Aerospace Engineering graduate turned bartender extraordinaire, Alex Ko heads up the bar at Gough’s on Gough, the first restaurant by Timothy Oulton. With an obsessive eye for detail, Alex’s methodical approach acts as a foundation for his creativity: “You don’t learn a series of recipes, you learn the rules, the principles. Like science – the laws. With that understanding you can then improvise more effectively.”

Alex was born in New York and schooled in Korea and Scotland, before heading to Boston University to begin his degree. Then…Alex’s true calling came. He’d read about a new wave on the bartending scene called the ice sphere – where bartenders hand-carve ice to fit into a whisky glass in order to control the rate of dilution. Fascinated by the mechanics of the process, he wrote a paper on it for his thermodynamics class. It was his first foray into cocktails, and it stayed with him.

Moving to Hong Kong in 2010, Alex began to hone his skills with casual work at some of the city’s top bars. After finishing his MBA in 2014, Alex made the decision to commit to bartending, and now brings his irrevocable passion to Gough’s on Gough. He loves the idea of a bar inside a restaurant, adding another layer. Alex finely crafts each libation on the British-inspired cocktail menu, balancing his creative flair with the fundamentals of flavour balance, temperature, and most importantly, quality ingredients.

Alex reveals the secret to creating the perfect cocktail lies in the subtle nuances: “The key to taking a good drink and pushing it over into the realm of amazing is by adding small details to amp up a guest’s experience.  It could be as simple as a pinch of salt to up the umami flavour of carrot juice.  It might be a splash of plum eau de vie to complement the fruit and tannin of a cognac based drink.  These little finishing touches are not there to be the star of the show, otherwise the drink becomes overwhelming and cloying, but without them, the rest of the drink may simply feel quite drab in comparison.”

2 Cocktails to Wow Your Guests This Party Season:

Victory Gin

45ml Fords Gin

20ml Fresh Lemon Juice

20ml Honey Syrup

10ml Ginger Puree

Top with champagne or any dry sparkling wine

Combine all the ingredients except the champagne with ice in a cocktail shaker, then shake.  Strain into a coupe glass, using a fine strainer to remove any small ice shards that will dilute your drink and cause champagne to foam uncontrollably.  Top with champagne and garnish with lemon peel and a piece of candied ginger.

To make the honey syrup: Take 300g of pure honey and mix well with 100g of water (to enable the honey to mix into the drink for efficiently).  Alternatively, use 15ml of pure honey.

To make the ginger puree: Place 100g of peeled and diced ginger and 100g of water into a blender, and blitz until liquefied.  Let the mixture rest for 30 minutes to extract all the juices, stirring occasionally.  Strain the mixture through a muslin cloth and discard any solids.

Sparkling Amaro Sour

45ml Amaro Averna

20ml Fresh Lemon Juice

15ml Grenadine

3 dash Angostura Bitters

15ml Egg White

Top with champagne or any dry sparkling wine

Combine all ingredients except the champagne in a shaker WITHOUT ice and shake to build up a foam.  Add ice to the shaker and then shake again.  Strain drink into a cocktail glass using a fine strainer.  Top with champagne and garnish with star anise and a few drops of angostura bitters.

For more tips on hosting a great night in, visit the speakeasy-inspired section online.