Bin Chen: Staff Only Club (Taipei)

Bin Chen is the Bar Manager of Staff Only Club in Taipei. He makes us two cocktails, one with Dried Puffer Fish Fin Sake and Gin and the second with Violette Liqueur and Becherovka.

Bin introduce yourself
I am Bin Chen and I was born in Tainan, in a southern part of Taiwan. I started in the industry at the age of 20 workings in a local bar in Tainan for two years before starting to work in a night club. I got bored making vodka, lime and sodas over and over again every night and decided to leave the night club. I left the industry for a year and struggled to decide if I wanted to continue my career as a bartender until I met my mentor, William Wang. His Daiquiri changed my perspective of what a cocktail is and how tasty a drink could be with such simple ingredients. After that, I joined his team and discovered what separates a great cocktail from an average one. I learnt to craft a cocktail using modern techniques and gained interest in the combination of flavours and pursuing creating cocktails that taste more natural. In 2018 my former bar manager Connor Lin invited me to join the Staff Only Club team, where I became the bar manager.

The classic you want to show us
20 ml of Gin
40 ml of Dried Puffer Fish Fin Sake
5 ml of Artischocken Elixier
3 dashes of Rhubarb Bitters

The bar you dream of
I like surprises, so the bar I dream of has an inconspicuous appearance, with a wall of graffiti hiding it, but beyond the door is a beautiful and comfortable space. I like people’s reaction to surprises, like seeing children open gifts. The bar would seat around 20-30 people and provide beverages and food combining different flavours using local ingredients.

What do you do in your time off
I like to eat small bites everywhere that combine unusual plants and spices, that inspire me. I also like to go to bars to try drinks that offer me combinations I have not tried before.

The spirit you like the most
I like bourbon, especially small batch and cask strength. I love the taste of wood, caramel, vanilla and nuts.

What makes a good cocktail
It’s a drink that after you take your first sip, you will be in a good mood and continue to drink until the glass is empty… then it’s a good cocktail. There are also details that should never be missed in making a good cocktail. Firstly, you have to learn to listen to what the guest needs and wants. Second, balancing the flavours, and choosing a suitable base of spirit in the cocktail. And finally, service and experience are also key elements to a good drink, everything has to be done properly to achieve a good cocktail.

What ingredient do you enjoy using in cocktails
I love tea as it has many different aromas and flavours. For me, it’s like perfume. It can be refreshing and light, or strong and deep, which allows you to create many different types of cocktails.

The signature cocktail you want to show us
30ml of Gin
15ml of Creme de Mure
10ml of Becherovka
5ml of Violette Liqueur
10ml of Lime Juice

Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender
You should visit Luke Whearty at Byrdi in Melbourne.

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