Jade Lau

Brand Ambassador & Bartender

How did you discover your passion for mixology and become a professional mixologist?

I used to go out for drinks with friends a lot, and gradually I discovered that the world of cocktails is immensely fascinating, with its variations and diversity, which sparked my interest in mixology. Coincidentally, a friend asked if I was interested in working at a bar to make cocktails. At that time, I hesitated because I have been working full-time in the fashion retail industry for the past ten years. The salary and job prospects were quite different, and transitioning to something new required courage. With some savings in hand, I decided to give it a try, that’s how my professional journey began as I pursued my dream and set out to acquire a new skill. Looking back, I am grateful to my past self for making this decision, so that I can work in an industry I love.

What do you think sets you apart from such a male-dominated industry?

I have never thought about this because I think the bar industry in Hong Kong is relatively equal. Everyone has the same opportunity to develop and succeed. This fair environment allows me to showcase my skills and talent on a level playing field and work alongside my male counterparts.

What challenges have you faced in your career, and how did you overcome them?

I consider myself very lucky to have a group of good friends and mentors that have helped me a lot. In my third year working as a mixologist, I felt stuck and couldn’t breakthrough to another level to bring new and innovative cocktails to customers. At that time, my mentor Chanel Adams, who is also a female bartender, invited me to work with her at Doubleshot, a coffee shop and cocktail bar in Central. During that time Chanel taught me a lot in terms of knowledge and skills about mixology, and also gave me opportunities to try new things. The experience helped me get through my career bottleneck. 

Can you share a specific moment in your career that empowered you to keep doing what you like?

When customers tell me they love my cocktail, it gives me the recognition and appreciation to continue with the work I love. The most memorable time was when a customer came back to the bar I was working at, and specifically asked me to make him a martini. I was surprised but also proud that someone recognised my creation, and the encounter motivated me to continue creating quality cocktails. It is a special moment, a milestone in my career that inspired me to keep pushing myself.

How does being a woman influence your work?

I don’t think gender confers any advantage or disadvantage as a bartender. Instead, I think personality traits are more important. As a bartender, it’s essential to be outgoing. Customers will come back to you sometimes not only for the delicious cocktail but the way you treat them. Interacting with customers and providing the best service to them is important, and having an outgoing personality helps. Whether it's answering their questions, recommending a cocktail or creating a pleasant and relaxed environment, an outgoing bartender plays a key role in customers’ satisfaction and the overall bar experience.

Chanel Adams is the person who influenced me the most. Other than teaching me about bartending, she also gave me good advice in managing people. She taught me that in situations when I have to express a strong feeling or discuss something important, it is always better to call than text or leave a message. By talking to someone directly, I can convey my message more clearly and better understand the other person's reactions and opinion. This has helped me build stronger relationships and benefitted my career development.

What advice would you give to aspiring female mixologists who are looking to make their mark in the industry?

First of all, you have to believe in yourself. As bartenders, we spend most of the time standing behind the bar, in close proximity to our customers. It’s like a performance, we need to project confidence and charisma, engage our audience and create a memorable experience for them. The second is to stay humble and never stop learning. In the industry, we have to stay competitive by pursuing new knowledge and skills, and be willing to learn from other people’s experiences.

How do you keep motivating yourself to keep innovating in this fast-changing industry?

I motivate myself by non-stop learning and meeting different people. Getting to know and interact with other bartenders can provide us with valuable learning opportunities that help our professional development. Every bartender brings unique skills, experiences, stories and perspectives that inspire and stimulate me. The most important thing is to believe in yourself and believe that you can do it. A bartender needs to be confident, to demonstrate expertise and skills on the job. This confidence captures our customers’ attention and lets them enjoy our art of mixology.



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