Irene Liang

GUANGZHOU CHINA 

“Cocktail serves as a media for me to express my feeling at the moment and deliver my understanding of customers’ need.”


– Irene Liang

Where are you working? What’s your bar like?
I am currently working at the Hope & Sesame, a speak-easy bar that is disguised by a store selling soda and beers. Also, a jazz room is hidden behind a wooden door, and there is jazz performances every night.

Tell me about your experience:
I have been running self-media on WeChat for 5 years. The account mainly focuses on introducing various cuisine that I have tried during my guest-shift and sharing trivialities of my daily life. Professionally, I worked for Cityson, a Chinese Bai Jiu, as a brand ambassador since 2017. Meanwhile, I also became an appointed guest bartender for the event held by William Grant & Sons, China since 2018. With a strong desire to change my lifestyle, I decided to work at Hope & Sesame this year in March.

Hope & Sesame, speak-easy bar in Guangzhou

Hope & Sesame, speak-easy bar in Guangzhou

Why did you decide to become a bartender?
Studying Hotel management at college, I took an elective class about food and beverage, including cocktails. My enthusiasm of being a bartender was generated since then. Next, I took a part-time job at a bar and realized that cocktail is more than a commodity. Cocktail serves as a media for me to express my feeling at the moment and deliver my understanding of customers’ need. This job requires innovative skills, and every cocktail is a unique artwork created by different bartenders. Therefore, I aspire to be one of the creators.

Do you have a mentor in the Industry, an inspiration, someone you would like to thank?
I am grateful to be inspired by Bastien, my boss at H&S, who taught me lessons of spices. What’s more, he built a garden providing me the opportunity to plant the spices I wanted to try. I would not constantly generate new ideas of cocktail without his guidance.

Tell me about the inspiration behind the cocktail you created for Jameson Barrelmen’s Homecoming?When I was little, my mother always steamed a糯米鸡(CantoneseDIMSUM) for my breakfast. She told me stories about harvesting glutinous rice with my grandma in the rice paddy... My family brings the ingredients of the fields to the table, now I put the ingredients to glass.

Where did you find the ingredients?
About ingredients, I thought of using glutinous rice because not only it was the soul of this cocktail, but also it was easily accessible being a part of our daily diet. Then, I got the lotus leaves from our garden pond and made rice syrup out of these two ingredients. Adding Jameson Oak Wood Bitters, the oaky flavor got intensified, and a sense of dim sum bamboo basket was generated. To garnish, I fried the glutinous rice to make a slice of crispy rice and dipped it into the egg yolk sauce. At the end, I put a piece of nasturtium leaf on the top to resemble the lotus leaf delivering a complete concept of my story. More importantly, it brought the fresh and bitter odour to the cocktail.

If I visit your city, what should I see/eat/drink?
First of all, you have to come visit my garden.(I know right 😉 ) Cantonese dim-sum for breakfast is definitely what you want to try as you come to Guangzhou. If you have more time to spare, you can try the herbal tea and take a walk around Dongshan, an area of historical mansions for governors back then.

What is your best JBH 2019 memory?
The process of coming up with a recipe for our team is most memorable. I did not realize how much I liked about stepping into the farm and choosing our ingredients, until everything was over.

What is the next city you would like to visit?
I have been dreaming to go to the United States, especially New York City. In addition, my boyfriend lives next to Boston, and it would be incredible if I could pay him a visit there.

The Recipe

Canton Chicken & Rice

  • 50ml Jameson
  • 2 dashes Homemade Jameson Oak Wood Bitter
  • 60ml Homemade Lotus Leaf & Rice Soup
  • 5ml Lemon juice
  • Rice cake and some nasturtium leaf for garnish
  • Put all ingredients into a cocktial shaker
  • Stir and add ice
  • Roll until fully chilled
  • Pour into glass ware
  • Add Rice Cake and Nasturtium Leaf to garnish.

Ingredients

  • 50ml Jameson
  • 2 dashes Homemade Jameson Oak Wood Bitter
  • 60ml Homemade Lotus Leaf & Rice Soup
  • 5ml Lemon juice
  • Rice cake and some nasturtium leaf for garnish

How To Make

  • Put all ingredients into a cocktial shaker
  • Stir and add ice
  • Roll until fully chilled
  • Pour into glass ware
  • Add Rice Cake and Nasturtium Leaf to garnish.

Homemade Jameson Oak Wood Bitter: Put 20g Gentian, 15g oakwood, and 150ml of 96 ABV vodka into a container and infuse for 20 days, then add150ml Jameson.

Homemade Lotus Leaf & Rice Soup: Mix 100g dry lotus leaf, 200g sticky rice, and 2000ml water. Cook into a porridge. Add 100g sugar. Use blender to make a final milky form.

“Canton Chicken & Rice is a local dish in my area, and Mom made this dish "from farm to table", I make this drink "from memory to glass.”


– Irene Liang

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