Devender Sehgal & 1853 – One of Heering´s 200 year

Words by: Theodora Sutliffe

In 1853, India’s first ever train service rumbled down the tracks between Mumbai and Thane. It was a short journey, around 20km, but a turning point for the nation. “India’s railways are the backbone of transportation in India,” says Devender Sehgal, head bartender at Hong Kong’s Michelin three-star Italian restaurant 8 ½ Otto e Mezzo – Bombana. “For a country of its size, the railways help unify the country.”

Despite leaving India to pursue his career in Hong Kong, Sehgal’s homeland remains central to who he is and what he does. Since winning the flair category at the Bacardi Martini Grand Prix in 2009, on his first ever trip outside India, his career has gone from strength to strength: he represented India at World Class, and Hong Kong at the Bacardi Legacy, and recently won the Hernö gin competition, which required contestants to forage in the woodland for their winning drink.

Like the railways, Sehgal’s Perch cocktail represents a unified India, by drawing elements from the four different compass points – star anise, coriander, ginger and tamarind – to play around an earthy tequila-cherry core. Ginger, in a formulation created by Michelin three-star chefs, appears as a mist spritzed over the drink and again into the air, an explicit play on the interaction of scent and flavour.

It’s hard to imagine a greater contrast between Sehgal’s life in Hong Kong, wearing pristine tailored suits, serving global elites, and travelling the world for competitions and guest shifts, and the life he was born into. His father was a government servant, his mother a housewife, and he and his four siblings shared a room growing up in New Delhi. “It wasn’t a very big house, honestly: it was two very small rooms,” he recalls. “One room was for my parents with five of us in the other room together.”

Sehgal left school in his early teens, and eventually started work as a mechanic’s apprentice. “It just didn’t work because it was such long hours and I wasn’t enjoying it and the money wasn’t even there,” he recalls. “I was earning literally one and a half Hong Kong dollars [less than 15p] a day, which wasn’t enough: I used to go by bus so literally a half dollar, three quarters of a dollar I’d have to give for my fare, so there was nothing left for me.”

Flair bartending, which Sehgal started as a hobby, proved his saviour when one of his cousins started a bartending company and asked him to bar back at a gig. He enjoyed it, and worked his way up through the ranks, finding himself finally at Ellipsis, then a well-regarded Modern American restaurant and bar in Mumbai, where he consolidated his name and acquired a passion for craft cocktails.

After almost two years at Ellipsis, however, and representing India at World Class, it was time for a change. “In India, I was very happy doing what I was doing: I was writing for magazines, I was writing for newspapers, I was doing things for media, and a lot of things were going very well for me,” Sehgal recalls. “I was well-known in the industry but I just wanted a bit more than that: I wanted to see different markets and understand how people appreciate things in different parts of the world.”

The original plan was for London or New York, the world’s twin cocktail epicentres. But then a friend mentioned there was a job going in Hong Kong and, after six months of visa wrangling, Sehgal was off. While the palate was a shock to him after India, the wealth of products behind the bar – and in the kitchen – was a joy. “In Hong Kong, we had all the amazing liqueurs that you couldn’t find in India,” Sehgal says, not to mention ingredients like blood orange. “I got to make all those drinks that I hadn’t made in a long time, that were only in my Excel spreadsheet, like the Blood and Sand.”

Hong Kong has enabled Sehgal to finally conquer his shyness and develop as a bartender, yet, while he’s happy with the new trend for ABV cocktails, he feels the industry has one specific way to develop. “One thing I would like to change is laybacks,” he says. “When people talk about drinking responsibly and then after three hours you see laybacks, with people pouring shots directly from the bottle into their mouth and everything, I think it doesn’t match what you are trying to imply.” It’s an opinion that, like Sehgal’s success, is hard to argue with.

PERCH COCKTAIL

Ocho Blanco – 1 1/2oz

Tamarind Shrub – 1/2oz

Coriander – Few Leaves

Cherry Heering – 1/2oz

Lime Juice – 1/2oz

Glass: coupe

Method: Shaken all ingredients with ice and double strain into chilled glass

Garnish: Star Anis with Ginger Mist (The mist is a packaged product – Ingredienti Zenzero by max and raf alajmo from le calandre 3-Michelin star restaurant)

Tamarind Shrub

One part each Tamarind, White Wine Vinegar, Brown Sugar.

Stir it a bit and leave it altogether for 2 days. Strained the liquid and measure the liquid. Add the equal amount of White Wine Vinegar (Same Vinegar you used before in the recipe) to it in order to make it more thin. Label it and refrigerate.

 

 

 

Arkadiusz Rybak & 1823 – One of Heering´s 200 year

Words by: Maggie Beale

Arkadiusz Rybak illustrates the importance of sustainability and consistency in the bar industry

Before transferring to Hong Kong to set up the contemporary Japanese izakaya on the 6th floor of the Landmark in Central district, Arkadiusz Rybak spent three weeks of intense famiiarization at Zuma in London to perfect his knowledge of the house bar concept and style.

He now trains his award-winning team at Zuma Hong Kong by using the same successful principles. “Each drink has to be made with the same consistency and quality. And we always use the jigger for exact measurements.

“I believe that in whatever industry you’re in it’s important to be humble, open minded and honest. There will always be both positive and negative feedback, which are great tools to learn from. As a team leader I think it’s important to make sure all of my team are involved in all projects, it’s good team work and leadership that make great things happen!”

During his many travels prior to settling in Hong Kong, Arkadiusz explored countries across Europe, from Greece and France to the UK, working in fine dining Michelin Star restaurants and five-star hotels. His inspiration also comes from world-renowned chefs.

“I have become further inspired through travel, books, experimentation and exposure to celebrity chefs such as Heston Blumenthal, Adam Simmonds and Richard Phillips. It was they who mentored and taught me how to play around with flavours and kitchen techniques but I prefer working at the bar rather than in the kitchen. I like experimenting with new products, ingredients and techniques.

And consistency is maintained far and wide as the drinks menus also feature nine signature cocktails that are exactly the same in every Zuma in the world.”Whether you are in London, Istanbul, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Miami or New York, these signatures all look and taste the same. And, each city will have its own menu according to product availability. As Zuma is a Japanese restaurant & bar, we offer a wide range of sake, as well as a selection of contemporary cocktails using only premium spirits and liqueurs. We mainly use Japanese fruit and vegetables that are freshly flown in everyday.”

“To be distinctive we make all our own infusions, syrups, bitters, pureés and essences including the sprays. Like a gourmet kitchen — we start preparing our mise-en-place at lunchtime and each bartender prepares different mixers.

“Another novel idea is the use of exotic herbs and plants for which we have to do a lot of research through books and the internet. These herbs and plants are already being used by chefs in the kitchen so we use our imagination to experiment and create new drinks for the bar.”

Arkadiusz explains how Zuma’s cocktail menu is divided into sections: “We have Aisu cocktails made with Japanese whiskeys using filtered ice blocks; Sosaku cocktails with seasonal fruits and herbs; Sake & Shochu cocktails; and Odayaka ni cocktails which use infused spirits that have been resting in glass decanters or oak wood barrels for a minimum of three months allowing them to mellow and gain a smooth, rich taste.”

And why keeping up with bartending news from friends and colleagues around the world is essential. “With more interest in quality cocktails worldwide, we need to keep up with the changes, not only in product production but also the drinking styles and fashions of the customers. So, each week (at Zuma) we will learn about classic cocktails as well as focusing on one brand or product each time. This provides the team with more knowledge and also encourages them to come up with new ideas for new creations. Each month, we also have a knowledge and practical test so they really do need to research and learn through study and practice.”

Arkadiusz also revealed his immediate plans.”I have recently become an ambassador of HK EnvironMentalists, we work to promote a change towards sustainable and environmentally friendly practices in the Hong Kong bartending industry. At Zuma Hong Kong, we have removed plastic entirely from the bar, using only 100% biodegradable potato starch and paper straws, and introducing drinks that utilise spare ingredients from the Zuma kitchen. I am proud of my contributions to make the bartending industry more environmentally friendly.

“For Heering’s 200th anniversary, I have chosen the year 1823. As it was in this year that a Polish gentleman, named Hartwig Kantorowicz, started to produce vodka in my hometown of Poznan in Poland. Vodka has been popular in Poland since the 16th century, but the end of the 19th century marked the start of the industrial production of vodka in Poland.

“Cherry Heering brings back memories of summers in my hometown Poznan, in Poland. As a child my friends and I could be found climbing trees and tucking into endless amounts of cherries! The cocktail I would make to reflect this is inspired by my childhood memories of summers in Poznan.”

 

SUMMER COCKTAIL

30ml Wyborowa vodka

25ml Cherry Heering

10ml Italicus

 

Method: Stir in a mixing glass with chunks of ice, pour over one large cube in an old fashioned glass.

Glass: Old Fashioned

Garnish:  Orange peel.

 

Rogerio Igarashi Vaz & 1999 – One of Heering´s 200 year

Words by: Maggie Beale

The precision and perfection in every action of a true Japanese bartender has become an art form to be watched by the rest of the world.

In the milieu of highly crafted mixology, the art of Japanese bartending has greatly influenced many other styles. Most probably by its unparalleled attention to detail and finely tuned techniques, as much as by the development of more elegant products and sophisticated bar tools.

This is surely the case of Brazilian Rogerio Igarashi Vaz. Of Japanese stock, he has been living in Japan now for 23 years and mixing drinks in Tokyo for over 15 years. From learning his craft in Tokyo – and being eager to know more – Rogerio has also been guest bartender in Brazil, London, Hong Kong and Moscow.

Co-founder and Chief Bartender of Bar Tram and Bar Trench in Japan, the latter of which was chosen as one of the World’s 100 Best Bars in 2014, Rogerio incorporates some South American vibe into his drinks – creating an enticing blend of East and West.

He explains, “Japan has a strong cocktail base with its own styles and techniques. And the majority of proper cocktail bars can be quite formal. My mission is to make cocktails as sociable as possible and approachable to everyone by showing Japanese customers the FUN of cocktail drinking.”

He introduces the fun part of cocktails by twisting old world cocktails into re-imagined modern versions, sometimes using unlikely ingredients – such as bacon and seaweed.

Commenting on the latest trends in Japan, Rogerio says, “Not so long ago we could see garnishes going crazy, not only in size but in creativity as well. It was part of the fun. But, now more and more I can see that garnishes are getting smaller and smaller or there’s even a trend towards ‘no garnish’. Nowadays, the bars are focusing much more on the serve inside the glass than the presentation outside the glass.”

As with all Japanese bars, there are no large venues such as we find in Western countries – usually these are small bars tucked away discretely down side streets. And, true to the genre, Rogerio’s Bar Trench is located in a small back alley in the Ebisu area of Tokyo alongside its sister venue, the Bar Tram.

The two bars are the only dedicated absinthe and whiskey bars in Tokyo. The interior of both places were inspired by the American 1920’s – the era of the speakeasy complete with dim lighting and suitable music. And, to add to the magic, the atmosphere is further enhanced by bartenders immaculately dressed in uniforms from that era.

Rogerio is a devoted absinthe aficionado, and he sees his mission is to educate and illuminate others about ‘la fée verte’ (the green fairy). Therefore his bars have an impressive selection of absinthe from over ten countries around the world. And to add to the mystique – they are served the traditional way with absinthe fountains, spoons and other accoutrements.

He says, “Bar Trench has been a retreat not only for Tokyo locals but also for cocktail lovers from all over the globe since it opened in 2010. Even though Trench is known for its absinthe, on the menu you can find cocktails for all tastes.”

The drinks menu is expansive with both original and American inspired cocktails; and a whisky list that is on par or better than many American bars. The bartenders are well versed in all standard cocktails and will create concoctions to suit or enhance a customer’s preferences.

To celebrate Cherry Heering’s 200th anniversary, Rogerio says his cocktail ‘End That Didn’t End’ – was inspired by the year 1999.

“1999 was the year the World was predicted to end by Nostradamus, many preachers and cult leaders around the world including The Amazing Criswell and Kabbalah Centre’s Phillip Berg – and even my mom predicted the end of the world.”

Revealing also, “It was the year that the Euro was established; and also the year a total solar eclipse occurred in August. The Power Mac G4 was released then. And Bill Gates became the wealthiest man on earth and the sci-fi film Matrix was showing in movie theatres. It seemed as if the Future and the End were all happening together within the same year!”

To bring a sense of the Japanese cocktail culture from that period, he says, “In the 90’s in Japan, creamy cocktails were the ongoing trend. My idea is to bring a little essence of the 90’s by using ice cream and the fruity and nutty tastes of Heering together with the latest trendy spirit, Mezcal into the mix – based on Harry Craddock’s 1930’s White Cargo cocktail.”

Adding, he says, “Cherry Heering was the first product to be imported by Suntory in 1899. So, it is more than 100 years that Cherry Heering has been around the bars of Japan. One of the few Japanese cocktails that became well known outside of Japan then is the Cherry Blossom cocktail (brandy, Cherry Heering, dry curacao, lemon, grenadine). The drink was invented by Tao Tazaburo, owner of the Paris Bar in Yokohama in the 1920’s. This recipe also appears in the Savoy Cocktail Book.”

END THAT DID’T END

30ml Mezcal Vida

15ml Noilly Prat

15ml Cherry Heering

1 Scoop Vanilla Ice Cream

Method: Blend all ingredients with a small scoop of crushed ice and fine strain into chilled coupette.

Garnish: grated nutmeg

Glass: coupe

Christine Wiseman & 2012 – One of Heering´s 200 year

Words by: Jeffrey Morgenthaler

Photography by: Eugene Lee

“I’d never been here before I moved out here, but as soon as I got off the airplane I knew I was home,” says East Coast native Christine Wiseman of her adopted home, Los Angeles. “I love it here so much. It is really magical. The weather! You have the desert, the beach, the mountains – there are so many different options here. And the vibe is cool, and it’s just a whole new lifestyle! I was really so happy to be here.”

2012 was an epic year for Wiseman, now bar director at tropical cool anti-rooftop bar Broken Shaker. Not only did she abandon a successful career running kitchens in search of a life with more creativity and people action, but she moved from DC to LA, where she talked her way into a bartending job at modernist chef Michael Voltaggio’s well-regarded ink. Gigs at No Vacancy, SkyBar, La Descarga and Break Room 86 led to her role at Broken Shaker.

Wiseman’s Heering anniversary cocktail, the cherry-citrus Interstellar Space Voyage, commemorates that relocation from coast to coast. “Naming cocktails for me is the hardest part,” she says. “I named the cocktail because moving here was such a big move for me, and it’s been kind of a big interstellar voyage. It’s about my really becoming who I am now, and making that change in my life.”

It’s often observed that one central point of difference between East Coast and West Coast bartending styles is climate: not only the opportunities for outdoor drinking and the impact of different seasons on the palate, but the availability of produce in the farmers’ markets. Wiseman’s exuberant, contemporary, tropical drinks are all about that farmerly magic and the Interstellar Space Voyage pairs California flavours with luscious cherry fruit.

“I chose the most beautiful citrus because right now it’s citrus season in California, and we have access to some of the most wonderful produce,” Wiseman explains. “Pandan is really big in Korean and Asian styles of cooking: I live right in Thai Town and I’m obsessed with the little pandan buns. Lemon verbena is something really fresh that grows everywhere. It’s like a trifecta for LA.”

The garnishes, though beautiful and exuberant, are comparatively restrained by Wiseman’s standards, with nary a pipe-cleaner flamingo in sight. “I have a pipe-cleaner garnish guy,” she laughs. “There’s a company that makes these really outlandish pipe-cleaner garnishes and the flamingos are a big hit with everybody. We’re getting ready to do a new menu, and I have a monkey hanging in a palm tree: it’s so cute!”

And, if you’re reading this and cringing at the very prospect of a pipe-cleaner palm tree, Wiseman would like you to know that you are far from alone. “I used to hate garnishing cocktails. Unless it served a purpose to the cocktail, like a twist, I wouldn’t garnish,” she recalls. “But now I have an abundance of garnishes, and I’m like, ‘It’s only got two things! It definitely needs a third! What can I put in there? Glitter? Flowers?’”

A woman of so many impressive tattoos that she has to pause for thought and add an -ish after the number 12, Wiseman has an energy and optimism that’s as Californian as freshly squeezed orange and infectious even over the phone. Which isn’t to say there’s nothing she’d change about an industry where women remain grossly under-represented behind the bar.

“As a female behind the bar, the one thing I would really change is our customers’ point of view. If there’s a guy behind the bar, they tend to always go to the guy first,” she says. “And there’s always this idea that the vessels for cocktails are feminine and so on – GLASSWARE HAS NO GENDER! Just drink what you want, and what you will enjoy.”

Like so many migrants, Wiseman and her partner arrived in LA with grand plans which have not entirely materialised as yet. “I grew up on the East Coast, lived there my whole life, and my boyfriend and I were looking to open our own restaurant,” she says. “We finally decided what better place to try that than LA? We could have the lifestyle we wanted and the nice weather, so we moved out here. But we’ve not opened that restaurant yet. Life took us different paths.”

Since 2012, both bartending and Los Angeles have proved a land of opportunity. And, judging by her drinks, she’ll stay on that cocktail path for much longer than six years.

Interstellar Space Voyage
.75oz Cherry Heering
1.5oz Lustau Brandy
.75oz Blood Orange juice
.25oz Meyer Lemon juice
.5oz lemon juice
.5oz lemon verbena/pandan syrup*
Method: shake with a few pebbles and pour into tall collins glass
Glass: Collins
Garnish: blood orange wheels, lemon verbena, and marigolds

*Lemon Verbena/Pandan Cordial

5-6 sprigs of lemon verbena

2 pandan leaves

32oz of water

48oz sugar

Bring water to a boil and add lemon verbena and pandan, let simmer together for 5-7 minutes. Strain the lemon verbena and pandan off and add sugar. Yield is about a qt.

 

Heering Classics

Uwe Christiansen & 1984 – One of Heering´s 200 year

Words by: Jeffrey Morgenthaler

The word “legend” is thrown around pretty lightly these days. But what makes a legend? In my opinion, it takes time. And Uwe Christiansen is one of those bartenders who not only has been doing incredible things in his career, he’s been doing them for much, much longer than most.

Uwe began his hospitality career back in 1983, working internationally everywhere from South Africa, to Greece, to cruise ships like the Queen Elizabeth 2. But in 1991 he settled down back in Hamburg, Germany and began a long stint at the legendary Angie’s Nightclub in the Reeperbahn. After six years at one of the craziest bars in Germany, Uwe finally opened his own bar, Christiansen’s Fine Drinks & Cocktails in St. Pauli, Hamburg in 1997.

And from there his career really takes off. Keep in mind that this is well before the cocktail renaissance we’re currently enjoying today. That’s what a revolutionary Uwe is. In 2003 he opened a discotheque. In 2006 he consulted on the Imp Bar in Shanghai. In 2009 he opened a tiki bar. He has an event space in the Reeperbahn that regularly hosts up to 20,000 people. He consults on new products for Lufthansa and Pusser’s Navy Rum. He has his own line of liqueurs. He even has a gin.

Uwe is a member of the exclusive Leaders Club, a European association of selected innovative restaurateurs. He is on the jury of international spirits competitions, writes for several magazines, and has published three books. And in his free time he lives at the Hamburg fish market, rides a motorbike, and works on old cars when he can. Even writing about what he does makes me fatigued.

As an example of Uwe’s legendary career, think about the first time you heard about the Singapore Sling. For me, it was in the late 1990s. For many reading this, it was probably sometime in the past decade. But way back in 1986, Uwe was posted up at the bar at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, tipping the bartender and pressuring him for the exact measures of the Singapore Sling. After a lot of money and a lot of pressure, the bartender eventually acquiesced and copied the recipe for Uwe straight out of the recipe book at the Long Bar.

 

Which is an amazing thought to me, that Uwe was so far ahead of the curve that he was genuinely interested in one of the most classic Cherry Heering cocktails, so interested in fact, that he sought out the recipe from the bar that originally created it. That’s dedication. Uwe is passionate about this stuff, and has been passionate about it for so long that it’s easy to forget that.

The year that Uwe selected is a testament to this: 1984, the year he first began behind the bar. The bar was Charlie Parker’s in Sea Point, Cape Town, South Africa. For Uwe, it was a turning point in his career from supermarket manager to bartender, his first experience with Cherry Heering, and the beginning of a long and prosperous career.

The drink is called Red and White… Dynamite, an ode to the regional soccer fans. And since the North of Germany is so close to Denmark, the cocktail calls for aquavit. Uwe wanted to create a cocktail than anyone can mix at home, a unisex drink, a drink that celebrated everything about home and his history with the place. And that pretty much sums up Uwe: He’s a classic, a product of Hamburg, and dedicated to pushing the boundaries while still keeping an eye on tradition and delivering a good time to his guests.

A good measure of Cherry Heering is mixed with a touch of Danish aquavit, white creme de cacao, and fresh lime juice. The drink is then shaken hard with ice cubes, and strained over crushed ice in an antique glass. The cocktail is garnished with a dried orange and a cherry, and then the whole thing is finished with a red and white paper straw. Red and White… Dynamite!

I’m lucky to know Uwe, and I have such great admiration for the man that has been a leader in our industry for decades. Let’s all raise a class to him and celebrate the fact that he’ll be doing this for many more decades to come.

Red & White Dynamite Cocktail

3cl Cherry Heering

1cl Aalborgs Jubileums Akvavit

2cl Creme de Cacao white

2cl Lime juice

Glass: Antique glass

Garnish: Dehydrated orange wheel, red & white paper straw

Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into glass with crushed ice

Gegam Kazarian & 1887 – One of Heering´s 200 year

Words by: Ashley Pini

Born in Yerevan city, Armenia, Gegam believes his interest in bartending began at the tender age of 5: “When I was young I would pick cherries with my cousins in my grandparents’ garden. I would put them inside the bottle with a little bit of sugar, stir them with a cherry tree branch and leave the mix for a while in the sun. Afterwards we would drink the juice; I certainly call them my first cocktails.”

Gegam spent this childhood “smelling and mixing different products, trying to invent new flavours and smells,” cementing his belief that it was his upbringing that lead him to where he is now: “My grandfather used to make wine and distil it. I remember always staying by his side and helping him in everything I could.”

Other family rituals also played their part in the formation of his career, including his mother’s “precise way of setting the table. I think this showed me that minding each detail is essential, that´s why I don’t use only crystal glasses but different metals; silver, gold, copper, wood, ceramics, organic and natural materials as well, and I take care of every detail when serving a drink,” he added.

Since a child, Gegam said he was taught “to treat my guests with great hospitality. Armenians are very hospitable people and so hospitality is essential for me.”

Following an imaginative upbringing, Gegam began working in a Mexican restaurant to pay his University fees. He worked his way up through the ranks, spending time working as a steward, waiter and assistant, as well as in the kitchen and bakery departments to broaden his knowledge: “I also worked as a sommelier, and all this acquired knowledge has helped me to become the man I am now,” he added.

Today Gegam enjoys “watching how my guests enjoy the experiences and the different sensations that cocktails produce. I love to serve people, and it gives me great pleasure,” he said.

He continued “I love tasting different types of food. I enjoy experiencing different tastes and fragrances, searching and acquiring new ingredients for my cocktails.”

“I get motivated by my projects and my journeys; connecting with different ethnic cultures, lifestyles, experiences, origins through the sense of taste. I want people to experience different sensations.”

Finding the motivation for his career comes easy to Gegam “My absolute motivation comes from creating sensations to wake up the senses,” he explained. “It doesn’t matter what I have been doing before, or what I am doing now, I take advantage of all of my previous knowledge; martial arts, philosophy, chemistry, medicine, or even my travelling experiences,” he continued.

“I connect them with the ingredients and I pass them over into my cocktails. Through the taste of just a sip of one of my cocktails I aim to transmit my energy, my experiences and my knowledge.”

Despite crediting many mentors that have shaped his journey, Gegam explained “I never imitate at any of them. I carve my own, personal path.”

“Although I’m fond of classic cocktails and I use them as a base for my creations, I like to go my own way. I have my personal, unique concept which incorporates design, aromas, music and lots of other small details, as well as beauty, meditation, my life and my faith,” he added.

Of Cheery Heering, Gegam said “I loved cherry from childhood, so when I tried Cherry Herring I really liked its flavour, and I started using it in my cocktails”.

A love of bartending is clear within Gegam, who if given the chance to change just one thing about the industry would “reinforce the connection between culture and cocktails. If bartenders had more knowledge and thought more about national products, spices, ingredients or herbs than alcohol, it would make me really happy.”

“People have to pass on the knowledge about their country’s ancient liquors, ingredients and products to the next generations to conserve the knowledge about them. I want to see more natural and ethnic ingredients in modern cocktails and less artificial ones. I want people to perceive the cocktail industry not only as alcoholic drinks but from its gastronomical, natural and nutritional point view,” he added.

A lover of his chosen career, Gegam concluded “I think that bartenders are like priests. We listen to lots of different stories and see lots of things happening in our establishments but we never talk about them. Just like the famous three monkeys “I don’t see. I don’t hear. I don’t speak”.

Gegam chose 1887 as the year of his cocktail as it was the year “four Armenian friends: Martin, Tigran, Avet and Arshak, salesmen, inaugurated Raffles Hotel in Singapore, one of the best-known hotels in the world.”

“My cocktail is inspired by the story of my childhood cherries, connected with the origins of the Armenian people, and the creation of Raffles Hotel in 1887,” he finished.

 

Kazari´Sling 

60 ml Ararat Armenian brandy infused with dehydrated pineapple

22.5 ml Cherry Heering

15 ml Palo cortado sherry

20 ml Lemon juice

10 ml Natural artisan grenadine without added sugars

2 Dash Thyme bitters

Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into clay jug.

Garnish: Dehydrated Pineapple with pomegranate beans and Armenian dry cherry lavash,

a traditional Armenian sweet that is made from fruit crushing and drying in the sun.

Glassware: Armenian traditional clay jug

Aki Wang & 1950 – One of Heering´s 200 year

Words by: Maggie Beale

Aki Wang has been creating a positive link between Chinese culture and international cocktail trends by founding the International Bartender’s Week Taiwan (BWT)

Acknowledged as the Godfather of Chinese cocktails, 23-year veteran Aki Wang is a true pioneer in bringing Chinese ingredients and culture into the international cocktail scene. He has created a welcome style of blending beverage with art to present a new image of the Chinese cocktail industry since he launched BWT in 2015. With positivity, Aki also perceives his responsibilities toward education by training newcomers in the industry.

He tells us, “The core spirit of BWT is about Education, Hospitality and Sustainability. Every November we invite the most influential bar industry professionals to come to Taiwan to share their experiences with our new generation through seminars to bring industry knowledge to a new level.

“Also, as guest bartenders they give consumers an opportunity to understand more on the trends of the cocktail world – and also, through interactive learning to discover more about our culture. It also demonstrates the passion and dignity that is to be found in a bartending career, and to enhance the quality and aspirations of Chinese bartenders.

“Besides the event we have also made the BWT website the official bar-social-media platform to spread the news of our industry.”

Aki Wang has been in the F&B business for 23 years years since he started working in restaurants at the tender age of 16. He has been an international cocktail competition champion three times with one of his most outstanding achievements being the Belvedere International Cocktail Competition in 2007 which was the one that has exerted the greatest influence in his career.

In 2001, he established the Indulge Life Hospitality Group that has grown to span almost every aspect of the hospitality industry – from bar ownership to management consulting, graphic design, interior design and construction, wine and spirits import, and even horticulture. Among these ventures, there are four award-winning restaurants and bars including Indulge Experimental Bistro that in 2017 became No.28 in the World’s 50 Best Bars and No.5 in Asia’s 50 Best Bars.

Indulge Experimental Bistro was set up in 2009 following his return to Taiwan after a stint working around Europe and the United States as brand ambassador for Podolski vodka. The venue encapsulates much of Aki’s philosophy about food and drink. And the street frontage incorporates a small herb garden that grows supplies for the bar and kitchen.

The ground floor space is light and airy featuring Taiwan-inspired fusion cuisine paired with wines and white spirits – especially gin. The menu, designed like a map, is a literal culinary tour of Taiwan showcasing fresh and unique produce from each of the territory’s four main regions. Its basement floor is an intimate space attributing to brown spirits and barrel-aged cocktails.

On the latest trends, Aki says, “First of all, we now have more opportunity to work with the chef – to learn from the gastronomy side to bring some unusual flavours to the mix. It makes the consumer curious on tasting the vast possibilities of themed cocktails.

“Also, bartenders around the world are now doing very well in bringing their regional cultures into harmony through cocktails. This enables them to introduce to the world their countries own identity and style. Today, it’s like a real world village where everyone can easily accept the things from each other. You can learn new things from different places in order to increase your ability to bartend and to further develop your own personality and style.”

Of his memorable Herring experience, Aki says, “I cannot forget the most simple but tasty cocktail created by Ueno San @ Bar High Five in 2012 – just a mix of Cherry Heering Liqueur with Bourbon Whiskey  – but these two ingredients gave an amazing flavour. That was definitely one of the best cocktails of my life and it will remain in my memory forever.”

To commemorate Heering’s 200th anniversary, Aki has selected the period of the 1950’s as he teels us,  “During that period in Taiwan, we had some serious political issues where no one was able to easily drink alcohol.

“It was also a period that brought great prosperity to Taiwan’s tea business. We exported our tea all over the world – to almost 40 countries. So everyone could have tea with any liquor during that time and pretend that they were only drinking tea. Today, tea is still the highest selling beverage in volume and the most influential drink in Taiwan. This is why I keep contributing to the Tea & Cocktail Mixology of Taiwan and delivering this message to the world.”

Aki adds, “There are many flavours and different types of tea in Taiwan. Tea is not that complicated to understand – even for people who have no idea about it. It’s just like wine and whisky that are affected by geographic locations and regions. For example, certain wines can only come from specific regions such as the quality wines of Bordeaux. This can be also be said about the Oriental Beauty Tea that legally can only come from a specific region in Taiwan. Scotland has Highland Single Malt Whisky – similarly we have High Mount Tea which has to come from a certain elevation and is processed in a specific way.”

 

ABOVE & BEYOND Cocktail

30ml Cherry Heering Liqueur

15ml Michter’s US*1 Bourbon Whiskey

15ml Martell Cordon Bleu Cognac

30ml Bruichladdich Classic Laddie Single Malt Whisky

60ml Homemade Oolong Tea & Spice Infuse

 

Homemade ingredient:-

Homemade Oolong Tea & Spice

5gm Typical Oolong Tea

300ml Boiling Water

75gm White Sugar

1 stick Cinnamon Stick

10 pcs Red Pepper

25ml Champagne Vinegar

 

Method: Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled cup

Garnish: Dehydrated Flower & Tea Leaf.

Glass:  Specialty Clay Tea Cup / O Style Snifter Glass

Carlos Irizarry & 1937 – One of Heering´s 200 year

Words by: Theodora Sutcliffe

In 1937, Rafael Hernández Marín, Puerto Rico’s most famous songwriter, wrote a bolero song that travelled around the world. Its name? Preciosa, or “Precious”.

“I see this song as a great representation of our culture in that year,” says Carlos Irizarry, general manager of La Factoría, the Caribbean island’s first (and foremost) artisan cocktail bar. “He crafted a cultural expression that became a statement of our love and pride for Puerto Rico: a song of hope and strength through hard times, and a celebration of its beauty and tenderness.”

While Irizarry cut his bartending chops at Havana Central, a Times Square Cuban joint, home is where his heart is. Under his tenure, La Factoría, a shabby-chic spot in the heart of San Juan’s Old Town, has risen to a level that stands far above the island’s tourist-industrial complex. It holds Puerto Rico’s only spot on the coveted World’s 50 Best Bars list and has blazed a trail for others to follow.

Which isn’t to say that Puerto Rico has zero cocktail heritage. In 1954, Ramon “Monchito” Marrero invented the Piña Colada at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan. Over six decades later the drink remains ubiquitous islandwide. “It’s funny how a cocktail that’s been created in the context of a hotel and a tropical vacation has a different meaning for Puerto Ricans,” Irizarry says, recalling how his father used to treat him to Piña Coladas at basketball games as a kid. “It’s what my mother would make whenever there’s a Christmas party or another big event: you can find a Piña Colada almost everywhere in Puerto Rico.”

Irizarry’s Preciosa cocktail, while based on Puerto Rican rum, is a long way from tropical clichés or Tiki stylings. “Café, ron y cherries: this is the taste of my island,” he says. “I tried to evoke some Puerto Rican flavours and combine them with the sophisticated palate of European cocktail culture at that time.”

1937 was, Irizarry explains, a bad year for Puerto Rico, as it grappled with the Great Depression – Marín wrote a song which translates as “Puerto Rico’s Lament” that year – yet the island found strength through trauma. Today, after the devastation of the 2017 hurricane, Puerto Rico is demonstrating its resilience once again.

“It’s very interesting what is going on: I think we have been put through a very high challenge, which I don’t understand as 100% negative,” Irizarry says. “Obviously it has been devastating in a lot of ways, but it has been a blessing in some ways. The position of finding ourselves completely unmasked by the forces of nature is an opportunity to reveal who we truly are.”

That’s not to say Hurricane Maria passed Irizarry by. He and his girlfriend watched in terror from their apartment, wondering whether their reinforced glass windows would hold against the storm. Four months later, his mother, like many Puerto Ricans outside the capital, is still living without power.

The US response to the disaster has been widely criticised but, says Irizarry, Puerto Ricans helped one another. “The response and the aid came from the people: people took care of each other, no waiting for the government, and I felt very safe,” he says. “I was part of a very strong industry group – we opened up places for people to eat, places for people to get together or charge their phones.”

Experiencing climate change in action has shown Irizarry how very important sustainability is in the bar industry. Yet Maria shaped his professional life in more ways than that. “There was no power in all of Old San Juan for two months, so we needed to figure out a way to preserve what we had: the fruits, the vegetables, the ingredients and produce,” he says. “At the same time, we couldn’t open for business: they make a dry law when these situations happen.”

More devastatingly, as life, at least in San Juan, began to return to normal, longer-term impacts are emerging. Some of La Factoría’s staff joined the hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans who have fled to the US, a massive loss to an island home to under 4,000,000 people. Tourism, a major economic driver here as for other Caribbean islands, has been decimated.

Yet, as he prepares for the fiesta of San Sebastián, Irizarry’s Puerto Rican positivity and passion shines through. It’s a spirit Marín would have recognised.

“The message of the song is that you are beautiful and you are strong and you will persist even though you are in pain, and that song is very powerful because of that,” says Irizarry. “And I see a mirroring with the situation that’s going on right now: although there’s a struggle, there’s a very hopeful side, a very hopeful mindset to work with all these challenges.”

Preciosa Cocktail

1.5oz Don Q Gran Añejo Rum

1/2oz Barrilito Rum

1/2oz lima/limon (50/50 lime-lemon juice)

1/2oz simple syrup

3/4oz Cherry Heering

1/4oz Campari

3 dash Angostura Bitters

1 drop Baraka Puerto Rican coffee tincture
Method: Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into a chilled glass

Glass: Coupe

Garnish: with crushed coffee beans on half of the cocktail

 

Ana Maria Tarrus & 1955 – One of Heering´s 200 year

Words by: Fabio Bacchi

A cosmopolitan mind-set, with that fun-loving Latin touch (she’s from Girona after all), which helps her find the best in every situation. Ana Maria Tarrus, brand coordinator of Molinari in Italy, joined the spirit industry six years ago. She came from an illustrious, very different career path, working for international companies at the forefront of technology, such as Airbus and the Eurofighter project.

When Ana Maria Tarrus arrived in Italy, she decided to settle there because she saw that it was the cradle of that culture which she loved so much. She loves that bartender’s soul made of inspiration, creativity and hospitality. She values it in every country where for work she meets a bartender who expresses it. The phrase said by someone who fully understands the essence of the bartending industry is enlightening: “You can’t pretend to be someone you aren’t in bartending. Your real self comes through. In this way, professional sharing is very typical, and can be used to leverage the growth of the role of the bartender more and more. Bartenders share their experiences, they exchange information. In this way great attention is paid to their professional role.”

The art of meeting and getting to know people

The social aspect of the bar and spirit industry drew Ana Maria in from the get go. “Personal involvement is so prevalent that once you’re a part of it, it’s difficult getting out. You get to know people closely,” explains Ana Maria. She speaks like one who has been swept away, captivated by this world that she regards as her natural environment. “I’ve had wonderful professional experiences, within major companies, but of course within rigid structures and the limits of perfection, they were cold. Then I met Angelo Molinari of the famous Sambuca and everything changed.” In this way Ana found herself being part of that touring circus that moves from one bar show to the next. She met bartenders and figures within the spirit industry. “I was at the Athens Bar Show last November with our mixologist and suddenly our distribution partner in Greece showed up at our stand with a wonderful woman. I remember hearing here and there among our mixologist and bartenders friends: There is Mrs Heering! There is Mrs Heering! I immediately imagined that that woman was an institution as well the product she represents! Adéle Robberstad was then introduced to us and from the first moment we shared a wonderful chemistry that led us to run around the fair, visiting other brands and friends, sharing drinks and great jokes. Our humour, curiosity and passion for our products made that evening an amazing cocktail of moments, which “Heeringsed” our hearts and brought us to wish and hope that our products can match as well as our souls!”

Thoughts on the present and future of the industry

“Bartenders are becoming more professional as happened to chefs worldwide a couple of decades ago. In my opinion, this has two positive aspects: on the one hand they are able to understand the products better and combine more flavours and aromas, providing the opportunity of mixing ingredients more and better as happens in a cocktail. On the other hand, this brings them also to rediscover traditional and quality products. I believe that two aspects are important in the future of the spirit industry. These are responsible drinking and the increasing focus on the environment. These are the focus for all family companies which recognise themes in their history and their own values. We’ve continued to make consumers aware of the importance of responsible drinking with advertising campaigns; the last one was in Italy in 2013. As for the environment, we believe that this issue affects us all, and we all need to contribute to safeguarding it.

The year celebrating the Cherry Heering bicentenary

1955 was the beginning of the famous Dolce Vita. More and more movie stars came from all over the world to shoot movies in the Cinecittà studios of Rome and were seen in the city centre, particularly in Via Veneto. It was also the year that Sambuca Molinari was introduced to the jet set. For this cocktail, Ana Maria: I’ve called on the collaboration of Antonio Parlapiano from the Jerry Thomas Project Speakeasy in Rome. The proposed cocktail for the Cherry Heering bicentenary is a reinterpretation of Ngiam Tong Boon’s Singapore Sling,with an Italian twist to achieve a balanced flavour of Arrack from Goa.

The Arrack Job Cocktail

Ingredients

20 ml Molinari Sambuca

30 ml Cherry Heering

30 ml lime juice

45 ml freshly squeezed pineapple juice

2 dashes of Angostura

Top with herbal soda (quinine, gentian and absinthe soda)

Method: shake

Glassware: high and narrow tumbler without ice

Garnish: dried pineapple

 

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