Bannie Kang, the co-founder of Mu in Taipei, has been named the winner of the Mancino Bartenders’ Bartender Award 2021. The award recognises a personality who has made a significant impact in the bar sector in Asia before and during the pandemic. It is the only peer-judged award in the Asia’s 50 Best Bars programme, voted for by the head bartenders of those establishments on the 2021 list.
The award is the second of a series of special awards to be announced ahead of Asia’s 50 Best Bars’ digital ceremony on 6th May 2021, which will be streamed on Facebook and YouTube. As countries begin to open up following a year of extraordinary challenges, 50 Best’s role in championing great bars and bringing the community closer together is more important than ever.
Mark Sansom, Content Editor for Asia’s 50 Best Bars, says: “Bannie is, without doubt, one of the most respected bartenders in Asia. Her impeccable technique, work throughout the pandemic and desire to make a positive impact on the bar community mark her as a preeminent bartender in the Asian continent.
Her passion for sharing knowledge and educating budding bartenders is admirable and makes her a worthy recipient of this year’s Mancino Bartenders’ Bartender Award, the only peer-voted award in the Asia’s 50 Best Bars programme. We look forward to seeing what she will achieve with Mu in Taipei, as she continues to push boundaries and inspire her fellow professionals.”
Originally from Jinju, South Korea, Kang moved to Singapore in 2010 to work as a waitress at Swissôtel The Stamford. There, she discovered her love for bartending and decided to study the craft. Within a year of becoming a bartender at City Space, she was recognised for her talent and skill, clinching the first runner-up prize at the National Cocktail Competition, organised by the Association of Bartenders and Sommeliers Singapore in 2012.
…trying is only the start of one’s success, as you will only gain what you put in.
After joining Anti:dote in 2013, where she trained under Tom Hogan, Kang went on to make waves in the international bar scene with innovative cocktails incorporating market-fresh produce as well as ingredients found in traditional Korean dishes such as white kimchi, ginseng and Korean plum liqueur.
In 2019, Kang won the World Class Bartender of the Year competition held in Glasgow, Scotland. Shortly after, she relocated to Taipei, Taiwan, to open Mu in 2020 with her chef husband, Tryson Quek. A keen student of mixology, Kang persistently seeks out fresh information, ingredients and styles, which influence her Western and Southeast Asian cocktails at Mu.
On winning the award, Kang says: “I am very proud and honoured to be part of this industry; it is a great platform to build valuable friendships with people who share the same passion from all around the world as we motivate and inspire one another. Winning the Mancino Bartenders’ Bartender Award is like a dream – a dream so big that I never thought it would be possible. ‘No pain, no gain’ is a message I would like to share with the world – trying is only the start of one’s success, as you will only gain what you put in.”
Giancarlo Mancino, founder of Mancino Vermouth, says: “This award means a lot to me. One of the biggest motivations of Mancino Vermouth is, and has always been, the strong relations between all the amazing bartenders around the world. I still refer to myself as a bartender now, because this is not just a simple job, but a way of life. Bartenders are the heart of the industry and Mancino Vermouth will always support them in the best ways possible. Their creativity, hospitality, hard work and tenacity has always shone, even through the most difficult times. This award is a testimony to that.”
The sixth edition of Asia’s 50 Best Bars, sponsored by Perrier, will be announced in a virtual ceremony on 6th May, beginning at 6pm HK/Singapore time (3.30pm India; 5pm Thailand; 7pm Japan). Bars and cocktail lovers are invited to join the digital countdown of the list of Asia’s 50 Best Bars 2021, through The World’s 50 Best Bars Facebook and 50 Best Bars TV YouTube channel.