Hard work conquers all
When a mixologist performs a spectacular shake, there had been a great deal of practice. You can see that kind of hard work on Leo Cheung of Alibi.
A Hong Kong native, Leo made his step into the food and beverage business after studying hotel management in a career college. But his first encounter with alcohol wasn’t cocktail but grape wine. “During internship I was sent to a fine dining restaurant, and my supervisor was an experienced sommelier. To train my nose, he gave me 10 glasses of wine every day – only to be smelt not drunk. I have then developed sensitivity for wine.” The ability to appreciate the complexity and delicateness of wine’s taste was a solid foundation for his mixing later.
He later worked for the Japanese bar Butler, where he came to understand the rigor of Japanese mixology. Leo demanded highly of himself, probably influenced by his master, who have worked in some of the top bars in Ginza, Tokyo, where competition was fierce. He said of how his mind was filled with practising: “When I was holding my toothbrush with my right hand, I was turning a bar spoon with my left.” He has also learned about Japanese norm: “There are more than 200 rules regarding just how to stand in front of the bar.” Troublesome it may seem, but all these gave him a sense how to care about his customer down to every detail, and how to realize the exact taste in him mind by precise craftmanship.
Leo have won second prize in Chivas Masters Hong Kong 2017 cocktail competition. His Yum-Cha Regal reflects his thoughts about matching tastes. “To express Hong Kong in a cocktail, icons like egg tarts and milk tea have been overused and at the same time too westernized. On the other hand, yum-cha is a particularly Guangdong culture, which is why I added aged Pu-er tea in my cocktail. Because food is the soul of Yum-Cha, while the tea is to neutralise the greasiness. The drink goes with Cha Siu (sweet barbecued pork) with sunny side up egg, hoping you can associate the tastiness with the signature food in the Stephen Chow film “God of Cookery.” Here goes the recipe of this amazing cocktail.
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45ml Chivas 12Y Whisky
20ml homemade Umami liqueur
10ml Fresh lemon juice
75ml Puer tea
4 dash of Lavender bitters
3 dash of homemade mushroom oil
Pair with BBQ pork, Pan fried Quail egg and Chopped spring onion
Shake the ingredients without Puer tea and Mushroom oil and pour into tea cup,
On top with Puer tea, dash the mushroom oil on top and garnish with lavender seed.
Chivas Master 2017香港區比賽在上月完滿結束，由Aberdeen Street Social、來自加拿大的Ryan Nightingale奪得冠軍。來自加拿大有甚麼特別？因為比賽分三個部份，每名參賽者分別要做三杯飲品，一杯紐約經典風格，一杯本土主題，再加一杯東京風的。而為Ryan贏得這個獎項的關鍵，正是本土主題的Noble Bean。參賽者裡有不少土生土長香港調酒師，Noble Bean到底有甚麼致勝之處？
原來豉油早已成為Ryan的秘密武器，在調Bloody Mary時，他已試過以豉油代鹽，而客人也相當受落。今次豉油夾豆奶，就更成了黃豆二重奏。「這（Noble bean）是一杯像甜品的雞尾酒，甜美得來又帶點鹹味，就像英國人喜愛的海鹽焦糖口味。」他解釋Chivas是蘇格蘭威士忌，而蘇格蘭在海風影響下，威士忌總帶點鹹味。在Noble bean裡，少許豉油的作用就是讓飲品有一個帶鹹味和多重香氣的收結。別看用上豆奶好像有點孩子氣，飲起來威士忌和鹹味接連給人味覺衝擊，甜味起了平衡和點綴的作用，這是一杯味道有力而知性的雞尾酒。
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15ml Tempis Fugit Creme de Cacao