We speak gin with one of Hong Kong’s best bartenders

In Singapore, they take gin seriously. So when promising young mixologist Imelda Ng (bartender at Hong Kong’s inimitable Four Seasons hotel) won the East Imperial Gin Jubilee Singapore — a competition between over 200 contenders — and decided to come to Auckland’s iteration as part of her prize, our attention was turned to the local event. Having won the grand prix by virtue of her exceptional Monkey 47 G&T, we asked Ng about her gin tendencies.

Why is gin trending so much right now? Gin is a very versatile spirit and relatively simple in production making it a popular for those looking to create their own brand. Craft gin distilleries are popping up all across the Hong Kong as well as globally. This gives consumers opportunities to explore new brands and ways of enjoying the spirit, with garnishes, tonics or in cocktails.

Why do you prefer using Monkey 47 Dry Gin? There are hundreds of botanicals used to make gin, and every gin has its own specific recipe. Monkey 47 Dry Gin is created in Black Forest, Germany, incorporating 47 different plants and aromatics, and was developed by Alexander Stein inspired from an old recipe in 1960s. It’s hugely versatile and works just as well in a martini as it does a gin and tonic.

What was the inspiration behind your G&T and why do you think it stood out from the crowd? I live in Hong Kong, and as everyone knows, the city is a multinational hub that never sleeps. But at Four Seasons we want to give people a sense that they can relax any day of the week. The inspiration behind my recipe was to use ingredients such as caramel and fresh lime to create a laid-back mood so guests can relax any day of the week. There is no need to wait until the weekend to unwind; it can be your holiday every day.

What bars are you looking forward to visiting at the Auckland Gin Jubilee? I’m most looking forward to trying the gin and tonics that use Monkey 47, which will be available at Giraffe, Lilius and Mea Culpa. It’s always interesting what different bartenders create with the same gin.

What is your favourite gin recipe? A martini. I use 60ml of Monkey 47 Dry Gin and 10ml of Mancino Secco & 10ml Mancino Bianco stir it in a chilled mixing glass with any citrus peels.

Auckland’s second ever East Imperial Gin Jubilee will be returning by way of a 10-day festival from 4th-14th April. Taking place at 30 bars across the city, with Bartenders being paired with one of 12 gins (including Monkey 47 and Beefeater 24 among others), the extravaganza will celebrate the spirit by seeing it mixed into unique G&Ts by some of Auckland’s best bartenders. For more information about the East Imperial Gin Jubilee festival click here.

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