Award-Winning Bartender Gagan Gurung Shares His Top 5 Versatile Cocktail Ingredients


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Gagan Gurung, a Nepal-born bartender based in Hong Kong, has always been interested in flavours and ingredients of beverages. He gained his reputation as a bartender after working as a chef and managing the bar at the fan-favourite modern Japanese joint, Zuma. His award-winning cocktails are the result of his deep understanding of food and drinks, and as demonstrated in his many ventures, he likes to experiment with unique flavours and ingredients. Gurung has rightfully secured spots on Asia’s 50 Best Bars, Top 25 Bartenders in HK, and is the winner of the Chivas Blending Competition, and runner up for the Gin Mare Global Final and Top 4 Bacardi – the list goes on.


A busy man, he's currently running and bartending his bars Tell Camellia, BARCODE and Zzura. Here, he shares with us his top five versatile ingredients used for cocktails.


Gagan Gurung's Top 5 Versatile Cocktail Ingredients:


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1) Tea (Lapsang Souchong)


Tea is one of my favourite ingredients as it brings back my childhood memories. Although there are hundreds of teas (Camellia Sinensis), Lapsang Souchong has a very unique aroma and flavour which add a great smokiness to any spirits (gin, vodka, whiskey, rum). Infuse 5gm of it into 500ml of your liquid for one hour and enjoy the cocktails with it. For example, you can use it in a daiquiri, gin sour, whiskey sour, etc. You can also of course try our variation of it made at Tell Camellia.


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2) Beetroot


Beetroot brings out the colour and that earthy flavour to tequila. You can try our Zzura cocktails or at home, simply add 25ml of beetroot juice to your next margarita.


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3) Coffee


It's the beans that bring life to our negronis at Barcode. Simply infused 15gm of ground coffee in your vermouth for 24 hours then coffee strain and stirred with gin and Campari.


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4) Milk


A magic ingredient that clarifies your drink to a great level of texture and flavour. If you want to know how definitely visit one of our venues to ask our bartender.



5) Peanut Butter


Blend the peanut butter (preferably crunchy) then leave it overnight in the freezer and strain it over your drink with a coffee filter.


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Images provided by Gagan Gurung.


Instagram: @gagan_gurung123