The Employment and Employabilty Institute (E2i) has a new series of masterclasses and events in the works to help bartenders and mixologists upskill.
A week ago, three of the best mixologists in Asia—Vijay Mudaliar of Native Bar, Singapore, Samuel Kwok of Quinary, Hong Kong, and Hiroyasu Kayama of Bar Benfiddich, Tokyo—gathered in Singapore to conduct two masterclasses and a cocktail pairing dinner for bar industry professionals. This marks the soft launch of a new training series under the Employment and Employability Institute‘s Bartender 4.0 programme, aimed at equipping bartenders and mixologists with skills to stay ahead in one of liveliest arenas in F&B.
A comprehensive training roadmap by way of masterclasses, networking events and knowledge sharing sessions is in the works. If last week’s sessions are anything to go by, the plan is to offer plenty of opportunities for knowledge sharing and for inspiring the next generation of bartenders.
At the cocktail pairing dinner held at Fullerton Hotel Singapore on 6 June, each mixologist showcased his strengths during a five-course meal put up by Koh Han Jie and Neo Jun Hao, Singapore’s representatives to the Young Talents Escoffier Competition.
On the back of a masterclass just prior, where he had made his bar’s signature Earl Grey Caviar Martini (below), Samuel Kwok of Quinary, Hong Kong, presented Tropic Garden, a refreshing concoction of London No. 3 Gin infused with camomile tea, Falernum syrup, lemon juice, an apple cider reduction and a chrysanthemum flower garnish. This went amazingly well with the starter course of Jardin de Rabelais tomato, shiso & apple gelee, puffed quinoa & basil oil.
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Bar Benfiddich Tokyo’s Hiroyasu Kayama, who farms his own herbs and cresses such as fennel and lemon balm, showed his predeliction for herbaceous cocktails, with Herbal Gimlet, made with London No. 3 Gin, geranium essence, honey, mint leaves and mint salt on the rim. Native Bar’s Vijay Mudaliar prepared a mild, fruity Forager’s Garden glass of London No. 3 Gin, blue pea flower, peach tea kombucha, agave and Perrier, to match the seafood course of the night.
At the masterclass attended by several F&B students at Nanyang Polytechnic the next day, Vijay also explained Native Bar’s foraging ethos, which extends to the sourcing of unusual ingredients, as well as to the bar’s mission of zero waste and environmental sustainability.
With two tea mocktails, a coconut spritzer made with Ceylon green tea, kefir whey, coconut water and syrup, as well as Birds & Bees, a drink of camomile honey & vanilla tea, wild honey and pineapple kombucha, he showed without a doubt that with the right ingredients, mocktails can be just as inspired as regular cocktails.
When the full programme for Bartender 4.0 gets underway, we can expect to see other bartenders sharing their creations and ideas as they refine their craft. Stay tuned for updates on what trendy libations they have in store.
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