Mixologists Angel Ng and Andrew Tan set to stir up a storm at H-Artistry
H-Artistry is back. For the first time, the high energy music event will be going digital with a live stream from the party on the website. And if you haven't heard, an international line-up of performers, including Tinashe, HyunA, DJ Crizzly and local rock band Mad August, will take the stage at the Malaysia International Exhibition & Convention Centre (MIECC) @ Mines Resort City on 8 October 2016.
Besides the music, H-Artistry gathered four local tastemakers—PS150's co-founder and bartender Angel Ng, owner and bar director of Hyde at 53M Andrew Tan, light artist and architect Jun Ong, as well as Hugh Koh, head of design at Pestle & Mortar—to curate two unique experiences for party-goers at the event.
We last touched base with Angel before National Day this year, when she gave us PS150's Lychee No. 3 recipe for readers to create at home. For H-Artistry, she'll be working with Hugh Koh on a collaborative bar to heighten the party-goers experience at the event. Find out a little more about what to expect on the night as we catch up with the head bartender of one of the hottest cocktail bars in town here:
How did your involvement in this H-Artistry project come about?
"By fluke, hard work and tons of passion. Aren't these the keys to make dreams a reality?"
Well said. Tell us about your collaboration with Hugh Koh. What can we expect on the night itself?
"You can definitely expect a high energy night however it's the experience while walking into our collaborative bar that really enhances the tipple. I can't tell you anymore as words won't describe what we have in store for you!"
What was it like working with Hugh Koh?
"Working with Hugh was easy; we have a lot of things in common when it comes to the pride of a Southeast Asian even though both of us were educated in a western society. We understood what is needed to be done to improve the society we live in by creating colours in our own industry."
Which element or step to you is the most important when it comes to making a cocktail?
"Rule 1: Know your basics, learn the classics. The formula is a very good guideline of a balanced beverage.
Rule 2: Use what you have on hand. Vanilla pods are great and elderflower is a life saver but they are expensive. In Southeast Asia, we have an abundance of ingredients that many countries will envy over it. We should embrace this land that has provided for us and make full use of it.
Rule 3: The story. Who made it? What are the influences? Why did you use this ingredient and not that? Almost everyone I met love a story attached to a cocktail. It brings them closer to the industry and the people who created it and hoping it will transport them back to the particular era."
What is your all-time favourite cocktail? And what food or bites will you pair it with?
"This is like asking a foodie what is his or her all-time favourite food. I can't say I have a faourite cocktail, but I do love my Red Snappers in the morning, Shandy during lunch, refreshing Rickey when sun down, Dirty Martini as the diamonds splash through the black sky and lastly some H20 to end the night. However, when I am overwhelmed by the menu, a Campari Orange with Club Soda will do just fine. Shandy and Rickey are great with deep fried local snacks or double half pounder with all the trimmings. The rest I would rather drink on its own."
Do you have a signature drink at PS150?
"We have a few but two of my favourites are Salty Chinaman and Lychee No. 3. I enjoy tall drinks and find it disappointing that the culture's concept of going out at night is "drink to get drunk". This cheeky Salty beverage is slightly sweet, slightly bitter, slightly sour and slightly savoury. Lychee No. 3 is a twist of the delicious yet diabetic-prone Lychee Martini. For the Asian twist, we have switched the vodka to gin to give a deeper dimension, add lime to balance and ginger flower for the exotic floral flavour that we love in our Asam Laksa!"
PS150 has only been opened for less than a year, yet it has already been making waves in the local cocktail bar scene. Has everything gone the way you wished it would?
"Not everything for sure as you always notice things around that can be improved. I guess this is something my Dragon Lady mother instilled in me. However, one thing we have been working om is for the public to understand what's the difference between a speakeasy and a cocktail bar. PS150 is not a speakeasy as we have broken all the rules with the signboard at the front, the full address on all publications and many others."
Where do you see yourself in five years?
"Being the UN Ambassador for Green Politics. That is what I would like to see myself doing in five years, but a lot of things can happen in five years. I would think it is not practical to plan that long especially when you are chasing a dream. Usually I give myself around a year and a half to complete a mission and once done, start another one that it's in your bucket list. This is a method which I started few years back, and it has worked amazing for me—not only have I completed things I never thought I would, it has also taught me what is priority in life."
We also spoke to Andrew Tan, who co-owns and heads the bar at Hyde—a speakeasy-style bar that is hidden above The Good Batch café (which he also co-owns). Andrew is collaborating with Jun Ong on an exciting space at H-Artistry, where we can expect a captivating light installation and exclusive artisanal cocktails.
How did your involvement in this H-Artistry project come about?
"It was a continuation of a long-standing business relationship and I'm really excited to be a part of the project."
Tell us about your collaboration with Jun Ong. What makes it unique?
"Think trippy lights and a superb selection of artisanal cocktails. Jun's light installation will set the perfect mood for cocktail creations made for the event, bringing a different kind of aesthetic experience to the cocktails and the event itself."
What was it like working with Jun?
"I have been an avid follower of his light installation projects around the world, and it's been truly a pleasure having worked alongside someone as talented as Jun."
When did you first start bartending?
"I started bartending in my early years and when I realized how much I love it, I wanted to build my career from it."
What is your favourite cocktail and why?
"My go to drink is the Old Fashioned because I'm a classic guy who likes his drinks strong, mighty fine and straight to the point."
What is your personal philosophy when it comes to creating your own cocktails?
"Don't complicate the cocktail, but don't give up on it. Think about the sensory experience, be persistent and be patient with it. There are no short cuts with making the right drink."
What is your signature drink at Hyde at 53M?
"It has to be Japonism, made with Hennessy VSOP and sake, presented on a Japanese paper fan. It is a fun combo of French and Japanese tastes, and of the sensory and aesthetic experience."
You currently co-own a café and a bar. What is next for you?
"We've got exciting plans in the pipeline—we want to further grow our F&B family and perhaps venture into retail and distribution in the near future."