Antonio Lai & 1997 – One of Heering´s 200 year

Words by: Jenny Adams

“I remember having my first drink at a bar in 1997 and watching the bartender flair with such ease and grace,” recalls Barman Antonio Lai, warmly. “I remember thinking, ‘I want to be just like them.’”

For some, a moment like this might prove a passing fancy. For Lai, it would change his life. That change in his career path would in turn change Hong Kong’s bar scene for the better forever.

Today, you’ll find Antonio Lai in a dapper suit several nights a week, tending to an eager crowds at his bar, Quinary. The crowd is often equally split between locals and expats, foreigners there on business and tourists looking to experience the best liquid flavors in a town known for culinary melting-pot prowess.

When Cherry Heering sought a slew of great tenders around the world to commemorate their upcoming 200thanniversary in 2018, Antonio Lai was the obvious choice for Hong Kong. They posed the question, “What year would you choose in our 200-year history to build a drink around and why?”

For Lai, it had to be 1997––a year of Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule. A year of hot summer nights and the ubiquitous Long Island Iced Tea.

“The handover ceremony of Hong Kong in 1997 officially marked the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the People’s Republic of China,” he says. “It was an internationally televised event with the ceremony commencing on the night of June 30, 1997 and finishing on the first of July.”

As the world changed forever for the citizens of Hong Kong outside, inside of his own head, Antonio Lai was plotting a course that would change the city’s landscape for drinks. He didn’t know it at the time, but his decision to pursue bartending full-time in that year would result in the city’s modern love affair with his current playful takes on serious libations. From a start in flair bartending at Hong Kong’s Planet Hollywood in these new ‘90s days, he would go on to be a leader in molecular drink creation. Lai and his partners would eventually form Tastings Group––which today owns and operates five illustrious craft cocktail bars in the city, including Ori-gin, Angel’s Share, and the Envoy bar at the Pottinger Hotel.

When you mention 1997 to him, his first thought is of the nights when a seemingly endless amount of Long Island Iced Teas were ordered. He set out to recreate the original––a drink often maligned for being too many spirits at once––to make it something proud and palatable.

“Finding a recipe which is, in both parts, iconic and easily referred to while having the room to play with techniques and ingredients to make it fit the theme,” he says was the biggest challenge of Cherry Heering’s request to honor the year with a drink. “I chose the Long Island Iced Tea because of its controversial nature in the world of modern mixology,” he laughs. “Some bartenders have been known to refuse to make them altogether. I servedit with a twist, by using Cherry Heering instead of Cointreau for a bright red version that’s the same color as the flag of Hong Kong. I added Aquavit instead of vodka for a Danish interpretation, as homage to Cherry Heering’s long heritage. This cocktail was my memory of a new chapter to come, both for my home country and the world of cocktails.”

He named this new drink The Hong Kong Island, which on the surface might sound simple, but it holds a double meaning in Cantonese. The word Hong sounds like the word Red in this language, a nod to the hue of the flag and to the color of Cherry Heering in the bottle.


His drink recipe is:

15ml Aquavit

15ml London Dry Gin

15ml White Rum

15ml Blanco Tequila

20ml Lemon Juice

20ml Cherry Heering

“It’s shaken in a Perlini shaker and strained, with a float of Sprite/Lemonade, garnished with lemon twist and cherry in a Sling Glass,” says Lai.Sprite Super Lemon was released as a Slurpee flavor in Hong Kong in 2003, and I was instantly hooked, because it reminded me of Super Lemon––a popular sour candy in Hong Kong, especially amongst kids. Growing up, cherries were my favorite fruit, but it was subject to seasonal availability. So, I could only enjoy it for a few months during the year. So, I think of this as a combined realization of my favorite childhood flavors.”

Today, if you have the pleasure to sit at any of his illustrious outposts in the city, you’ll open menus to find Multisensory Mixology––a coin he termed for his drink design style. Playful uses of smoke and rare Japanese fruits, tiny moments of detail and adept skill with citric acid make each concoction truly one-of-a-kind. You’ll also find a plastic flamingo or a little bathtub replacing the glassware, because Lai is still a kid at heart, if anything. Those days of Planet Hollywood certainly taught him that.



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.


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.




Evelyn Chick & 1841 – one of Heering´s 200 years

Words by: Jenny Adams

This talented bartender opens up about her youngest introduction to the beauty of drink design and the challenge of honoring Cherry Heering’s Bicentennial in 2018

What’s in a year? So many memories on a personal level. But in some years, there is catastrophic change, be it good or bad. Cherry Heering is set to celebrate 200 in business in 2018. It’s a milestone the brand will mark by contacting the most illustrious bartenders around the globe, giving each the option to take one year and divulge what it means in terms of not only drink culture but of global humanity.

Hong-Kong-born Evelyn Chick works today in Toronto, at the acclaimed bar PrettyUgly on Queen Street. Petite, known for a love of and a skill with gin tipples and a famously warm smile, she was a natural choice for Cherry Herring in the endeavor. Her year of choice was 1841––and there’s a lot to be said for the moments within.

The year of 1841 was a big one globally. In New York City, America’s first steam-powered fire truck engine was tested. New Zealand was proclaimed an independent colony from New South Wales, and Queens University in Ontario, Canada got its charter.

However, for Asia, the years leading up to 1841were times of upheaval, war, a drug crisis and a trade imbalance.

To fully understand this time, you have to look back to the 1700s and early 1800s.  Europe was experiencing a period of high demand for Chinese imports––particularly tea, porcelain and silk. The Chinese were rapidly seeking silver, imported from Europe.

However, for the British importing this silver, the sales were restricted by law to the southern port of Canton, and this was creating tension.

To evade these regulations, traders in the British East India Company began auctioning opium to independent traders in exchange for the English silver. The drugs then made their way up the coastline and into central China. It would create not only a rise in opium addiction around this region, but also a serious trade imbalance. This would all come to a climax in 1839, known as the First Opium War. It lasted from 1839 to 1842.

It was in 1841 that China ceded the island of Hong Kong to the British, officially signing the Treaty of Nanking in ‘42. The island and its inhabitants became a Crown Colony of the British Empire. It would remain under Great Britain until 1997.

“Though the history that led to this event was a blood bath from the Opium War, the influx of European immigrants allowed this tiny military staging point grow to a culturally rich, international city of 7.3 million in population,” offers Evelyn Chick, who grew up in Hong Kong until the age of 15 and wanted this pivotal year of 1841 in order to inspire and craft her cocktail––the Bad Blood.

She formulated a beautiful a mix of Laphroaig Select Scotch, LBV Port, a half-ounce of Cherry Heering and three-quarters ounce of Spanish sweet vermouth.

“The Bad Blood cocktail signifies the gleam of hope and growth coming from a seemingly devastating event,” she says. It’s a slight play on the famous Blood & Sand, without the citrus. The Port adds the drink’s necessary acidity.

Known for her simple executions of complex flavors in a glass, Chick works to adapt her menus to the palates of her guests, whether it’s at the bar at PrettyUgly or at her own home entertaining. In fact, her fascination with drink design began at a very early age, in her childhood, Hong Kong home. She often joined her parents when they hosted business meetings, serving up, Chick recalls, an array of beautiful wines, Martinis, Port and Scotch whisky.

“I wanted to be involved, and was constantly finding ways to ‘host’ my father’s foreign business partners,” she laughs, “by shaking up zero-proof cocktails at home. Hence, I took interest upon spirits and wine at a young age.”

Cherry Heering was among these early introductions, if in name alone. “I remember the fascination towards the Singapore Sling, and the economic status it carried if you knew how to order it at a bar,” she recalls. An early admiration would lead to a significant moment for Chick in Asia, as her career blossomed.

“A few years back, I had the privilege of being the first-ever guest bartender at the Long Bar in the famed Raffles Hotel in Singapore during the inaugural Singapore Cocktail Week,” she says. “It was incredible to watch the volume of Singapore Slings that went out from that bar to serve guests from all over the world. I made a menu surrounding Cherry Heering and had the pleasure to make a few Singapore Slings using the original recipe in its home bar. It was a bucket list experience.”

 Bad Blood 

1 oz Laphroaig Select

0.5 oz LBV Port

0.5 oz Cherry Heering

0.75 oz Spanish Sweet Vermouth

Pour ingredients over one large cube in an Old Fashioned glass, stir to dilute and zest an orange peel over top to release oils.

Garnish with an Orange peel






August — 2016 (London, England) In classic fashion, Peter F. Heering® announces the 10 global semifinalists of the 2016 Peter F. Heering® Classic Challenge. The CHERRY HEERING® 10 global bar star semifinalists will appear in London, England as the 2016 Peter F. Heering® Classic Challenge embarks on the final rounds of competition leading into the grand finale of the 2016 Peter F. Heering® Classic Challenge, all taking place during the famed London Cocktail Week (October 4th – 6th 2016).


 “The 2016 Peter F. Heering® Classic Challenge culminating in London against the backdrop of London Cocktail Week and the announcement of the World’s Top 50 Bars simply elevates and puts an incredibly bright spotlight on all of the creative efforts and talents of these elite bar men and women”, said Adéle Robberstad, CEO Peter F. HeeringThey have earned this stage and this recognition, they are Cherry Heering.”

♣     AUSTRALIA I Pita Dixon I Joe Taylor, Melbourne I The Right Way

♣     CANADA I Andrew Schneider I Vij´s Restaurant, Vancouver I Mount Pleasant

 ♣     GREECE I Akis Kalogritsas I Cadillac Records Cocktail Bar, Karditsa I Rubik´s Cube

 ♣     HONG KONG I Lui Hiu Na I The American Club, Hong Kong I “Dancing Queen”

 ♣     LUXEMBOURG I Dawid Guzik I Octan´s Spirited Bar, Luxembourg I Secret Clover”  

♣     NEW ZEALAND I Laura Walker I Hawthorn Lounge, Wellington I Blood From A Stone

♣     SINGAPORE I Adriel Ang I Sarnies, Singapore I Cherry-Let

♣     SWEDEN I Carl Wiman I YUC Mexican, Stockholm I Heering is Keering

♣     UNITED KINGDOM I Grant Murray I Scotch and Rye, Inverness I Brace Position

♣     UNITED STATES OF AMERICA I Michael Riojas I Armadillo Palace, Houston I Cherry Bomb”

The 2016 Peter F. Heering® Classic Challenge top 10 semi-finalists will be flown out to London and compete live, shaking up their inspired modern classic cocktail with CHERRY HEERING®. The semi-finalists will present in person their CHERRY HEERING® cocktail contribution to an international jury who will choose five finalists from the ten.

The CHERRY HEERING® inspired finale will take place October 6th at Joyeux Bordel London where the five finalists will personally present their CHERRY HEERING® modern classic cocktails and philosophy behind. The 2016 Peter F. Heering® Classic Challenge winner receives €500, a Stelton Shaker and global media exposure

Apart from the honor and media attention, all ten 2016 Peter F. Heering® Classic Challenge semi-finalists will receive airfare and four hotel nights in vibrant London, and they will all be part of the Global Heering Legend program filmed by bar legend Simon Difford – The Heering Legends on Diffords Guide.

2016 Peter F. Heering® Classic Challenge – Global Jury

♣     Simon Difford – Simon Difford is one of the worlds most renowned and respected drinks experts. Simon writes and publishes the Difford’s Guide range of drinks related books, the best known being ‘Difford’s Guide – Cocktails’ with 3,000 color-illustrated recipes.  He is also the creator of London Cocktail Week, the UK’s biggest cocktail festival.

♣     David WondrichEsquire Magazine’s drinks correspondent, James Beard Award Winner for his book Imbibe! and founding partner on Beverage Alcohol Resource, the United States leading training program for bartenders and other mixologists

♣     Din Hassan – A veteran from the Singapore nightlife industry, Din’s experience behind the bar has been one of the most fulfilling and rewarding in our time. Din is one of the academy members of The World’s 50 Best Bars and Asia’s 50 Best Bars

♣     Hamish Smith – A multi-award winning drinks journalist at Drinks International Magazine, where he is deputy editor, and CLASS, where he is editor. As part of his role at Drinks International he is the co-ordinator of the The World’s 50 Best Bars poll and editor of the brand’s series of magazines. 

♣     Lauren Mote – Co-proprietor of Bittered Sling, a wildly successful line of high quality small batch cocktail and culinary bitters and Beverage Consultant at the Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver, BC Canada

♣     Charlene Dawes – Managing Director and Owner of Tastings Group Limited, overseeing six specialty bars & restaurants in the Central district, Hong Kong. One of them “Quinary” was named one of the “World’s 50 Best Bars from 2013 to 2016 by Drinks International Magazine.



HEERING liqueur is sold in more than 100 countries all over the world.

CHERRY HEERING® is an intricate and indispensable component of iconic cocktails such as The Singapore Sling and Blood & Sand, which is exactly how CHERRY HEERING® likes to be seen; as an accessory that adds lavishness, extravagance and civilization to the mix.

CHERRY HEERING® continues to evolve and recognize that even the timeless classics need a refreshing remake now and then, thus CHERRY HEERING® has challenged the best of the best behind the world’s bars to create their own modern classic interpretation of The Singapore Sling and also possibly writing their name in the history of cocktails.

THE PETER F. HEERING CLASSIC CHALLENGE® is an annual global bartender competition that asks bartenders from around the globe to pick a modern classic cocktail and modernize it with a twist and shake that best defines their talent, taste, personality and what most inspires them about using CHERRY HEERING® in a modern classic cocktail revision.

HEERING® COFFEE liqueur is made from a recipe using only natural ingredients and with no additives or artificial coloring. The base is a smooth blend of Caribbean rum, coffee and cacao. COFFEE HEERING® and CHERRY HEERING® are both OU certified.

COFFEE HEERING® was announced as the Liqueur of the Year at the Annual Bar Biz Spirits Competition by the Editorial and Publishing Staff of the Bar Business Magazine.

For more information about Peter F. Heering, please visit

 MEDIA Contact: United States | James Monahan | |(m) 917.826.9449

MEDIA Contact: Global | Anna-Karin Olofsson | | Peter F Heering

(o) +46 8 412 60 40 (m) +46 70 23 99 100

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