This charming bartender, who placed sixth at the 2010 Diageo World Class Final in Athens earlier this year, spoke to Jalean Wong during his short stopover in Singapore.
Tell us about how you became a bartender.
I’m not actually a drinker, so I never thought I’d be a bartender. In fact, I was afraid to drink. The first time I ever had a drink, it was a shot of B52 and I got so drunk. It was terrible. Since then, I’ve almost become an alcoholic. Now, I can do 20 shots, with champagne, beer and cocktails all night.
What’s your philosophy when it comes to mixing?
I believe the basics are important. Then again, rules are meant to be broken. I trained in the London style, so it’s a very specific way to approach mixing drinks. It’s very different from the Taiwanese style or Japanese style. The London style keeps changing. It’s more about entertaining and is casual and relaxed. The Japanese style is serious and they care a lot about details like how you stir, shake, timing exactly how long you shake it for and even temperature, while the Taiwanese style isn’t developed yet, drawing from other styles as it finds its own.
What inspires you to create new cocktails?
Definitely my customers. I really try to give them what they want, whether it’s something as simple as a fruity cocktail or to suit their mood. The truth is, any good bartender will tell you that it’s not just about the drinks. At the end of the day, it’s all about the people. That’s why I travel. To meet new people, experience some change and keep pushing myself.
What’s the most crucial ingredient to being a good bartender?
Attitude! You can find the knowledge, no problem. But it’s more about discovering what it is you want to show to your audience. I always think of myself as an actor, and the bar is my stage. I just happen to make drinks along the way.
Goal by Angus Zou
What you need:
- 30ml Johnnie Walker Gold Label reserve
- 15ml apricot brandy
- 5ml Martini bianco
- 12.5ml lime juice
- 30ml apple juice
- Handful of ice
- Shake all with ice, strain into a martini glass.
- Garnish with a lemon twist.