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40% Alcohol, 100% Hong Kong

40度酒精,100分香港

Sonic Chan 

Mixiologist of Topiary

Winner of Malt & Spirits x Monkey Shoulder Mixiologist Competition

A 100% Hongkongese. Sonic emphasized it at the very beginning of the interview as he was born and raised in Hong Kong. His sense of belonging drove him to join the Hong-Kong-themed cocktail competition. The identity of being a Hongkongese is the sharpest weapon of this passionate young man.

Early Development

 

The story of becoming a mixiologist began when Sonic was young. During his leisure time, he went to a cocktail school to learn bartending out of curiosity. All of a sudden, the diversified combinations of liquid and ingredients captured the heart of this young man. Such complexity of flavor of cocktails impressed him a lot. This beautiful encounter shook the world of the youngster. Sonic’s maturity lead to a façade that he worked in the industry for a long time. As a matter of fact, the very first job since his graduation is his current one, where he has worked for around 1 year. Sonic concluded the question by thanking his teacher Wallace who brought him to the bartending world and taught him professional knowledge.

  

Explore Mixiology

Other than a coincidental encounter with cocktails, there was something even more inspiring. What Sonic learnt from a cocktail school earned him the basic of bartending but the cocktail world was far more colossal than he imagined. As the cocktail trend in Hong Kong and mixing techniques advanced a lot in recent years, Sonic found that mixiologists could innovate the recipes on hand to provide further flavorful enjoyments to cocktail lovers. The use of dry ice and smoke epitomizes the revolution of mixiology. It provides visual entertainment to guests which traditional cocktails lack. Sonic firmly believed it would be the vogue of the industry. These experiences solidified his determination of becoming an outstanding mixiologist.

A Taste of Culture

The ecstatic triumph for Malt & Spirits x Monkey Shoulder Mixiologist Competition erected a milestone for Sonic. His talents and efforts were recognized by the industry. Sonic’s dream was not only to be an excellent bartender, but also creating the taste of Hong Kong, a real authentic one. Here came Yum Cha – the awarded cocktail of the competition. Yum Cha literally means drinking tea or going to a dim sum restaurant in Cantonese. There is a greeting in Cantonese: Have tea when available. The tea and dim sum culture represent the daily life of Hong Kong people. That was the reason why Sonic made this cocktail – to fully express the culture and local tastes.

Let’s Yum Cha!

Sonic specifically looked for ingredients that were present in Hong Kong only during the preparation of Yum Cha. It was a breakthrough in cocktail making as well as sticking to the theme of the competition. Sonic first mixed wolfberry purée and crystal sugar and prepared concentrated osmanthus tea. Then blended them with Monkey Shoulder whisky. Extra care was essential to cope with these unique cocktail ingredients. Sonic drew a larger amount of air than usual when shaking to produce a layer of foam, smoothening the texture of osmanthus tea. Yum Cha used freshly made wolfberry osmanthus pastry as a one of a kind garnish to be in line with the theme and local culture.

Why Monkey Shoulder?

As a mixiologist having used numerous whisky to be base spirits of mixing cocktails, Sonic is surely familiar with Monkey Shoulder. Their whisky is blended from 3 Speyside single malts to make it smooth, versatile and approachable. The blending took advantage of the different style of 3 malts to produce a masterpiece full of complex flavors. The vanilla, spicy and creamy aroma and relatively low alcohol level attract lots of Asian palate. These pros also benefit cocktail making. Sonic remembered he had memorable experiences to mix fruit-forward cocktails using Monkey Shoulder.

Sonic Chan 

Topiary的調酒師

香港地‧香港味調酒師大賽冠軍

百份百香港人。Sonic自訪問開始即強調他在香港出生及長大這重身份,他對香港這塊寶地的歸屬感驅使他參與是次以香港為主題的調酒比賽。香港人的身份是這位熱情的年輕人最大的武器。

 

早年發展

Sonic在年輕的時候已經接觸調酒。出於好奇,他在空餘時間到調酒學校去學習如何成為一位調酒師。突然間,不同液體之間的多變組合牢牢地把這年輕人的芳心抓著,雞尾酒的複雜味道在他心中留下深刻印象,與雞尾酒的邂逅震撼了他的世界
。Sonic不乎年紀的成熟予人一個已經在行內工作多年的假象,但其實他的經驗只有從畢業後到現職的一年多。完結回答時他亦不忘初衷,感謝他的老師Wallace帶他進入調酒師世界及傳授專業知識予他。

探索調酒的學問

除了與雞尾酒的偶遇,還有一些鼓舞Sonic的東西。調酒學校的確能教授他基本功,但原來調酒世界遠遠比他想像中大。自從香港的雞尾酒潮流及調酒技術大大改進之後,Sonic發現調酒師可以把手上的配方加以發揮,為一眾雞尾酒愛好者帶來更多味道享受。使用乾冰及煙霧成為了改革調酒學的典範,有別於傳統雞尾酒,它們帶來了視覺娛樂。Sonic確信這是調酒業未來的趨勢,而這些經驗更加鞏固成為一位出眾調酒大師的決心。

品茗文化

 

勝出香港地‧香港味調酒師大賽為Sonic豎立了一個里程碑,他的天賦及努力被業界備受肯定。Sonic的夢想不單是要成為一位出色的調酒師,更想製造香港的口味,一款真正本地的味道,得獎作品飲茶便因而誕生。飲茶除了字面意思,在廣東話當中亦指去茶樓吃喝。廣東話亦有一句客套用語:得閒飲茶,意即有空喝茶。飲茶及點心文化一直代表香港人的日常生活,因此Sonic為了完全表現本地文化與口味,便調製了此酒。

得閒飲茶!

為了準備飲茶這杯雞尾酒,Sonic特定搜羅了只有香港才有的材料,是調製雞尾酒的一項突破,更是貼切主題的一個主意。Sonic首先混合杞子蓉及冰糖,然後再準備濃縮桂花茶,接著便把它們與Monkey Shoulder威士忌混合。要小心處理這些獨特的雞尾酒材料,Sonic在搖動材料時需要帶入比平常更多的空氣,旨意製造一層泡沫,令桂花茶的質感更順滑。飲茶使用新鮮製造的桂花糕為獨一無二的雞尾酒裝飾,完全切合主題需要。

為什麼用Monkey Shoulder?

作為利用威士忌作基酒調配無數雞尾酒,Sonic當然熟悉Monkey Shoulder。它的威士忌混合3款來自Speyside的單一麥芽威士忌,製作出滑溜、萬用及平易近人的威士忌。這個混合方式利用3種麥芽的優點,製成這款洋溢複雜味道的傑作。它散發出的雲呢拿、香料及奶油香氣和較低的酒精度吸引了很多亞洲人。這些優點亦有利調配雞尾酒,Sonic說他有極多使用Monkey Shoulder製作果味濃郁雞尾酒的深刻回憶。

Text : Ching Yeung
Design : Inti Kong

Photos : Leo So
Venue : Topiary