Bannie Kang is the co-owner of Bar Mu in Taipei. She makes us two cocktails, one with Banana Enzyme and Palo Cortado Sherry and the second with Carrot Juice and White Vermouth.
Bannie introduce yourself
My name is Bannie Kang and I am South Korean. I moved to Singapore in 2010 to practice my English and I didn’t know anything about bars or cocktails. The beverage manager of the place I was working at had previously won World Class Singapore and I could see that was what I wanted to do. So, I went back to South Korea for 6 months to learn about cocktails at the Diageo Academy. In 2013 I participated in World Class and finished 4th in Singapore, but won the Johnnie Walker Challenge the same year. I moved to Anti:dote where I met my first mentor Tom Hogan, who pushed me to create cocktails and speak more to customers as I was not comfortable with my English. I participated in World Class for the second time in 2014 and again finished 4th. I decided to enter Bacardi Legacy and won for Singapore, which gave me more confidence, so I continued to enter competitions and had one last chance for World Class 2019… and I won it. It was the most important competition for me, as I wanted to become a bartender because of this competition, so I was very nervous. In fact, I was more nervous during the Singapore competition than the global final. But I loved every moment and I met so many amazing people, it was great.
The classic you want to show us
50ml of Black Cow Vodka
30ml of Banana Enzyme
10ml of Fresh Lemon Juice
10ml of Palo Cortado Sherry
2 dashes of Banana Bitters
3 dashes of Foamee
The bar you dream of
My dream bar is the one I am opening now in Taipei, but my ultimate dream would be to open the bar in Korea and Singapore, simultaneously. I am moving to Taiwan to open Bar Mu with my husband Tryson, who is a great chef. We plan to serve modern classic cocktails based on Asian flavours with fine tapas in a small cosy bar. Our third partner is Nick Wu from Bar Mood, who is a great bartender and won World Class, Taiwan and finished third in the global final in 2016. You’ll access our venue through a corridor, where the walls are covered in plants. The space is divided in two parts, a dining room and the bar with eight seats in front of it. We are so excited to open our dream.
What do you do in your time off
I like to spend time with my dog, Kola. I call my days off, Kola Day. Otherwise, I discuss with Tryson, my husband about ideas for food, drinks and our new venue.
The spirit you like the most
Tequila for me is a challenge because a lot of people in Singapore don’t like it. I really love Milagro tequila, even if some people say it’s not the best one, for me personally it’s easy to play with it in cocktails. Casamigos is a little bit sweeter but I like the taste. I like to surprise people by putting tequila in my cocktails.
What makes a good cocktail
I think skills are important, but the attitude of the bartender is the most important. If the bartender is not happy they can’t make good cocktails. After that, it’s the personality of the bartender.
What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
I love to use salt and particularly, sea salt. I put it in three of my cocktails during World Class. It can really change the flavour of a drink.
The signature cocktail you want to show us
45ml of Hendricks Gin
15ml of Fresh Pineapple Juice
15ml of Fresh Carrot Juice
15ml of Fresh Lemon Juice
15ml of Mancino Bianco Vermouth
15ml of St-Germain Liqueur
Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
Interview Remy Savage. I really wanted to meet him last time I went to Little Red Door, but he wasn’t there. You must also visit Erik from Kwant in London and Kaitlyn Stewart who works at Royal Dinette in Vancouver. She won World Class in 2017 and was one of my judges for World Class. In Japan, you need to visit Michito San at Lamp Bar, in Nara. In South Korea, you need to talk to Kim at Mixology in the Gangnam area of Seoul. He is a legendary bartender in South Korea who is my idol, so I visit him once a year. And of course, Nick Wu our partner from Bar Mood.
Thank you to Nutmeg & Clove to letting us film the videos and interview Bannie in your venue