40% Alcohol, 100% Hong Kong
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.
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.
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.
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