Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Alsace (in Colmar) near Germany, a small, nice town famous for its Alsatian cuisine.
What did you aspire to be when you grew up?
I had many dreams as a child! I mainly wanted to be a chef like my father – I’ve always been creative and obsessed with flavours.
How did you find your way into wine and spirits?
I have primarily been in the hospitality industry since I started working, however, I did study theatre and drama. Ultimately the stage wasn’t for me, it didn’t complete me. One day my friend gave me a gift card that was for a mixology course, as soon as I tried it I fell in love and decided to focus my career on mixology. It’s been the best decision and learning experience of my life and having a theatrical background definitely comes into play when I’m behind the bar!
Where do you find inspiration for your drink recipes?
Everywhere! I love trying new foods (especially new fruits) and always like to keep on top of new beverage trends. Even when I smell a new perfume, see a new dress or meet a new person I find inspiration. My recipes come from my everyday life, from the stories I hear to the various people that I meet.
What are your FOUR favourite cocktails from the NEO menu?
From NEO’s menu I really like Rumbut and Cardamom Mule for its kick. It’s a cheeky blend of vodka, spiced apple honey syrup, green and black cardamoms, citrus and ginger beer. We use our house vodka Ayslebury Duck Vodka which has a spicy, grainy edge to it so it’s the perfect base for the Rumbut and Cardamom Mule. I’m also a big fan of the Cornac Retrold with its 72 hour dry corn infused cognac, it’s totally out of the box and is a liquor you just won’t find anywhere else in Hong Kong. I also can’t resist NEO’s Mezcal’s Crack – a refreshing mix-up of blanco tequila, citrus ginger honey water mescal and house-made caramel cracklings. Perfection. I do also love a good Old Fashioned in general. When it’s done well, you can’t beat it.
What interesting trends/themes are going on in the spirits world? What’s on your radar at the moment?
It’s a difficult question because every country has its own trends. I think consumers worldwide are becoming way more interested in bartending techniques and the work that goes into a great cocktail, Hong Kong is really leading the way on that. People are looking for character with their cocktails nowadays, they want more of a story. Which is why there’s also a big focus on great homemade syrups, spirits and craft beers which are just awesome to create with – it means I can really come up with cocktails totally unique to NEO.
What is your most indispensable cocktail ingredient?
Aside from a little bit of fun!? Every ingredient is indispensable and like everything it’s about balance. If I had to choose just one I would have to be the humble syrup because it is easy to use and is very versatile.
What is another of your favourite tipples?
I love whisky and bourbon on the rocks and I’m partial to a good glass of red wine. I also always love being whipped up a surprise cocktail by the bartenders I meet, its shared learning amongst peers and it keeps me inspired, fresh and on point.
10 Shin Hing Street
(852) 2812 2280