ASK ME ANYTHING: JUN
Jun started in the creative industry with graphic design and now channels her creative juices into concocting novel cocktails at 1880. She tells us how bartending gives her front row seats to some of the best reactions from her guests, and shares who she would most like to make a drink for.
1. Favourite bars in the world, and why?
Heartbreaker (Melbourne) – Skull taps with craft beers, neon lights, vintage video games, and a jukebox. You’re walking into 80s rock heaven and the bartender pours a beautiful pre-made cocktail from a bottle into your glass over a large crystal clear ice. Bottled cocktails are from their sister bar The Everleigh, it is a beautiful thing not having to worry about waiting for your cocktail or if it’s going to be awful. Level up with their house pizza and you’re guaranteed a party.
Scout (London) – Sustainable and local without being serious about it. Matt Whiley’s foraging is more like a discovery of what he can use around him, a huge painting in his basement lab has, in careless handwritten scribbles, notes where and when to get the produce he needs or uses. On top of the many fermentation experiments they do, Scout also has an impressive range of modern equipment and techniques but does not throw any of that in the consumer’s face. The drink you’ll receive is simply garnished, minimal in aesthetic but powerpacked in flavour two schmucks barcelona. I was just here a week ago and had the.best.time. In their extreme limitations of trying to build their own bar, evoked an explosion of creativity in their design, stations, and every other detail. It is almost a cafe-like space, cooking pans doubling as lampshades, house-made furniture and graffiti-lined fridges. The drinks are intelligent and delicious which is more than most best bars can boast of. It also has the best bar food you’re going to put in your mouth.
Operation Dagger (Singapore) – This one’s dear to me as I was lucky to be a part of it from the beginning. Dagger has a back bar with no brands, and instead filled with house-made labels containing redistilled or infused spirits. This makes you focus more on flavours of what you are going to drink, instead of preconceived notions of brands, or a bad experience with a particular spirit. By looking at flavours or a particular ingredient or process, it shifts your perception of what a cocktail should be, and in turn would also push the boundaries of how they should be made.
2. Who or what would you most like to see at 1880?
I started in the creative industry with graphic design and it teaches you to use what you have around you and to pick the brains of those better than you are. Our 1880 team already has a great core of individual talents and it would be great to also have the best minds of different creative industries, writers, artists, potters, chefs, musicians coming together to create something bigger than ourselves.
3. What inspires you when concocting a drink?
It can come from anywhere, from a dish I ate or an interesting conversation. Most of the time it is from flavour or ingredient combinations that sound good in a dish and i try and translate that into a drink. I have the most fun during pairings and when there is food to work with.
4. Is there a spirit that doesn’t have enough fans but really should?
Tequila. So many people tell you specifically that they don’t want tequila in their drink before they even decide on a cocktail. It is actually a versatile ingredient and easy to use, and also a good tequila or mescal makes a great sipping drink on ice or by itself. Emphasis on the sipping and not shooting it with salt and lemon.
5. What is the best compliment you’ve received?
When someone who doesn’t drink cocktails finishes mine.
6. Who would you like to make a drink for, and why?
Tough one. Ernest Hemingway was a huge drinker and was also a muse for a large number of neo-classic cocktails. Writers are intense, honest, and expressive in their reaction and I’d love to see how Gabriel García Márquez would describe a drink.
7. What’s the best part about being a bartender?
The connection with the guest. Most creatives/chefs dont get to see the reaction to their work but bartenders get front row seats.
8. What are you most grateful for in life?
Having an open enough mind to know that there isn’t just one way to do something, and the desire to look for them.