Grooming Bartenders towards Bartender 4.0 with ABSS and e2i


Many years ago, Singapore had hardly any cocktail culture to speak of, except for the Singapore Sling created in 1915 by bartender Ngiam Tong Boon at Long Bar, Raffles Hotel.

Today, we have 11 of our homegrown bars in Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2019 list, including 3 of the 5 top spots!

To help our bartenders grow towards becoming Bartender 4.0 and thrive in Industry 4.0, e2i has been working with industry partners such as the Association of Bartenders and Sommeliers Singapore (ABSS) to identify the training needs and build a comprehensive roadmap for bartenders and mixologists.

What opportunities did e2i and ABSS create for Bartender 4.0?

In 2019, ABSS and e2i collaborated on a series of workshops and cocktail pairing events to give aspiring mixologists and Bartender 4.0 opportunities to learn from industry experts.

David Chan, who serves as the Honorary Secretary (General) of ABSS and was instrumental in the organization of several national and regional competitions for bartenders and sommeliers, held a Thirsty Thursday Cocktail Workshop on cocktail classifications, bar setup and techniques. He also invited a special guest mixologist from Hong Kong to teach participants how to create mocktails using Monin syrups.

Bartender 4.0 is not about simply making the standard international cocktails well, but also experimenting with different flavours and pairings with food and being able to adapt to changing consumer tastes to craft the best experience possible for the customer.

e2i and ABSS brought in three renowned bartenders from Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore to deep-skill industry professionals with mixologist and cocktail pairing skills, to address skills gaps in the bartending scene.

The workshops also gave industry practitioners a platform to connect with industry experts, facilitating knowledge exchange with Master Mixologists across the Asia region.

Trade professionals attending a Master Mixologist workshop where three bartenders from the World’s 50 Best Bars taught participants the art of making and innovating cocktails.

Each bartender taught participants in the Master Mixologist workshop several recipes different from the international cocktails, using techniques (e.g. to create foam or carbonation) and unorthodox ingredients (e.g. vinegar, locally-harvested flowers etc).

The bartenders also shared insights on how to become a Bartender 4.0, such as:

  • knowing how to make customers feel welcome and at ease
  • how to introduce the cocktails as a work of art
  • redesigning the bar to be more eco-conscious
  • incorporating local products into the cocktail and bar ambience
  • exploring and experimenting with different ingredients and techniques not commonly used in bartending
  • creating seasonal cocktail themes and menus

Who were the 3 expert bartenders invited to the Bartender 4.0 events?

Bartender Samuel Kwok (Quinary, Hong Kong) started his career when he was 18. He now helms Quinary, where he led the team consecutively over 3 years for Quinary to be voted as one of the World’s 50 Best Bars. He was voted one of the Top 25 Bartenders in Hong Kong and in 2017, was crowned the Champion of World Class of Hong Kong & Macau. He then went on to represent Hong Kong in the Global Finals in Mexico City.

Recipes by Bartender Samuel Kwok:

1) Earl grey caviar martini
45ml vodka
15ml elderflower syrup
5ml lemon juice
5ml lime juice
20ml Apple juice
Garnish: Earl grey tea caviar & foam

2) Bloody Quinary
45ml vodka
15ml spicy vinegar mix
10ml lemon juice
20ml umami Shaoxing wine
90ml tomato juice
Garnish: celery, dried scallops & shrimp

3) Oolong Tea Collins
45ml vodka
45 oolong tea cordial
Soda water
Garnish: grapefruit peel

4) Tropic Garden
30ml London No.3 gin infused Dilmah chamomile tea
10ml Falernum syrup
Lemon juice
Apple cider reduction
Top up soda water
Garnish: edible chrysanthemum flower

Known as The Bartender’s Bartender, Vijay Mudaliar, co-founder of Native Bar in Singapore was awarded the Bartender of the Year just last year. His passion in urban foraging and regionally sourced ingredients with unique concoctions also led his bar to being the Most Creative Cocktail Bar, awarded by The Bar Award.


Vijay was among the three renowned bartenders who created cocktails to pair with a 5-course dinner curated by Escoffier Chefs Koh Han Jie and Neo Jun Hao. 100 participants learnt about food pairing and menu creation, highlighting the increasing trend of food-pairing events.

Recipes by Bartender Vijay Mudaliar:

1) Perfume
30ml London No 3 Gin
60ml Dilmah Jasmine Tea
5ml Monin Pandan Syrup
Top up with Perrier

2) Spiced Godfather
30ml Famous Whisky infuse with Dilmah Ceylon Spice Chai
5ml Bols Amaretto
10ml Cranberry Juice
Dark chocolate sauce infused with Vinegar

3) Wilderness
30ml London no 3 Gin
20ml Twining Peach Tea
5ml Fabbri Agave Syrup
Top up with Perrier

Hiroyasu Kayama (Japan) is Bar BenFiddich’s owner-bartender. He won the Botanist Gin Cocktail Competition in Japan in 2015 and the Japanese Tumugi Cocktail Competition in 2018. Hiroyasu has his own farm where he grows many botanicals, especially ingredients for his passion in making Absinthe. He even has a 20-litre distillation pot which he makes his own homemade absinthe. (Photo: e2i)

Recipes by Bartender Hiroyasu Kayama:

1) Forest Season
50ml London no 3 Gin
10ml Monin Agave Syrup
10ml Fresh Lemon Juice
Fresh Sage
30ml Dilmah jasmine green tea
Top up Perrier
Garnish: Botanical of BenFiddich
Glassware: Rock glass
Method: Put herbs and ingredients in a bowl, grind, then shake it with all the wet ingredients

2) Sakura Season
40ml Brugal Extra Dry
20ml Monin Cherry Blossom
1 tsp Bols Kirsch
20ml Chickpea water
10ml Fresh Lemon Juice
20ml Cucumber Juice
Garnish: Cherry Blossom
Method: Shake
Glassware: Japanese glass

3) Herbal Gimlet
40ml London no 3 Gin
10ml Acacia Honey
10ml Fresh Lime Juice
20ml Twining Chamomile Tea
5nos Fresh Mint
Rose Geraniums Essence (spray)
Garnish: Mint leave & mint salt on the rim
Method: grind dry ingredients and add in cocktail shaken with the wet ingredient and shake.

Extending Bartender 4.0 workshops to Institutes of Higher Learning

The three bartenders were also invited to teach 60 students and trade professionals at the L’Fiesta Master Mixologist Workshops and Tea Mocktail Workshop held at Nanyang Polytechnic.

From left: Bartenders Hiroyasu Kayama (Japan), Samuel Kwok (Hong Kong) and Vijay Mudaliar (Singapore). (Photo: e2i)

Attendees could choose different workshops to attend (e.g. Master Mixologist, sake, wine, coffee and tea etc) to learn how to be a Bartender 4.0, Wine Specialist 4.0 or Barista 4.0.

Bartender Samuel Kwok (6th from right in apron) with students at his Master Mixologist workshop. (Photo: e2i)


Bartender Vijay Mudaliar sharing tips at his Master Mixologist workshop. (Photo: e2i)

Attendees could also network with both local and regional Master Mixologists to adopt best practices and deepen their skill sets.

If you are involved in the bartending industry, e2i would like to invite you to participate in the Bartender 4.0 survey, so as to tailor the best training initiatives for you and your fellow colleagues to become better bartenders and bring your vision of Bartender 4.0 in Singapore to fruition.

To stay updated for Worker 4.0 workshops and initiatives in the F&B industry, contact e2i (Employment & Employability Institute) for more details.

Special thanks to e2i for the workshop invites.

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