Q&A with Wallace Lau26th May, 2014 by Rupert Millar
Wallace Lau is a bartender at Wyndham the 4th in Central. He began his career in the drinks industry in 2010 at Angels Share before joining the team at Wyndham the 4th in 2013 and training under two of Hong Kong’s leading cocktail makers John Ng and Ricky Liau.
In 2013 he came third at the national final of the Diageo Reserve World Class Competition. Earlier this month he won the Diageo Reserve Hong Kong 2014 Bartender of the Year and will be coming to compete in the global finals that are being held in the UK this summer.
1. What got you into bartending, where did you start off?
Even as a child, I have always enjoyed experimenting with different juices, sauces and spices. This sprouted into a passion for bartending, where I am now constantly mixing different types of spirits, spices and bitters together! I made my first move into the bartending industry working at “Blue Lemon” in Tin Hau, Hong Kong.
2. How does it feel to have won the HK round of the Diageo World Bartender Championships and are you excited about going to the UK later this year?
I am proud and happy to have won the Hong Kong round of Diageo Reserve World Class Completion. I am excited about UK and think it will be a great experience for me this summer.
3. What are the current trends in the Hong Kong cocktail/bar world?
People, both in and out of the industry are constantly trying to find the next big thing in the Hong Kong bar scene. As a bartender, we are always learning new techniques and experimenting with a variety of ingredients, both new and old. Moving away from the classic vodka, lime and soda, people have really opened up and are willing to try new drinks.
4. Are Hongkongers adventurous drinkers? Do they like to learn and try new things?
Yes! People in Hong Kong are always willing to try new things and taste unique flavours and mixtures – They are always a good crowd!
5. Do you think Hong Kong is still slightly behind bar scenes like London and New York or is it catching up fast?
The bar scene in Hong Kong is growing, but still relatively young. We still have lots to learn from our forefathers in New York and London.
6. Are there some ingredients, certain spirits that aren’t popular yet but become more so in the future?
Incorporating uncommon ingredients such as, wine, fortified wine, Asian spices and liqueurs will be a new but exciting challenge for bartenders.
7. What cocktail(s) do you enjoy making…?
I love to make cocktails that I enjoy drinking. Simple classics with fresh ingredients and premium spirits are a great example of less being more. This summer my drink of choice will be a fresh lime Margarita made with Don Julio Blanco.
8. And more importantly are there any you don’t like making?
No, definitely not! Experimenting with different drinks is all part of the fun. As long as it tastes good, I am happy to make it!