valley views and by local homes. It takes about 30-40 minutes one-way, and there are several cafes that offer cold drinks. We tried the local drink, jamu, made from turmeric, ginger, honey, and lime.
Learn to cook Balinese food
I love taking cooking classes when I travel. I’ve been lucky enough to take them in Barcelona, Kyoto, Costa Rica, Buenos Aires, and Shanghai. It’s such an interesting way to learn about a culture and bring recipes home with you. On this trip, we had the pleasure of cooking with Lobong Culinary Experience. We started the day with a trip to a local food market and then got to work on our seven dishes. I made a special fish curry and satay.
Take a tour with Ring A Bike
We toured the countryside on bike with Ring A Bike Tour. We enjoyed several stops to learn about native fruits, like the snake fruit on the left, and local coffee, the famous luwak coffee. The coffee looks like poop because it is the coffee that is eaten and partially digested by the Asian palm civet. It was pretty good brewed. The rest of the bike tour included a stop at a local family home to learn about daily life. We also had lunch and visited a community preparing for a temple re-opening ceremony. If biking isn’t your thing, Ring offers many other tours, along with his staff of 15 tour guides. You won’t regret booking with him.
Visit some temples
Tirta Empul Temple
Founded around a large water spring in 962 A.D., this Hindu temple is quite large and beautiful. From the koi pond to gates like the one above, it’s worth an hour of your time.
Batu Bolong, and the one below, are Hindu temples that provide places to pray for Bali’s safety from the ocean. It’s worth seeing both of these at high and low tides, as they look completely different.
Tanah Lot Temple
Visitors aren’t allowed into either one of the temples, but you can walk out to Tanah Lot during low tide (shown above). On the ridge above, you’ll find places to eat a scenic meal or do some souvenir shopping.
Where to stay in Bali
The journey to the Moon House at Bambu Indah puts you in the right state of mind for what awaits you. This bamboo bridge comes after the most whimsical, handmade elevator brings you down one story. After the bridge, there are paths and steps that guide you to the river and rooms.
Bambu Indah offers almost 20 highly unique rooms. From ours, the Moon House, to ancient family homes that were relocated to the property. They all celebrate local materials and the nature that surround them. The property grows as much of the produce needed by the restaurant and bar as they can. We had jackfruit and herbs growing next to our pool.
Another highlight is the ridge where you can sip a delicious cocktail while watching the sun set over the river valley. I enjoyed a Hidden Paradise which was made with tequila, ginger ale, lime juice, ginger, and brown sugar. It was spicy and refreshing! And, I love that no matter where you turn up, you’ll find another amazing cocktail in Bali. They are a vacation-lovers dream.
Our suite at Katamama was a splurge that was worth every cent. All the rooms have in-room bars complete with tools, fruits, and mixers. I was in heaven mixing up some lemongrass gin gimlets (below) before we went to bed. The pool was calming and inviting.
Our rooftop deck was heavenly with views of the ocean.
As the world starts to travel again, I hope you are able to get to some beautiful places. At least you know if you can make it there, you now know where to get some of the best cocktails in Bali. Cheers!